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Durham University

Research and Innovation Services

Research Equipment Sharing Policy

Version: 1.0

Approval date: 14th March 2017

Effective from: 1st May 2017

Approved by: Senate

Owner: Research & Innovation Services

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of the policy

1.0 Purpose

In order to facilitate collaboration and to ensure the effective utilisation of its research assets, the University requires that its staff look for opportunities to share equipment (including at other institutions) before purchasing new items. This is in line with the direction of travel within the sector and requirements of funding bodies, specifically UK Research Councils.

2.0 Scope

This policy applies to all research equipment with a value of £10,000 or greater purchased under the auspices of the University.

3.0 Equipment Sharing

All equipment should be made available for sharing, unless there are clear reasons why this is not possible. Exceptions include where:

a) The equipment is fully utilised;

b) Cost and or time involved in setting up the equipment is prohibitive;

c) Potential users are not suitably qualified;

d) Expertise required to operate the equipment is not currently available;

e) Equipment is governed by a research grant, contract or terms that restricts use;

f) The equipment is deemed to be sensitive or confidential, or is housed in an area of restricted access.

3.1. RE@D Database

To facilitate sharing, all purchased equipment over the value of £10,000 must be added to the RE@D database, and lower value items should be added where appropriate.

3.1.1. Updating the database

Information in the database must be kept up to date. When equipment is disposed of, sold or otherwise leaves the ownership of the University, the appropriate form must be completed to notify the Finance department of disposal or movement of capital assets (or notified direct to Research & Innovation Services in the case of lower value items in the database).

3.2. Sharing equipment internally

Equipment hire should be free of charge to internal users; however they should be prepared to contribute to the costs of consumables, maintenance, technician and set-up costs. Where they are unable to do so, waiver of the contribution should be signed off by the relevant Head of Department.

There are exceptions where the equipment is a Major Research Facility or the activity is externally funded. In these cases hire costs can and should be charged to assist with cost recovery where permitted by the funder terms and conditions.

3.3. Sharing equipment externally

When equipment is being shared with an external party, prior to such usage commencing:

  • a risk assessment must be carried out, and ethical / governance issues considered;
  • arrangements must be made for any requisite training for users of the equipment;
  • appropriate charges for equipment use must be determined and;
  • appropriate contracts / agreements must be put in place.

4.0 Requesting Equipment

Where equipment requests are included in research grant applications, funder guidelines must be adhered to. Options for sharing equipment (internally and externally) should be considered prior to purchase of any new equipment. The applicant must have checked the RE@D equipment and databases for suitable items before any application is submitted.

Where the University is required to make a contribution to the cost of equipment, a business justification must be prepared and approved in line with the ‘Pricing for Externally Funded Projects Policy’.

5.0 Acknowledgement

Durham University researchers should acknowledge the contribution of others in publications. This extends to the use of equipment at other sites.

External users of Durham’s equipment should also formally acknowledge the University, and notify the Department. Standard acknowledgement wording is as follows:

“The authors acknowledge the use of [insert equipment name, RE@D identifier and funder ref (if appropriate)] equipment from Durham University and the help of [Insert name or Research Group] in this research.”

Funder guidelines on acknowledgement or reporting of sharing of equipment must be followed.