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Discovery DiscoveryFebruary 2000
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Excess Equipment Available from Federal Program

by Annette Trinity-Stevens

Faculty working on federal projects who need equipment should consider obtaining items through the MSU Excess Property Office.

For the cost of shipping, USDA and National Science Foundation grant holders can acquire laboratory equipment and other items required for their projects.

Faculty with grants from other agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health, can also use the program but must pay 25 percent of the original cost of the item plus shipping.

"We're always an option. That's how we like to be considered," said Jill Barber, who, with Mark Reinholz, works to locate equipment for MSU faculty and staff.

Reinholz said he once used the program to locate a portable dental lab for a researcher.

"Sometimes the best items are items the [principal investigators] didn't even know they needed," he said.

"We can get the most obscure things," he continued. Night vision goggles, a boat for a project in Puerto Rico, and vehicles are examples. The NSF restricts its grant holders to scientific equipment, but other agencies have broader guidelines that allow acquisition of office furniture and related items, he said.

The MSU Excess Property Office maintains a wish list of campus requests. Reinholz routinely checks General Services Administration reports and federal web sites for the requested items as well as visits federal warehouses.

Excess property is available for up to 21 days, and items of interest are "frozen" for the grant holder for two weeks, making them unavailable to other agencies.

The program doesn't allow stockpiling of items that cannot be used in the near future or procurement of excess property for non-grant holders. However, faculty who do not have grants can work with faculty who do to get equipment, said Barber.

Web sites offer additional information and equipment lists. Try for a list of equipment available from the Department of Defense.

The MSU Excess Property Program also has a web site that describes how to use the program and lists available equipment. The site is updated weekly, and items are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

"You need to move quickly if you see something you want because that item may have already been there several days," Barber said. "Items can disappear quickly."




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