Research Space Allocation

Version 2 (Current Version)
All Versions:
TitleResearch Space Allocation
CategoryResearch and Graduate Studies
Sub-categoryResearch Compliance

New Regulation posted as Interim November 30, 2015.

Revised January 31, 2017.


Provost (252-328-5419)
Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance (252-328-6966)
Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Studies (252-328-9471)
Director of Institutional Planning, IPAR (252-328-9481)
Financial Services, Compliance Management (252-737-1133)

Related Policies

Space Allocation Committee - Institutional Planning, Assessment and Research: ECU Space Allocation Procedures and Guidelines (Adopted Dec 2003; Amended, Apr 2007)

Space Allocation/Reallocation Committee (SPARC) (Unit Code of Operations, Brody School of Medicine)

Allocation of University Space, REG07.30.01

Additional References

A Concept for the Integration of Space and Physical Planning (Flye, B. and Duncan, C.S., 2008)

Campus Space Planning

IRS Publication 4077, Tax Exempt Bonds for 501(c) (3) Organizations

IPAR Website

Faculty Emeritus Research Space Allocation SOP

1. Introduction.

1.1. Research and graduate education are central to the mission of East Carolina University (e.g., ECU Strategic Action Plan, 2010-13). These activities require substantial infrastructure, including research space (Code 250 of the Space Classification Manual, USDoEd) and research support space (Code 255 of the Space Classification Manual, USDoEd). Research space is intended to promote the scholarly activities of faculty members and students in support of ECU’s mission.

1.2. This regulation and its foundation principles explicitly align with ECU’s REG 07.30.01, Allocation of University Space. The Chancellor has delegated full authority to the University Space Committee (USC) to approve all allocations and reallocations of existing University-owned and leased research space. In addition, ECU’s REG 07.30.01 specifies that issues regarding the use of space in the Brody School of Medicine (BSOM) will first be considered by its Space Allocation and Reallocation Committee (SPARC) with recommendations made to the USC for final approval.

2. Guiding Principles.

2.1. Research Space. Research space (Codes 250 and 255 of the Space Classification Manual, USDoEd) is a valuable resource and is the property of the State of North Carolina and is allocated to, and managed by, ECU as noted above. The USC, with administrative support from the Office of Institutional Planning and Research (IPAR), is ultimately responsible for the allocation and/or reallocation of all space (including research space) to colleges, schools, departments, and other units. The University Space Committee is authorized to issue rules and standard operating procedures to facilitate implementation of and compliance with this regulation.

2.2. Research Portfolio. Research space allocations are not permanent. Research space is allocated to individuals and groups of individuals in order to engage research activities. Thus, research space may be reallocated as the University’s portfolio of research activities changes. Since that portfolio is reasonably expected to change over time, research space also is expected to be reallocated in response to the changing environment and institutional priorities.

2.3. Research Space Management Levels. While possessing authority to allocate and reallocate all ECU research space, the USC recognizes and appreciates the knowledge of programmatic space needs and disciplinary expertise that is held at the unit level and grants relative autonomy to departments, schools, colleges, and centers/institutes. Departments, schools, colleges, and centers/institutes are expected to manage research space effectively so that it aligns with university priorities (see Section 2.4) and is used efficiently (see Section 2.5). Research space management levels are:

2.3.1. Level I allocations and reallocations occur within departments/units (i.e., between researchers within a department or a unit) and are typically managed by a chair/director, which shall be identified by the USC.

2.3.2. Level II allocations and reallocations occur within colleges/schools (i.e., between departments and units within a college or school) and are typically managed by a dean which shall be identified by the USC;

2.3.3. Level III allocations and reallocations are less frequent, occur between colleges, schools, and divisions and these are managed by IPAR with direction and approval from the USC. While Level I and Level II allocations and reallocations of research space do not require approvals above their respective levels, all allocations and reallocations must be properly communicated to IPAR via the IPAR website (see Additional References section) after any new allocations or reallocations so that the University’s space inventory is current and accurate. Given its authority, the USC will hear and reconcile any (research space) disputes that are not negotiated successfully at Levels I and II.

2.4. Unit Priorities and Strategic Alignment. Research space priorities shall be established at the departmental/unit level, college/school /divisional level, and university level. At all Levels research space allocations and reallocations are made in accordance with established priorities that align with ECU strategic planning goals and objectives.

2.5. Efficiency of Use. In addition to strategic alignment, research space allocations and reallocations are made in accordance with efficiency of use. Thus, research space is subject to biennial inventory and efficiency audits by IPAR (see Section 4 below), as directed by the USC, with the possibility of subsequent allocation or reallocation occurring at any management Level. The conditions for initiating a reallocation at Level I and Level II shall be communicated to and approved by the USC.

2.6. Frequency. It is impractical to reallocate research space too frequently. Effective space-use practice recognizes that research funding and output fluctuate over time and that considerable costs can accompany reallocation activities. The department chair or other unit administrator shall cooperate with the current research space occupant to be sure the person is given access to the space during reasonable hours for purposes of arranging disposal of equipment and supplies.

