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Shared Use Instrumentation

Bradley University (BU) complies with the definitions and regulations pertaining to the ownership, acquisition and use of equipment as set forth in the Office of Management and Budget Uniform Guidance. This includes the ownership, maintenance, and use of instrumentation and equipment intended for research and scholarly purposes (referred to here as “Instruments”). This policy applies specifically to shared-use Instruments, or Instruments that may be used by more than one person or for more than one purpose. This policy is necessary to:

  1. Ensure fair and equitable access to Instruments;
  2. Ensure that Instruments are well-maintained and remain operational;
  3. Ensure appropriate research and educational use of Instruments;
  4. Avoid unnecessary downtime on Instruments; and
  5. Ensure compliance with federal regulations and guidelines for the acquisition, maintenance, and use of Instruments. (NSF, for example, requires the submission of management plans for the maintenance and shared use of instrumentation requested under the Major Research Instrumentation Program.)

All qualified BU researchers/scholars (internal users) shall have fair access to Instruments for research, scholarship, and educational purposes according to the specific protocols established for each Instrument. Instruments may also be made accessible to authorized external users according to established Instrument-specific protocols.

The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) will work with the appropriate BU colleges and departments to establish specific shared-use protocols for each shared-use Instrument. OSP has established standard definitions and guidelines for use in the development of shared-use protocols. Protocols will be reviewed by the Instrument Use Board comprised of the chairs of those departments that house and maintain shared-use instrumentation. The Instrument Use Board makes recommendations on protocols and any issues regarding implementation and enforcement to the appropriate College Deans. College Deans must approve Instrument shared-use protocols, with final authority residing with the Provost. On a bi-annual basis, this policy, and the Instrument shared-use protocols that stem from it, will be reviewed by the Provost, the Associate Provost for Research, the Deans of the Colleges, and others as deemed appropriate.

According to the Bradley University Instrument Use Policy, departments housing shared-use instrumentation will work with the Office of Sponsored Programs to develop instrument-specific shared use protocols. The involvement of OSP in this process ensures that, to the greatest extent possible, the protocols are consistent and comparable to one another while taking into account the different parameters for use dictated by the operation of each instrument. There are three steps to implementing a shared-use instrument protocol, though department chairs are welcome to involve OSP as early in the process as they see fit.

  1. Departments will use these guidelines and standards to develop a shared-use protocol for specific instruments under their purview.
  2. Departments will submit a draft of the shared-use protocol to OSP for review.
  3. Once any consistency and compliance issues are resolved to the Department’s satisfaction, OSP will submit the draft protocols to the appropriate College Dean for approval.

Once protocols are approved, OSP will aid departments in launching a secured Sakai Site through which persons can (1) schedule time on an instrument or (2) submit samples to be run on an instrument. All shared-use instrument protocols must include language, definitions, and clauses that address the following:

  • Description of the Instrument and its capabilities: Information that lets others know what can be accomplished with the specific instrument.
  • Authorized User/Authorized Protocol: Conditions, requirements, training, or any other distinctions as applicable as to who can directly make use of the instrument (an authorized user); or as to who can submit samples or request analyses to be run on the instrument by the faculty member primarily responsible for the instrument and/or his/her approved designee (an authorized protocol).
  • Request Process: The process by which persons will request permission to use or submit samples/analyses to be run on the instrument.
  • Instrument Use Board: The Instrument Use Board will be comprised of all the department chairs who have shared-use instrument protocols. This board will be responsible for reviewing proposed instrument- use protocols, and for handling any disputes or conflicts that may arise regarding compliance with the Instrument Use Policy and the approved protocols. The board will make recommendations on resolutions to the College Deans entailed who will make a final determination on the issues raised. Final authority rests with the Provost.
  • Technician/Researcher Roles: Identifies those persons who have primary responsibility for the maintenance and operation of the instrument or who may be contacted for questions about the instrument or for troubleshooting use of the instrument. Identifies those persons who are willing and authorized to run samples/analyses for approved protocols on the instrument.
  • Instrument Use Scheduling Site: Each protocol will have a formal mechanism by which persons may submit requests for scheduling time on an instrument. Those authorized and willing to run samples can provide availability/times during which they are willing to run samples. The mechanism will also permit those who use the instrument for instructional/classroom purposes to reserve time accordingly.
  • User Fees: Funds paid for time on the instrument that will be used to offset the general maintenance and operational costs of the instrument. Each department with a shared-use protocol will be assigned a designated roll-over account in which such funds can be deposited and then used to offset instrument costs.

