BIBS Core Facility Fund (BCFF)
Shared core research facilities can provide widespread benefits for the research enterprise at universities by giving scientists access to equipment and technologies that they could not support individually in their own labs. As part of Brown’s commitment to brain science, Provost Schlissel has committed $1M to establish the BCFF in order to ensure that brain scientists will have access to shared facilities with essential state-of-the-art equipment. The BCFF will become available after June 1, 2012, with the expectation that further support of $1M/year will continue for two additional years. Disbursement of these funds will be managed by the Brown Institute for Brain Science (BIBS), in collaboration with the OVPR. This document describes the process for requesting support. We encourage thoughtful, innovative proposals for facilities that can measurably enhance the quality and quantity of research in the BIBS community of scientists.
Purpose – This program is designed to provide major, new equipment for core facilities used by brain scientists. The goal is to ensure that these scientists have access to the cutting-edge equipment that they need to keep their research programs competitive nationally and internationally. This could include the purchase of new equipment for existing cores in order to replace or upgrade particular items or to expand the capacity of cores facing growing demands. Funds could also be used to create new core facilities, if sufficient needs can be demonstrated. However, it is expected that any new cores should be demonstrably transformational in character and exceptionally well justified both scientifically and financially. Requests to duplicate core facilities that are available elsewhere at Brown or its affiliated hospitals are unlikely to be approved unless the justification is especially compelling.
Eligible Applicants – The directors of existing core facilities that support brain scientists and the mission of BIBS may apply to the BCFF for new equipment for those facilities. These cores must be listed on the “Shared Resource Facilities” webpage of the Division of Biology and Medicine (http://biomed.brown.edu/research/facilities), have a user fee structure and have multiple active users who are brain scientists and members of BIBS. In addition, any faculty member who is part of BIBS may apply for equipment to establish a new and unique multi-user core facility that will benefit multiple members of the brain science community.
Eligible Expenses – It is expected that awards from the BCFF will almost exclusively go to the purchase and installation of major equipment, possibly including necessary, minor renovations. Costs for major or cascading renovations (e.g. renovations to create a lab or office that has to be moved to accommodate the new equipment) will not be considered eligible expenses, except under extraordinary conditions. Training costs required to operate the new equipment are also allowable for 1-2 people, if well justified. In cases where extramural support is being sought for shared equipment, requests can be made to the BCFF for matching funds.
The BCFF cannot be used for supplies or general operating costs for existing cores nor is it designed to pay salaries. However, in some cases costs for new personnel may be allowed for limited periods in cases where it can be demonstrated that dedicated technical support will be required to ensure that new equipment can be brought into operation quickly and used effectively. The maximum allowed will be 0.5 FTE (up to $37,000, including fringe benefits) per application for year one and 0.25 FTE (up to $18,500, including fringe benefits) for year two. No personnel support will be allowed after year two.
Budgetary Limit – It is expected that very few awards will be made in any single year. The maximum allowed for a single award is $1M, which is the total available. Multiyear grants are not possible, although funds may be spent across two years.
Application Process – An application to the BCFF must include the following:
1. Justification - Justify the equipment to be purchased. Explain:
a. what will be purchased and what it will cost;
b. why it is needed;
c. which brain scientists will use it;
d. where the equipment will be located;
e. who will be responsible for its operation;
f. what training will be required, who will be trained and what it will cost;
g. why the particular manufacturer/supplier was selected;
h. what renovations will be required and how they will be financed.
i. If salary is being requested, explain why a specialized, dedicated technician is required.
Limit – 5 pages
2. Metrics for Success - Provide a set of metrics by which to measure the impact of the award and its successful implementation over a 3 year period.
3. Quotation – Provide a quotation documenting the cost of the equipment and any specialized training. It is important to engage purchasing early in this process, as they can assist in obtaining multiple quotes. We strongly encourage you to make use of their expertise in dealing with vendors.
4. Current use – When existing equipment is being replaced or upgraded, or when a facility is being expanded, document use, user fees and operations costs over the past 12 months. Include copies of sign-up/usage logs and financial summary statements. Indicate what proportion of users are members of BIBS and/or what proportion of user time has been devoted to brain science research.
5. Business Plan – Provide a business plan for funding the operations of the new equipment for 3 years. The business plan must include a user fee structure that is in accordance with University and federal guidelines. If personnel support has been requested, explain how the salary for that individual will be paid beyond what has been requested from the BCFF, including years 2-3. If new space and/or renovations will be required, include a letter from the appropriate Brown administrative entity releasing the space and confirming a commitment to pay for renovation costs. Please consult with Jim Patti, Associate Dean for Financing and Planning in the Division of Biology and Medicine for assistance.
Application Deadline – A preliminary, informational meeting for potential applicants will be held at 4:00PM on June 14 (2 Stimson). Final applications will be due September 1, 2012.
Evaluation Criteria – Applications will be ranked based on the overall benefit of the new equipment for the brain science community over the subsequent 3 years, including:
- How many brain scientists will use the equipment and how important will it be to their overall research programs?
- Will the new equipment provide research capabilities that are not available elsewhere at Brown or its affiliated hospitals?
- Will this equipment increase researchers’ competitiveness for extramural support?
- Has space been identified?
- If renovations are required, have the plans and financing been arranged?
- Is the business plan well constructed and feasible?
Review Process – Applications will be reviewed by a committee appointed by the BIBS Executive Committee. Applications will be ranked based upon the evaluation criteria listed above and the BIBS Executive Committee will make the final award decisions.