Standards for Laboratory and Computational Space Use

(Formerly titled “Research Space Use Standards”)

Date: January 27, 2020
Number: 2.500
Status: Final

Contact Office:
Assistant Dean for Research
Dean’s Office, School of Medicine
Office for Research
PO Box 800793
Charlottesville, VA 22908
phone: 434-243-7088

Oversight Executive:
Senior Associate Dean for Research
Dean’s Office, School of Medicine
PO Box 800793
Charlottesville, VA 22908
phone: 434-243-7088

Applies to:
Department chairs and/orcenter directors (“unit heads”) who have research 22laboratory space assigned to their unit.

Reason for Policy:
This policy supports unit headsand investigators in the efficient management ofresearch laboratory space.It provides productivity standards based on the quality of research space, makes allowances for early career faculty to develop their research program before being subject to the policy, and makes provisions for assigning additional space or reducing existing assignments.

Definition of Terms:
Criteria for Graded Space: Please see Appendix I.

Laboratory and Computation Research Space Committee (LCRSC):A committee appointed by andadvisory to the Senior Associate Dean for Research.

Productivity standard:The average of the prior three fiscal years’ total expenditures from extramural research funding. Eligible expenditures from extramural research funding:

  • Includes the sum of direct costs and F&A earned that applies only to web lab and computational activity;
  • Includes expenditures derived from philanthropic donations to the University (1) where the terms of the gift allow its utilization for research and (2) whose use can be identified within Oracle as applying to research activities; and
  • Excludes pass-throughs and sub-contracts to other institutions.

Research Investigator (RI): A SOM faculty member or other scientist (excluding trainees) who has University permission to submit proposals as a PI for external funding.

Research space: “wet” or “dry”research laboratory space. “Dry”research space includes any space used to house research personnel or computational equipment, including computers, servers or similar equipment whose main function and use is for the performance of research.For ResearchInvestigators, this includes the sum of assigned lab service, office, and a portion of shared meeting space. For departments and centers, this includes the space assigned to RIs within the unit’s portfolio plus the unit’s common spaces.

Policy Statement:
All units are expected to maintain the minimum space use productivity standards for 61assigned research space. The baselines for research productivity are:

$500/SF of research space for “A” grade space
$400/SF of research space for “B” grade space
$300/SFfor “C” grade research space.

A team comprised of an RI and six additional FTEs will be assigned approximately 1,270 SF of ‘A’ grade research space provided that the team meets the productivity standards for the class of that space. Additional space within a unit’s portfolio may be assigned at the discretion of the unit head.

Units that meet the productivity threshold may request additional research space. The unit head may request that the Laboratory and Computational Research Space Committee recommend additional space.

Space allocations are not permanent. Space allocations will reflect research productivity and/or recruitment plans. Space assignments shall reflect the need for flexibility to accommodate changes required by an RI. Unused space may be reassigned temporarily on an emergency basis.

Unit heads are expected to demonstrate responsible stewardship in the use of allocated space. Sub-allocations by unit heads are subject to the terms of this policy. Sub-allocations must be documented and approved by the dean or designee (“dean”).

Laboratory utilization will be verified by the annual survey conducted by the SOM Office of Capital and Facilities Planning. Unit heads will be notified of space in their unit that 87the survey identified as vacant.

When the annual space survey shows that research space productivity is not within 20% of productivity standard, the unit head has two months to submit a plan to the LCRSC for improving utilization. The committee will review the plan and make its recommendation to the dean.

Six months after laboratory space has become vacant or is anticipated to become vacant, the unit head must submit plans outlining future use of the space to the LCRSC. The LCRSC will make a recommendation on whether to approve the plan.

