University Social Engineering:
+2 Research
-2 Probe
One extra drone for every four citizens
Free Network Node in every base
Agression: Erratic
Agenda: Knowledge
Aversion: Fundamentalism
Leader: Provost Zhakarov

The University is probably the second most powerful of the original seven SMAC factions, after the Peacekeepers. The research is a big bonus, and combined with the network nodes, gives you a starting research value a whopping 70% higher than normal. The two big disadvantages can both be worked around using Secret Projects: The Virtual World to reduce drones by causing your free network nodes to also function as free hologram theatres, and the Hunter Seeker Algorithm to make your society immune to enemy probe team actions. Once your problems are sorted out, the big boost to research allows you have have much better technology than most other civs, which you can use either to conquer or to build, depending on your preference of playing style.