College of Liberal Arts

LabSpace Program

Geography Teaching Lab under construction 2012

The College of Liberal Arts is pleased to announce – LabSpace – a college-wide program to provide first-rate research facilities and technical support to Liberal Arts faculty members engaged in externally funded research.  

Labs will be awarded to researchers or departments through a competitive proposal process. Awards include specific terms of use and may include a set time period for space assignment. Researchers or departments will be able to request extensions for renewal at the end of the assignment period. A committee of Liberal Arts faculty members and administrators will review submitted proposals and review lab assignments every 4 years.

LabSpace Overview and General Guidelines

Contact LabSpace for more information.

Eligibility and Participating Departments

Faculty members with an active tenured or tenure-track primary appointment in participating departments in the College of Liberal Arts are eligible to submit LabSpace proposals. All Liberal Arts Departments and Centers are currently participating in LabSpace, except for the Department of Psychology and the Population Research Center (PRC). Psychology and PRC continue to manage lab space internally. Psychology faculty members should work with their department chair to arrange research space. PRC affiliates who plan to manage external grants through the PRC should contact the PRC director about space needs. Collaborative projects involving Psychology faculty members or PRC affiliates, along with faculty members from other Liberal Arts departments, may be eligible for LabSpace awards.

Email LabSpace if there is any question of eligibility.

Types of Labs

LabSpace manages three, distinct types of labs – Project Labs, Program Labs, and Start-up Labs.  Program and Start-up Labs assignments will be reviewed every 4 years.

Project Labs are for externally funded research projects conducted by Liberal Arts faculty members

A Project Lab award generally will have a well-defined scope and term that match the scope and term of the external grant award or gift. LabSpace temporarily assigns Project Labs directly to faculty members, not to home departments. Acting for the college, Liberal Arts Facilities Instructional Technology Services (LAITS) retains institutional "ownership" and management rights and responsibilities for Project Labs.

Program Labs are for departmental, programmatic research and instructional needs.

Examples may include: instructional lab-classrooms, labs for student research, facilities with specialized equipment shared by a department or area faculty, and labs dedicated to a strategic research area or method that are shared by a number of projects and researchers. The respective department chairs control access to assigned Program Labs. A request for a Program Lab must come from a department chair. Interested departments may contact LabSpace for more details.

Start-up Labs are awarded to individual faculty member as part of a recruitment offer or a counter-offer. 

Exact terms of the award are included in the Prior Approval Request (PAR) document. Lab managers will submit annual reports of activity and lab assignments will be reviewed every 4 years by the LabSpace Faculty Review Committee. Reviewers will presume that Startup Lab assignments will continue under the original terms of the offer as long as the faculty member is research active.

Available Facilities and Labs

Most LabSpace labs are located in the Liberal Arts Building (CLA), the Student Activity Center (SAC), and Belmont (BEL). Research space constitutes a large and important part of these buildings which have the infrastructure for wet labs, recording and interview rooms, computational labs, office-style (dry) labs, conference rooms, and offices. (NOTE: CLA, SAC, and BEL cannot support labs housing animals.) Please contact LabSpace to discuss possible space configurations before submitting your proposal.

If a requested lab will require construction of unfinished “shell” space, the proposal should identify funding sources for construction costs. Proposals may request LabSpace funding for construction of shell space, but available funding is limited and will be reserved for projects that have secured large, external research grants.

Space in other buildings around the college may be available through LabSpace. Contact LabSpace if you have a question about potential space in a building other than CLA, SAC, or BEL.

Review Criteria

The LabSpace Faculty Advisory Committee evaluation will include:

  • The design and methodology of proposed research projects
  • The expected productivity of the proposed labs
  • A detailed justification of the project’s need for space
  • The research and publication records of the Primary Investigator(s) and collaborators
  • Past grant support
  • Anticipated student involvement in research
  • Publication plans for the proposed research
  • Quantitative and qualitative evaluation metrics

A high priority will be placed on research with external funding. Researchers who do not currently have an external grant — but plan to apply for one — may be awarded a lab contingent on receiving the outside funding.

Award Terms

LabSpace proposals will be reviewed and evaluated by Liberal Arts faculty members who comprise the LabSpace Faculty Advisory Committee. The committee will make recommendations to Dean Randy Diehl and Assistant Dean Joe TenBarge. In consultation with Dean Diehl, TenBarge will determine award details and communicate award decisions to proposal authors.

Liberal Arts LabSpace Faculty Advisory Committee:

  • Kim Fromme, Department of Psychology
  • Richard P. Meier, Department of Linguistics
  • Samuel M. Wilson, Department of Anthropology
  • Debra J. Umberson, Department of Sociology
  • Kenneth R. Young, Department of Geography and the Environment

All award terms — lab assignment term, support levels, and funding — will be based on the committee’s recommendations and will be specified by the college at the time of the award.  Project Lab awards are contingent on the awardee's continued primary, tenured, or tenured-track appointment in the College of Liberal Arts.

Support for External Grant Administration

It is intended that post-award administration for external grants funding research conducted in LabSpace Project Labs will be managed by LabSpace staff, rather than the PI’s home department. Indirect costs returned will be divided between LabSpace and the PI’s home department. LabSpace will use its portion of indirect costs returned for grant administration and support of LabSpace labs. Contact LabSpace for information about the distribution of returned indirect costs.

LabSpace, Liberal Arts, and Liberal Arts ITS staff is available to assist with researching grant opportunities and preparing proposals. Contact LabSpace for information.

Liberal Arts ITS Support

LabSpace awardees may request a variety of assistance from Liberal Arts ITS after the receipt of their award. These services may include equipment purchasing and setup, facilities planning and design, computer and network management, server and database administration, and other administrative and technical activities. Liberal Art ITS will provide any reasonable assistance to help get labs up and running and allow investigators to focus on research.

Please contact LabSpace with any questions regarding the proposal, review, and award process.

Joseph C. TenBarge

Director & Assistant Dean

Adrienne Witzel

LabSpace Program Officer


CoLA Grants Services

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