While unit heads are responsible for ensuring that the productivity standards are met, they are also responsible for ensuring that early career investigators are supported as follows:

  • The productivity standard will be suspended for tenure-eligible (TE) Academic Investigators (AI) in advance of promotion, regardless of the faculty member’s success in securing research funding. Upon promotion to Associate Professor, an AI’s space assignment is subject to the terms of this policy.
  • A TE Clinical Investigator (CI) is assigned research space within the mentor’s space during the period that the CI is being mentored. Any career development awards the CI receives and the CI’s FTE will be including in the mentor’s space calculation. After the career development period has ended with the award of tenure, the CI will be assigned independent research space that is governed by this policy.
  • The research space assigned to Clinical Faculty is subject to this policy.
  • The research space assigned to Research Faculty (RF), regardless of rank, is subject to this policy.
  • An RF who is a mentee will be assigned space in the mentor’s lab as negotiated by the mentor and the unit head. When the RF is PI on an external research award, the mentor will dedicate a specific percentage of the mentor’s assigned space to the RF’s project as required by the granting agency. The mentor is held to the productivity standard with the mentee’s external research support, FTE, and any support staff on the mentee’s grant excluded from the calculation of the mentor’s productivity. If the mentor leaves the University and the mentee remains, the institution will make reasonable effort to honor the space commitment associated with the mentee’s award.
  • Research support faculty working within or directing a core facility are not subject to this policy.

The LCRSC will periodically review institutional space metrics and this policy and will recommend changes as necessary.

Revision history: Implemented April 4, 2004; updated 2/22/07, 2/17/10, 11/12/13, 1/26/18; reviewed with no revision 1/27/20

Approved 1/27/2020 by
David S. Wilkes, MD Dean

Appendix I: Research Building Performance Criteria

Technical and Functional Facility Criteria

Technical A Grade Technical B Grade Technical C Grade
Facility age less than 15 years Facility age 15-25 years Facility age 25-40+ years
Little or on apparent deferred maintenance Some apparent deferred maintenance Significant apparent deferred maintenance
No significant building code compliance concerns (i.e. IBC, NFPA, etc.) Possible building code compliance concerns (i.e. IBC, NFPA, etc.) Building code compliance concerns (i.e. IBC, NFPA, etc.)
Finishes, equipment, and furnishings in good condition Finishes, equipment, and furnishings in fair conditions Finishes, equipment, and furnishings in poor conditions



Functional 1 Grade Functional 2 Grade Functional 3 Grade
Mov/adj bench layout suited to research purpose excellent facility “bones”; hi eff floor plate; lab block clear of mech shafts Non-adj; eff fixed bench layout suited to research purpose, good facility “bones” fl2fl ht & col bay grid size; mod eff floor plate, lab block clr of mech shafts Non-adj inefficient fixed bench layout; poor facility “bones” low eff floor plate; lab block broken up by mech shafts
Neighborhood multi-lab organization, non-cellular, SF assignment/utilization easily adjustable, PI off outside labs; ETF office outside lab; reseach sup separate from occupied lab Regular shaped & right-sized cellular labs, PI office directly connected to lab; SF assignment/utilization reasonaly adjustable; FTE office inside lab Odd-shaped, under or over-sized cellular labs, faculty offices embedded inside labs; occupants widely spread out; difficult to increase occupant density; FTE office in lab
Adequate research support SF outside primary labs; proximate to shared core lab resource(s) Adequate research support SF outside primary lab; proximate to sharde core lab resource(s) Undersized research support SF embedded within cellular labs; distant from shared core lab resource(s)
Great natural light distribution as appropriate @ lab, PI & FTE office; great lighting Reasonable natural light distribution as appropriate @ lab, PI & FTE office; good lighting Poor natural light access in PI offices, FTE office and/or Lab spaces; fair to poor lighting


School of Medicine Space Grading


Technical Grade–Measures the physical condition of a building (A, B, and C).
Functional Grade–Measures a building’s ability to support the program, i.e. clinical, research, administrative (1, 2, and 3).
Green –Very good condition, “A” Space
Yellow–Fair condition, “B” Space
Red –Poor Condition, “C” Space