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Office of Medical Research

Office of Medical Research

Research Space Overview

Since 1996, the School of Medicine has allocated research space to departments using several formulae driven by objective data on the number of research personnel who need to be accomodated. The policy was an outgrowth of the School's 1995 Strategic Plan, in which the Dean was mandated by the faculty to allocate research resources in an equitable fashion based on the legitimate requirements for different types of research and objective measures of research productivity.

In 2003, upon the recommendation of the School of Medicine Faculty Senate's Research Space Advisory Committee, the policy statement was significantly simplified. The fundamental principles of the policy remain the same, but the policy itself has been streamined and is clearer for departments to interpret and independently calculate their expected space allocations.

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Criteria for Allocating Research Space in the School of Medicine

April 4, 2003

The Dean allocates research space to departments using a simple objective formula. The sub-allocation of space to individual faculty, or for shared use, is at the discretion of the department chair.

The Basic Formula
Total departmental research space (in assignable square feet) = (# of eligible individuals) X (the applicable building and activity-based unit per individual).

Definition of an Eligible Individual (a.k.a., program funded individual, or PFI)
PFIs are the full-time equivalents of research personnel requiring SOM space. Their salary or stipend support must be traceable to a multi-year research program fund source (extramural or departmental). They include: (1) all regular and in-residence series faculty without qualification (counted as 1.0 PFI regardless of percentage of research effort); (2) clinical X and visiting series faculty with extramural or department-sponsored research programs in proportion to their percent research effort; and (3) adjunct and professional research series faculty; technical research staff; graduate students; postdoctoral fellows, clinical research fellows, research nurses, and clinical research coordinators. (Those with 50% or less appointments are counted as fractional PFI; those with greater than 50% appointments are counted as full PFI.) Department chairs may request a limited number of PFIs (3 per 10 principal investigators) for self-funded or partially funded trainees as long as they are registered graduate students, and their faculty mentors are members of a graduate group. Undergraduate students will be counted as 0.20 PFI, provided they work more than eight hours per week on a faculty sponsored research project.

Definitions of Research Activities Influencing Allocation Units Per Individual
Different types of activity require different amounts of space. For simplicity, two main types of research activity accrue different quantities of space per PFI:

  • Procedure or laboratory-based research, where space is required to perform experimental procedures to gather data, in either a clinical or basic research setting. The allocation unit per PFI depends on the type of floor plan provided by the building utilized. (See below).
  • Office-based research, where the primary data consists of patient charts, field reports or other records that are gathered elsewhere and brought to a dedicated research office for review, analysis and storage. The allocation unit is 60 asf per PFI. This assumes 2 PFIs share a standard 90-100 asf office and have access to additional shared storage/support space.

Definitions of Floor Plan Types Influencing Lab-Based Allocation Units Per Individual

  • Conventional Labs where lab modules are individual rooms approximately 350-450 asf and accommodate 3-4 individuals per room. The allocation unit is 160 asf per PFI. This includes lab space and a portion of shared support space per PFI.
  • “Open-Bay” Labs where multiple open bench “bays” accommodate 3-4 individuals per bay (e.g., Research-3 and the Genome and Biomedical Science Facility). The allocation unit is 120 asf per PFI. This includes a bench bay allocation and a portion of shared lab support space.

Campus-wide policy (UCD P&P 360-21, II. A. 2.) vests Deans with the responsibility for allocating space to units (e.g., departments) under their jurisdiction. It leaves the sub-allocation of space within units up to the discretion of unit heads (e.g., department chairs). Historically, Deans of the School of Medicine had exercised their authority in space assignments using whatever criteria they felt were appropriate or necessary at the time. The creation of this formal space policy serves the following purposes:

  • Makes the criteria guiding the Dean’s allocation of space to departments open and known to all faculty, helping to ensure that they will be consistently and fairly applied;
  • Links the quantitative allocation of space to fair and objective measures of productivity and need (through formulae driven by the numbers “program funded personnel,” or PFI), as recommended in the 1995 Strategic Plan of the School of Medicine.
  • Establishes space utilization practices and generates space utilization data that are critical for long-range planning and justifying additional research facility construction, including that needed to address long-standing space deficits relative to the amount of research activity in the School of Medicine

