Assigning Research Lab Space

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Policy No.: 6071
Effective Date: 01/06/06
Revised Date: 03/15/16
Reviewed Date: 03/15/16

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. It is expected that all Deans, Directors and Chairs will collaborate with the Office of Research to ensure that the assignment of research space under their aegis aligns with this policy.


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 may be assigned research space based on research expenditures from their start-up package or considered under the umbrella of a research mentor or the department chair’s expenditures.
  • Senior faculty without research expenditures for more than three (3) years may not be individually-assigned Type A laboratory space although they may be assigned core lab space, an office nearby for collaboration, or Type B research space, for activities such as mentorship of a graduate student or other collaborative research activities as confirmed in writing by the department chair or a funded principal investigator.
  • All office and lab spaces in all buildings assigned exclusively to the investigator by name will be included. These spaces include common equipment rooms, tissue culture and animal facility procedure rooms exclusively for their use (not animal housing rooms) as well as offices for any associated mentored faculty, graduate students, post-docs or administrative personnel.
  • Departmental administrative space will not be counted towards the chair’s research space assignment.

The metric is applied as follows: Research expenditures/sq. ft. will be calculated at least annually and with a rolling three (3) year average. This metric will be used to determine which investigators, those with the lowest metric values, are candidates for resizing to make room for new recruits or researchers about to be displaced by building construction.

Research space assignments will be reviewed annually by the Office of Research Resources and status reports of assignments and the space metric for their faculty will be sent to all college deans, institute directors and department chairs. Deans, directors and chairs are considered stewards of the space their faculty occupy and will be able to use these reports as tools to ensure that research space assignments are in alignment with this policy. 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, during which time they may still be asked to reduce their space to accommodate other funded investigators.

Research space vacated when a researcher leaves UNMC reverts to unassigned status under the control of the appropriate UNMC Research Space Committee. For multi-college research buildings this committee is comprised of VCR and FMP leadership along with the relevant college dean/institute director and department chair (and other representatives as designated) For single-college or institute space this committee is convened by the specific dean or director overseeing that space.

Research space vacated when a researcher leaves UNMC reverts to unassigned status under the control of the appropriate UNMC Research Space Committee. For multi-college research buildings this committee is comprised of VCR and FMP leadership along with the relevant college dean/institute director, department chair and other representatives as designated. For single-college or institute space, this committee is convened by the specific dean or director overseeing that space. 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 plan for location and amount of space in multi-college research buildings should be discussed and agreed upon with the VCR Office prior to the faculty signing their employment contract. However, the final space assignment and date of availability will not be finalized until the faculty recruit has signed and returned the proposed contract.

If the identified space needs to be emptied, a two (2) month minimum may 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, which may require relocation or reduction in space of existing 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 are considered state of the art laboratories (e.g., Durham Research Centers 1 and 2, Lied Transplant Center, Scott Cancer Research Tower, Lozier Center or renovated Eppley Cancer Institute);
  • Type B, older laboratories (e.g. Wittson Hall, Williams Science Hall, College of Dentistry, Eppley Science Hall, Munroe Meyer Institute).

Multi-College Research Buildings - defined as housing researchers from more than one college or institute.

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). Research space requests will be considered by the appropriate chair, dean and/or director and/or the UNMC Research Space Committee based on the location of the proposed space. For assignment in multi-college/institute research buildings, the Research Space Committee will discuss the request at their bi-monthly meeting, to include the VCR and FMP leadership along with the relevant college dean/institute director and department chair or any other representatives designated. A response to a UNMC Research Space Committee request should be expected within one (1) month.

Master Facilities Database

Maintaining an accurate space assignment database is necessary for assuring safety, security and other operational reasons. Once a research space assignment is made in any building, or any time an assignment is changed, the unit chair, dean or director is responsible for informing the VCR Office of the change to update the Master Facilities Database.

Additional Information

This page maintained by dkp.