University space allocated in support of research and creative activities will be managed consistent with the University’s Space Management Policy in alignment with recommendations and priorities listed below. Thoughtfully organized and assigned, research space will help unite faculty, students, and staff in synergistic environments which optimize collaborations, while providing an optimal mix of lab, studio, office, and core equipment spaces. Proper balance of these spaces is essential in fulfilling the diverse and critical needs of Montana’s land grant university mission of research, education, outreach, and service. It is recognized that quality research space is necessary to recruit, retain, and develop MSU’s faculty, staff, and students to their fullest potential. It is also recognized that inefficient use of research space limits our ability to invest financial resources in research. The University thus must be able to assign, or re-assign, an appropriate quantity and quality of space based upon current usage, greatest need, productivity, and strategic priorities.


  1. Research space encompasses all space that is primarily intended and used for conducting research and creative activities including space designated for:
    1. Specific research or creative activities projects;
    2. Training of individuals in research or creative activities techniques;
    3. Functions that support research or creative activities such as animal care and use or irradiation; and
    4. Spaces that directly serve one or more research or creative activities labs as an extension of the activities in those labs.
  2. The university Space Management Committee (SMC) delegates to Vice President for Research and Economic Development and Graduate Education (VPREDGE), in conjunction with the Research Space Committee (RSC), the responsibility to manage the inventory of university research space allocated in support of research and creative activities. Allocations will be consistent with university policy and the principles set forth by the SMC and internal guidelines, principles and processes developed by VPREDGE, in conjunction with the RSC. Assignments of research space will be reviewed by VPREDGE and the RSC, in conjunction with the SMC and presented to the President for final approval.
  3. VPREDGE will convene and chair a RSC consisting of the Director of Sponsored Programs, a representative from the Office of Research Compliance, two (2) faculty members conducting active research at the university or who have done so within the last three (3) years, and the managing director of the Office of Space Planning and Management.
  4. It is incumbent upon the RSC in conjunction with VPREDGE, to prioritize the assignment of research space in the best interests of MSU research and creative activities consistent with the university Space Management Policy and the research space priorities listed in Section C below.
  5. In order to meet the need of research and creative activities, VPREDGE, with the advice of RSC is authorized to lease or rent space from non-university land owners/lessors, in accordance with university policy governing Real Property Leases.
  6. All issues, conflicts, and appeals regarding research space will be presented to the VPREDGE and RSC. Should the requesting party still be aggrieved they may appeal the RSC/VPREDGE decision to the SMC.
  7. Whenever possible, space will be assigned with consideration for program proximity, adjacency, continuity, interdisciplinary research collaborations, and the associated costs.

Priority Hierarchy

  1. High-impact and mission-oriented research and creative activity.
  2. Research and creative activities supported by external funding (non-University sources).
  3. Assistant Professors or faculty who have current external funding or who have had external funding during the previous three-year period.
  4. Faculty who have a productive research program and have optimally utilized assigned research space during the previous three-year period.
  5. Research and creative activities involving doctoral students.
  6. Research and creative activities involving postdoctoral trainees, professional degree students, master degree students, visiting scientists, or other research staff.
  7. Research and creative activities involving undergraduate students.
  8. Research and creative activities at the interface of classroom teaching.
  9. The VPREDGE in conjunction with the RSC may develop other metrics which are utilized for prioritizing research space allocation and identifying their priority within this hierarchy.


  1. The Research Space Committee will:
    • Advise VPREDGE regarding research space issues.
    • Review and make recommendations regarding research space requirements/allocations.
    • Review the research space inventory and allocations.
    • Other duties as assigned by VPREDGE.
  2. VPREDGE will report the results of the research space inventory and space allocations to the university SMC annually.
  3. VPREDGE will maintain an overall inventory of space allocated by the university in support of research and creative activities. VPREDGE, with the advice of RSC, will assign, manage, and periodically review all such research space assignments.
  4. Research space requirements/allocations will be brought before VPREDGE and the Research Space Committee.
  5. Final allocation of space can be appealed by impacted parties and will be reviewed by the SMC, with consideration of recommendations made by VPREDGE, and RSC.