Instrument Upgrades and New Acquisitions
Per federal regulations, NDIIF user rates can not include a charge for depreciation. Therefore, instrument upgrades and new acquisitions must be funded by other sources such as grant applications. The NDIIF can facilitate this writing sections of the proposal that deal with previous instrument user history, previous instrument performance, new instrument cost, staff qualifications, and business management of the new instrument. We recommend that sections pertaining to research projects be assembled by a committee of interested principal investigators. This committee should demonstrate that a proposed new instrument is suitable for housing within the NDIIF. The NDIIF guiding principle is that three or more principal investigators must clearly state that they have the interest and combined funding capability to cover at least half of the ongoing instrument costs (i.e., annual service contract plus an appropriate amount of staff time for maintenance and administration). In some cases, a proposed instrument may be judged unsuitable for the NDIIF because it does not have the shared user base to support a sustainable business model. It is also possible that a current instrument in the NDIIF is removed after a period of time (after appropriate consultation with users) because it is not economically sustainable. The process of instrument acquisition and upgrade is always ongoing and it is greatly helped by an active and constructive dialogue between interested users and the NDIIF staff and steering committee.