Research Facilities / Equipment Use by Non-UM Affiliates

The purpose of these guidelines are to address controlled access to University laboratories and the consistent application of rules and regulations for all non-affiliated users.  Sales & Service activities performed by UM personnel are not impacted by these guidelines.

References:  UM Facility Use and Access Policy, and Montana Board of Regents Policies 1008:  Physical Facilities and 1909:  Competition with the Private Sector

Use by Faculty, Staff, and Students

Faculty, enrolled students under the supervision of faculty, and other employees of University of Montana who are acting within the course and scope of their employment, may be assigned to use research facilities/equipment on the University of Montana campus upon receiving appropriate approval from the Department Head, Dean or direct supervisor.

Use by Non-affiliated Groups

Non-affiliated groups may use research facilities/equipment only if the use will not disrupt regular academic, laboratory or research programs of the University; the facility/equipment is not needed by University faculty, students or other employees at the time requested.  Non-affiliated persons or groups performing research in a UM facility or with the use of UM equipment by faculty, staff or students are subject to UM policies and procedures, including the requirement that non-affiliated persons or groups must pay an external user fee to use University research facilities / equipment.

Use by Research Collaborators

Research collaborators may use research facilities of the University to work on collaborative projects. Research is collaborative if the University and industrial researchers have real and substantial intellectual involvement in joint planning and conduct of experiments, observations, or the like. Research collaborators will be charged the same fee as UM faculty are charged for the use of facilities, equipment or personnel. It is not considered collaborative research if the University researcher provides little more than access to University-based equipment or facilities. Also, it is not collaborative research if the University researcher is acting as a private consultant to the company.


  1. Research facilities include laboratories and other facilities used for the conduct of creative activities/research, but do not include the Library or any regular classrooms.
  2. Research equipment includes highly specialized or complex equipment such as NMR, Mass Spec Unit, Computer main frame, etc.
  3. Non-affiliated persons or groups - For purposes of this policy, any person or group performing research activities in UM research facilities / equipment, who is not employed or engaged by the University of Montana to perform such research activities, is a non-affiliated person or group. Such research activities will be considered external and charged a user fee regardless of the for-profit or non-profit nature of the activity, person, or group.



Non-affiliated groups may use research facilities/equipment only if the use will not disrupt regular academic, laboratory or research programs of the University, and the facility/equipment is not needed by University affiliated faculty, students or other employees at the time requested.

  1. Non-University groups may apply to use the facilities/equipment by submitting a written request to the Department Head, Director, or VP office responsible for the facilities/equipment.
  2. The requester must specify if any hazardous materials, controlled substances, animals or genetically altered materials will be used. If so, the requester must also submit an acceptable plan for the control of the materials and compliance with state and federal law before the university will approve the Research Facilities/Equipment Use Agreement. (See sample agreement.) The requester must also receive approval from institutional oversight committees before commencement of work.
  3. The requester must agree to:
    1. Maintain general liability insurance to cover the user's activities on campus in an amount no less than One Million Dollars ($1,000,000) unless a lesser amount of insurance is approved by UM Legal Counsel;
    2. Indemnify and hold the University harmless for any damages arising from the user's activities conducted in University facilities; and
    3. Reimburse the University for any damages, clean-up or hazardous waste related expenses, including disposal, shipping, damages, and/or penalties, caused by or imposed as a result of user's use of University's facilities/equipment.
  4. The Department Chair will recommend approval/disapproval to the Dean and Vice President for Research and Creative Scholarship (VPRCS) or his/her designee. If approval is granted by the Dean and Vice President, the parties will enter into an appropriate Research Facilities/Equipment Use Agreement. This sample agreement is most appropriate for long term use. It may be appropriate to modify the agreement for short term use of facilities or equipment. Modifications may be made with the approval of Legal Counsel or the VPRCS or his/her designee.
  5. An approved user must schedule use through the appropriate individual responsible for the facility and the Department Head.
  6. The University will not subsidize any individual or business with state funds, nor will it allow a user to gain an unfair competitive advantage over other businesses. The fees charged for use will be assessed by the Department Head in consultation with a representative from the VPRCS and will depend on the type of facilities or equipment used. Fees charged will be comparable to the prevailing market rates for space, personnel, supplies, services and equipment use.
  7. Fees will be paid into a Designated account under the Vice President of Operations and Finance and disbursed in consultation with the VPRCS.
  8. Any misrepresentations contained in the request or agreement, use of the facilities for purposes other than those stated, or failure to comply with the University policies and procedures or the Facility Use agreement, may be grounds for immediate cancellation of the agreement.
  9. Any non-affiliated user wishing to make use of UM Animal Laboratory Resources for animal research must  abide by all UM policies and federal regulations governing such use as identified on the UM Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) website.