Basic Principles of the Policy

  • The basic metric of research activity that drives the quantity of space allocated by the Dean to departments is the number of funded personnel within each department who are engaged in research and require the use of SOM research facilities.
  • The responsibility for sub-allocating a department’s assigned space to individual faculty or programs rests with the department chair. Chairs may apply the criteria and formulae of the Dean’s policy to guide intradepartmental assignments or they may deviate from the Dean’s guidelines to address individual needs or special circumstances, as they deem appropriate, within the limits of their departments’ total space allocation.
  • Space allocations by the Dean to departments are never permanent and may be adjusted (up or down), depending on changes in departments’ research activity / PFI count. This is intended to provide the Dean the flexibility needed to effectively manage existing resources, by directing more space to meet the needs of successful or growing departments and less to those whose overall research activities have declined. Similarly, department chairs have the discretion to adjust intradepartmental allocations to meet changing space needs within their departments, even when the total allocation to a department does not change.
  • Current data on research personnel (PFI) used to update departmental space allocations may be annually reviewed by the Deans Office, in accordance with campus-wide policy (UCD P&P 360-21 B.1.). Chairs whose departments, based on their current PFI and assigned space, occupy significantly more space than is justified by the policy will be notified that they are potentially vulnerable to having their space downsized if it is required to meet the needs of other departments
  • To avoid unnecessary disruptions from space reassignments, the Deans Office will take into account short-term fluctuations in grant or other program support for research personnel. This will be done by evaluating two-year rolling averages of departmental PFI. Department chairs may provide, at their discretion, an additional buffer for faculty whose supports experience short-term fluctuations, within the limits of their total departmental space allocation.
  • The policy affects only research and research support space. It does not affect faculty members’ primary academic offices or departmental administrative or instructional space.
  • The policy does not apply to research space that is not administered by the School of Medicine. Faculty who utilize space administered by other university units (e.g. the Primate Center or CCM) or other collaborative partners (e.g., VA, Shriners) are subject to the space policies of those “off-site” units. SOM faculty whose research needs are fully accommodated in “off-site” facilities do not accrue duplicative space in a SOM facility.
  • No written policy is perfect. This policy therefore represents only a guide for the Dean to evaluate departmental space needs. Exceptions for unusual needs based on the type of research activity or requirements for specialized environments or instrumentation will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
  • Because the School’s space policy guides overall allocations to departments, rather than those to individual faculty, matters concerning the space needs or concerns of individual faculty should be addressed first to the department chair and then, if necessary, through the chair to the Deans Office.
  • The Faculty Executive Committee (FEC) established a standing committee, the Research Space Advisory Committee, to monitor, evaluate and make recommendations regarding this policy and its implementation. Furthermore, the FEC established at the same time the Research Space Appeals Committee to hear appeals from individual faculty regarding space allocation decisions. The chairs and members of these committees may be contacted through the SOM Faculty Senate Office, 530-752-4781.

Sample Calculation Using SOM Space Policy

A department has six regular series and two adjunct faculty who are exclusively engaged in bench research (i.e., procedure-based) in Tupper Hall, a facility with a conventional floor plan consisting of 350-450 asf lab modules and smaller lab support/equipment rooms. Each of the faculty have the following support and PFIs (assumed to be 100% appointees unless otherwise indicated):

Faculty A. (Reg series):
grant funded with 1 SRA + 2 grad students + 1 postdoc = 5 PFI

Faculty B. (Reg series):
grants funded with 1 SRA + 1 technician + 3 grad students + 1 associated professional researcher = 7 PFI

Faculty C. (Reg series, new hire):
start-up support with 1 SRA + 1 grad student = 3 PFI

Faculty D. (Reg series, junior level):
Health System grant with 1 SRA + 1 grad student = 3 PFI

Faculty E. (Reg series):
grant funded with one 50% SRA (@ ) 0.5 PFI) and one 75% SRA (@1.0 PFI) + 2 technicians + 3 grad students + 2 postdocs + 3 undergrads (@0.2 PFI) = 10.1 PFI

Faculty F. (Reg series):
no grants with no supported personnel = 1 PFI

Faculty G. (Adjunct):
independently funded with 1 SRA + 2 grad students = 4 PFI

Faculty H. (Adjunct):
funded at 80% effort on faculty member A’s grant and working in A’s laboratory = 0.8 PFI

The total PFI in this department is: 33.9

Applying the unit factor for a conventional lab floor plan (e.g., Tupper Hall) of 160 asf / PFI:

This department accrues 33.9 X 160 asf/PFI or 5,424 asf.

(The formula’s target is considered satisfied if the assigned space is within +/- 10% of the calculated amount, according to the limitations and configuration of available facilities).

The chair has the discretion of sub-assigning this space to individual faculty or shared use.