Department of Medicine Space Allocation Policy and Guidelines


A. Philosophy: Research is a critical mission of the DOM. Research is a dynamic process and research space needs expand and contract. Moreover the space needs of different types of research vary qualitatively and quantitatively. Enhancing the success of the DOM in all of its missions requires optimal utilization of space assets. Research space is finite in quantity and must be allocated and managed to ensure maximum productivity. Whenever possible, groups with similar interests or who need access to specialized equipment will be grouped together. As research has become more interdisciplinary, the sharing of research space by faculty from different entities is encouraged. Research space should be allocated according to agreed principles of prioritization including:

  1. Consideration of the premise that shared utilization is preferred to single use of any space
  2. Grant support, trainee, personnel and equipment needs of the research group
  3. The recognition that there is a minimum space requirement for viability of a research group or individual investigator
  4. The need for stability over time for continuity of research programs
  5. The need to meet OHSHA and other regulatory standards.

B. Optimal assignment of space (average considerations):

  1. Wet lab space:  Each full time, year round lab worker (technician, postdoc, student, faculty member) should have a desk and assigned lab bench. Each lab worker may require additional shared bench and sink space or shared instrument space.
  2. Office space:  Each full-time faculty member should be assigned a private office. Faculty members are not entitled to two offices. All PIs need administrative support. Each full time Section administrator should be assigned an office. Instructors, visiting faculty, part time faculty and other office assistants may be assigned shared office space as available.
  3. Dry lab space: Each full-time faculty member should be assigned a research office. Each support worker requires adequate desk space and additional computer space.

C. Annual Inventory:  Each entity is required to update their space inventory annually, make any needed corrections to the inventory and provide a copy of the annual inventory to the Chair, DOM, and Vice Chair for Research.

D. Requests for space and reallocation of space:  The Chair of the DOM will appoint and utilize a Space Planning Advisory Committee (SPACE) to semiannually review space allocation reports, requests for additional space and pre-proposal space commitments.

  1. The committee will consist of representatives from various professorial ranks and disciplines and administration, each holding staggered three-year terms that are renewable. Failure to attend 3 meetings will result in replacement.
  2. Renovation of newly assigned or reassigned space will be a shared responsibility of investigators and the DOM.

E. Stewardship of space:  Space is assigned to specific entities (sections, units, cores, centers, etc) rather than individuals. Distribution and sharing of space is the responsibility of the leader of each entity. When the allocation of space to an entity changes, leaders must provide notice, including an explanation for the change, to affected faculty members in writing as least 60 days in advance. It is recommended that space allocation within an entity consider inherent differences in the fundable costs of performing different kinds of research, the space needs for large pieces of equipment, the possible variation in the number of personnel in a laboratory supported by the same grant dollars and other measures of productivity and programmatic importance not reflected in grant dollars.

F. Incubator space:  The goal of this initiative is to provide space for starting new programs, which initially have no research funding, or for the addition of new faculty to existing programs. Designated space for this initiative will be underutilized research space identified during the annual space survey. New academic entities that hold no research space will be eligible for incubator space. Existing entities are also eligible for incubator space. Incubator space does not contribute to the entity’s calculation of space use. However, the incubator status of the space is limited to three years with exceptions allowed only under compelling circumstances.

G. The Metrics:  The metrics used to calculate space allocation, or research space productivity index, should reflect three year rolling averages to prevent excessive movement and accommodate short-term funding gaps. The starting point will be based on the initial space survey. Initially, any entity that is significantly above or below the departmental mean will trigger a review of space utilization in that entity and possible conversion of underutilized space to incubator space or reassignment of space to another purpose or entity. Comparisons will only be made among like activities, i.e. wet lab, dry lab, patient-oriented. This calculation will be updated and posted annually. We will develop and utilize a strategy to account for major differences in the quality of the research space in the space allocation formula. Space allocated to new faculty will not be included for the first three years. Space allocated to Core facilities or ARCs will not be included in the calculations. It is suggested that direct costs be used as the relevant metric because allocation based on indirect costs overvalues federal grants relative to other awards.