Different fee rates for internal users/requestors (Bradley users from other departments than the one housing the instrument) and external users/requestors. Additional fees may be applied for training (in which the faculty person primarily responsible for the instrument trains someone else to use the instrument) and for running samples/analyses for a requestor on the instrument.

  • Prioritized use: Indicates any conditions or circumstances in which someone may have prioritized use of the instrument. In most cases, a first-scheduled protocol is standard, with some prioritization for educational use in specific courses or labs.
  • Parameters for Scheduling Use: Restrictions on how much time or how long a duration someone may schedule time on an instrument. For example, if most operations on an instrument require 24 hours, a timeslot of 24 hours can be set as a minimum, and a sequence of no more than 7 timeslots can be permissible before a user/protocol must wait 2 weeks before scheduling more time on the instrument. Includes conditions for cancelling time reserved on an instrument so that others might make use on it.
  • Consequences for un-used time: Description of when a user/requestor may temporarily or permanently lose privileges to use an instrument because of repeated incidents of scheduling time on an instrument and leaving it unused. Also includes a description of when a user may temporarily or permanently lose privileges due to repeated incidents of scheduling time on an instrument and cancelling use on short notice.
  • Process for requesting exceptions: Describes how a user/requestor may request for an exception to the scheduling parameters or for prioritized use of the instrument for a specific reason and to whom such a request should be submitted.
  • Instrument/computer-specific parameters of use: For example, only those identified in Roles as authorized to do so may reboot a computer or an instrument, conduct any form of maintenance or reconfiguration of the instrument, or troubleshoot any problems encountered with the instrument. Such parameters should include a stipulation that no one may interrupt or stop a process running on a system – even if someone has made unauthorized or unscheduled use of an instrument. Instead, this should be reported to those responsible for the instrument and, if necessary, reported to the IUB.
  • Data, samples, and products: Protocols regarding how improperly labeled or unlabeled samples/products left behind in the laboratory housing the instrument will be handled, and regarding the responsibility of the user for saving, backing up, and removing their own data from the instrument’s operating system.
  • Provisions of supplies/materials: Describes what may be provided by the department responsible for the instrument (e.g. gasses required for operation) and what must be provided by the user/requestor.
  • Safety regulations and established laboratory protocols: The users will have responsibility for ensuring they understand and are aware of all regulations and protocols pertaining to the use of an instrument, and for seeking clarification from those described in the Roles section t if any ambiguity or uncertainty remains.
  • Damages and liability: May include two parts: (1) describes the possibility of financial liability should a user damage an instrument; and (2) describes a process by which costs associated with major upgrades or non-routine service or repairs on an instrument are necessary to keep it functional may be shared by other departments based on a percentage of time scheduled on the instrument in the preceding year.
  • Complaints, Conflicts and Concerns: Describes the process by which anyone can submit a complaint, conflict, or concern pertaining to the use of an instrument to the Instrument Use Board.
  • Recognition: Language that must be used in any products of research using the instrument that acknowledges Bradley University, the department involved, and the instrument used in such research.
  • Industrial Use: Language to indicate whether or not the instrument is available for industrial use (for example, to produce products for commercial purposes). In most cases, Bradley instrumentation will not be available for industrial use, though industries, as authorized, may schedule time on an instrument for research purposes.