Assigning Research Lab Space

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Policy No.: 6071
Effective Date: 01/06/06
Revised Date: DRAFT
Reviewed Date: '

Assignment of Research Laboratory Space Policy

Basis for Policy

Rapid expansion of the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) research enterprise has led directly to the development of a merit-based system for assignment of research space. This policy exists to ensure that the procedure for assignment of research space is transparent and that all research space assignments are subject to the same evaluation criteria and standards. This policy applies to all research laboratory space on the UNMC campus and is based upon research expenditures. Research expenditures are more stable than grant/contract award data and are in alignment with the methodology utilized by the NU system. Decisions regarding assignment of laboratory space will be made by the UNMC Research Space Committee in conjunction with the appropriate college dean or institute director.


Research expenditures per square foot of assigned space is the metric used to evaluate research space assignments. Expenditure data, coded PCS2 signifying research, are provided annually by Sponsored Programs Accounting. Expenditure data includes both direct and indirect expenditures from the research accounts associated with individual investigators.

  • For program project grants and other large grants where individual projects and project budgets can be identified and assigned, project leaders will be credited with their project expenditures, not the principal investigator
  • For Multi-Principal Investigator grants, expenditures will be assigned to each investigator
  • For Center grants, particularly COBRE grants, all the grant expenditures will be credited to the principal investigator unless it can be clearly divided. The mentored faculty offices and labs in the Center would also be considered under the “umbrella” of the Center director
  • Training grant expenditures are not counted towards research space but may warrant assignment of administrative space specific to the needs defined by the grant

Unfunded new faculty can be assigned research space based on research expenditures from their start-up package or considered under the umbrella of the Department chair’s expenditures

  • Senior faculty without research expenditures for more than three (3) years cannot have individually-assigned space in Type A space. They may be assigned defined space in other areas, if justified as having an important collaborative research function, such as a core lab, active mentorship of a graduate student as confirmed in writing by the department chair or co-I with FTE on a grant
  • All office and lab spaces in all buildings assigned exclusively to investigators by name, including common equipment, tissue culture and animal facility procedure rooms (not daily animal housing rooms) whether for mentored faculty, graduate students, or administrative personnel will be included
  • Departmental administrative space will not be counted in the evaluation of research space.

The metric is applied as follows: Since research expenditures per square foot will vary, those with the lowest values will be candidates for resizing to make room for new recruits or researchers displaced by building construction.

Research space assignments will be reviewed annually by the Office of Research Resources with status reports being issued to College Deans, Institute Directors and Department Chairs. Upon a lapse in research expenditures, investigators will have an appropriate grace period to re-establish funding. The exact duration of the grace period will be determined by the overall needs of the UNMC research community, but will not exceed three (3) years.

Research space vacated when a researcher leaves UNMC reverts to unassigned status under the control of the appropriate UNMC Research Space Committee. Investigators who have been most successful in attracting extramural federal funding will be given the highest priority for the UNMC Type A laboratories.

Faculty Recruitment

A space plan for location and amount of space should be discussed and agreed upon with the Vice Chancellor for Research (VCR) Office prior to the faculty signing their employment contract. However, the final location of the space and evacuation of that space will not be initiated until the faculty recruit has signed and returned the proposed contract.

A two (2) month minimum will be required from the time the VCR Office has been provided documentation that a newly recruited faculty has signed their contract to finalize and open a space for that new faculty.


Research Laboratory Space - defined as wet lab bench space. Investigators awarded grants for research that does not require wet lab bench space should not expect to be assigned this type of space.

Each UNMC research laboratory is given a hierarchical designation based upon its quality:

  • Type A, state of the art laboratories (e.g., those in the Durham Research Centers and in the Lied Transplant Center);
  • Type B, older laboratories that are useable (e.g. Wittson Hall, College of Pharmacy, College of Dentistry);
  • Type C, older laboratories that require renovation to be useable.

Procedure To Request Research Space

Research space may be requested by using the appropriate college or institute Space Request Procedure (links can be found at the bottom of this page or are under construction). Research space requests will be considered by the appropriate UNMC Research Space Committee.

Additional Information

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