Research Space Guidelines

The Research Space Guidelines, developed jointly by the Office of the Provost and Office of the Vice President for Research, establish a common, institutional philosophy and guiding principles to support efficient and productive use of all research space on the Ann Arbor campus. The guidelines were designed to provide institutional guidance for many research space decisions and to provide faculty and staff with a better understanding of the rationale that goes into these decisions.


Do these guidelines apply to every school and college in the University?

The Research Space Guidelines apply to General Fund academic and administrative units on the Ann Arbor campus.

Why do we need campus-wide research space guidelines?

As stewards of the University’s physical resources, we need to ensure that our research space is used in the most efficient and advantageous way to best support the University’s academic and research missions. These guidelines are meant to set out the University’s underlying principles regarding space utilization and to provide a consistent and transparent approach to overall space planning and assignments.

How are the research space guidelines to be used?

As a large research university, the need for research space varies widely between academic disciplines and units. The Research Space Guidelines provide the over-arching, institutional philosophy and a common thread on how research space is to be managed.

Can my school, college, or administrative unit have its own set of research space policies or guidelines?

Yes, all schools, colleges, and administrative units are strongly encouraged to have space guidelines and planning processes that reflect the specific needs of their disciplines or unit; however, unit-level research space policies or guidelines should fundamentally align with the campus-wide Research Space Guidelines.

I only conduct research in my office. I do not have a dedicated research lab, per se. Do the research space guidelines apply to me?

The guidelines were designed to be applied campus-wide. Specific portions of the guidelines apply to all types of research space assignments, such as many of the guiding principles and the information on roles and responsibilities, while other items in the guidelines apply to dedicated research labs.

The guidelines indicate that research space can be reassigned at the discretion of my department, school or college. In what situations would research space be reassigned?

Research space is an institutional resource that is managed by departments, schools and colleges, based on the programmatic needs and priorities of that unit. Reassignment of space may take place for a number of reasons (e.g. a significantly reduced level of research activity by the current occupants, a need to collocate synergistic research activities within the unit, the need to relocate research activities to permit renovation, or the need to provide adequate space for newly hired faculty). However, significant reallocation of space should take place as part of a unit’s ongoing space planning and management activity. All individuals involved efforts should make an effort to mitigate any negative impacts the reallocation may produce.

How will the research space productivity metrics be used?

The research space productivity metrics provide a common, quantitative method for measuring research space usage and cost recovery. Departments, schools, and colleges are encouraged to consider a wide range of both quantitative and qualitative factors that are appropriate for their units when evaluating the use of research space. Examples of important qualitative factors include the nature and impact of the research being conducted in the space, how it fits into the overall programmatic needs and priorities of the unit, if how the research supports the academic mission of the unit.

Who provided input, reviewed and approved these guidelines?

The guidelines were developed with input and approval from:

  • Academic Human Resources
  • Academic Program Group (APG) Budget Subcommittee
  • Budget administrators from various academic units
  • Office of Institutional Equity
  • Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
  • Office of the Vice President and General Counsel
  • Office of the Vice President for Research
  • Research Associate Deans (RAD) Group
  • Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs (SACUA) Research Policies Committee
  • Space Planning & Utilization Steering Committee

Who do I talk to if I have questions about my space assignment?

In most cases, questions regarding space allocation should be directed toward your department chair/head or your unit director.

Who do I talk to if I have questions about the Research Space Guidelines?

Questions about the Research Space Guidelines may be directed to [email protected].

For More Information

For more information on the Research Space Guidelines or Space Planning & Utilization within the Provost’s Office, contact [email protected].