2.7. New Faculty. Prior to a new faculty member joining ECU, the dean of the college and/or chair of the department should communicate, in writing to the faculty member and to IPAR, any commitment of research space (including Categories 250 and 255 of the Space Classification Manual, USDoEd) and space renovation to accommodate the faculty member’s research agenda. This written commitment must provide adequate detail regarding: general characteristics, proposed location, plan for renovation including budget, time limits for occupancy, and terms under which the space could be reallocated. If the space commitment to a new faculty member requires additional space beyond that already managed at Levels I or II, then it must be approved by administrators at Levels I, II, and the USC. Given its authority, the USC will hear and reconcile any (research space) disputes that are not negotiated successfully at Levels I and II.

2.8. Sponsored Research. Sponsored research involves agreement of the University to provide adequate space. When additional research space is required to engage a sponsored project, the principal investigators shall inform all units involved and the USC (through IPAR). Negotiation with IPAR of a solution to the space need should occur well in advance of any submission deadline.

2.9. Emeritus Faculty. Emeritus faculty may be provided with research space at the discretion of the units involved if space is available and the emeritus faculty member remains actively engaged in research that is determined by the unit to be aligned with the programmatic needs and priorities of the University.

3. Considerations for Allocating and Reallocating Research Space.

3.1. New allocations or reallocations will bring research space into alignment with long-term University priorities as expressed in units’ strategic plans.

3.2. New allocations or reallocations will increase the productivity of individual, departmental/unit, or college research space utilization.

3.3. New allocations or reallocations will make explicit the length of the research space commitment.

3.4. New allocations or reallocations will consider associated one-time and recurring costs. If subsidies are necessary, funding sources will be specified by end-users.

3.5. New allocations or reallocations will consider opportunities to co-locate similar types of research activity in order to share core or common space and equipment.

3.6. New allocations or reallocations will consider the effects of space assignments (including equipment and other infrastructure) on health, fire, environmental, accessibility, and safety compliance.

3.7. New allocations or reallocations will consider the primary reasons for a research space request and any possible secondary issues (indirect effects) that might result.

3.8. New allocation or reallocation will occur without discrimination on the basis of the protected class status of the affected occupant, except and to the extent required by law, such as that required for reasonable accommodation of a disability as coordinated through the Office of Disability Support Services.

4. Research Space Productivity.

4.1. To ensure that space is efficiently and effectively utilized, IPAR (as directed by the USC and assisted by units) will conduct biennial research space audits. Possessing quantitative and qualitative metrics, along with appropriate benchmarks, assists all management Levels (I-III) to optimize the use of research space. Productivity measures and benchmarks for research space are expected to vary between and among disciplines. Financial measures are expected to be one part of the overall assessment of research space productivity. Financial measures may include but are not limited to: total external research award dollars / per net assignable square foot (NASF), total external research expenditure dollars / per NASF, and indirect cost recovery dollars / per NASF. Non-financial measures of research productivity may include but are not limited to: number of refereed publications and books completed or in process, number of citations of published research publications in process, number of graduate students engaged, number of undergraduate students engaged, and other metrics as deemed relevant by the Unit Administrator. These and other factors may be weighted or un-weighted within departments and colleges. Because of expected inter-annual variability in research productivity, a five-year moving average will be employed as the unit of research observation.

5. Allocation/Reallocation Procedure.

5.1. Initial (and subsequently altered) productivity measurement schemes at Level I must be communicated by the Dean or Chair as appropriate to and approved by the Level II administrator and the USC. Productivity measurement schemes at Level II must be approved by the USC. This process is intended to provide effective communication and reasonable alignment of approaches. IPAR will assemble, aggregate, maintain, and communicate all necessary research space/productivity data. A five-year report of productivity of individual research spaces (for Level I analysis by chairs and directors), departmental/unit research spaces (for Level II analysis by deans), and college research spaces (for Level III analysis by the USC) will be prepared by IPAR with assistance from Levels I and II.

5.2. All research space requests for allocation or reallocation are initiated through IPAR’s existing Space Allocation Request Portal. These entries can include space requests for new research programming or a change of existing use (to/from research). These requests typically are initiated by Level I or Level II administrators and provide necessary communication of space use in order to keep the inventory current and accurate. The USC must approve Level III requests. The key considerations for space managers at each level are included above (see Section 3).

5.3. Whenever a research space is deemed unproductive (falls below the 20th percentile of productivity at any space management Level (see Section 2.3) as a result of the five-year report, it is eligible to be reviewed for possible reallocation at that Level, and perhaps more often. Each Level must document and communicate expectations and measures for productivity to the next appropriate Level and IPAR.

5.4. Reallocation at Level I normally involves a chair’s reallocation between researchers within a department or unit. Reallocation at Level II normally involves a dean’s reallocation of research space between departments. Given its authority, the USC will hear and reconcile any (research space) disputes that are not negotiated successfully at Levels I and II. Level III reallocations by the USC must consider financial and non-financial measures of research productivity. Before any Level III allocation/reallocation is accomplished, a site visit and hearing of affected units will be conducted by the USC. Current research space occupant(s) will be provided with at least a six months notice of intended reallocation when possible, except as approved by the Chancellor or his or her designee because of exceptional circumstances meriting more immediate reallocation, including but not limited to abuse or abandonment of the space by the space occupant, threats to health or safety, or when change is mandated to ensure compliance with applicable law.

6. Research Space Assignment Record Keeping.

6.1. Space allocations for research are subject to review for private business use in accordance with applicable IRS regulations and IRS Publication 4077. The Department, Unit, office responsible for assignment must maintain records that state how the space is being used so that private business use can be reviewed and analyzed on an annual basis by Financial Services’ Office of Compliance Management.