In UT’s Research Management System (RMS), under “University Requirements” on the second page of the Proposal Review Form (PRF) form, the last question asks if the PI has received approval for any additional space, facilities, or renovations:

RMS facility check

Here it is very important to thoroughly consider the facility resources that your proposed research may need. This applies to all types of research grants, not just to major instrumentation solicitations (e.g., NSF Major Research Instrumentation). For example, do you need dedicated greenhouse space? Or will you need to limit access to a facility? That piece of equipment being purchased in your proposal – does it require a dedicated chilled water line or an unusual power setup? These are just a few examples of facility issues that should be considered, discussed, and approved prior to proposal submission. The last thing that you want is to receive an award only to find out that the environmental chamber (or other piece of equipment) in your budget will require extensive facility modifications. This could significantly impact your project timeline as the necessary consultations and approvals are secured and the fiscal responsibilities sorted out.

Therefore, if your proposed research project will require access to additional space, and/or renovations (e.g., changing space configurations) or modifications (e.g., electrical, ventilation, or plumbing accommodations) to an existing facility to house equipment and complete proposed experiments, be aware that these infrastructure changes are not allowable direct costs on most proposal applications. Therefore, depending on the extent of the required infrastructure changes, departmental, college, and/or university consultations and approvals may be required. It is the responsibility of the PI to secure the necessary approval(s) prior to proposal submission.

  • The PI should begin by discussing the facility requirements with the department chair. In some instances, nominal issues like access privileges to core facilities can be handled at the departmental/ORU level. The PI should retain documentation of these discussions.
  • For broader scopes that involve significant facility changes, the department chair should route the request (at least two weeks prior to proposal submission) to the CNS Associate Dean for Research and Facilities (ADR, Dean Appling). There, the request will be evaluated for feasibility, time requirements, and costs. A memo will be returned to the department chair and PI that provides estimates of these factors.
  • Communication with the CNS ADR provides the visibility to accurately forecast facility resource demands and the ability to adjust and prioritize budget requests as necessary.