Facility Governance

Read the most recent Advisory Services report (BU Login required)

Cost Analysis & Rate Setting for Research Facilities

While fiscal administration at the ASC is largely shaped by federal regulation, the university looks for every opportunity to mitigate impacts to the costs borne by researchers. This approach can be seen most readily in the pricing of special services; before FY2018, the cost to PIs had not changed for about a decade and was well below the average at other Boston-area animal facilities.

Cost accounting at the ASC is performed through a collaboration with the Service Center Administration unit of Post Award Financial Operations, which is located within the Office of the Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer & Treasurer. It is done using a method that examines all inputs that go into the care of an animal and maintenance of the facilities by species and then distributes that cost based on the number of specific animals by species being housed.

These inputs cover both fixed and variable costs. Fixed costs include: facilities operations and maintenance (O&M), which amounted to about $3 million for the FY2018 rate calculation; and personnel costs, including salary and fringe benefits, which make up about half of the fixed costs. Variable costs include items like food and bedding.

Because this method distributes the costs of operating the facilities by the number of animals being housed, the animal census carries significant weight. There has been a steady reduction in the number of animals being housed at ASC since FY2016, which has caused an increase in per animal costs— most of the fixed costs in operating and maintaining the facilities do not decrease, and animal care and use personnel needs are adjusted.

A helpful analogy to consider in understanding this relationship is in the management of hotels. While the number of guests staying in a hotel may fluctuate based on demand, the costs of keeping the hotel open do not change. Rooms must still be heated, common spaces must still be lit, and personnel must still be paid to ensure the smooth operation of the building.

The university’s Animal Science Center currently employs approximately 70 people—from veterinarians to cage washers—in several locations across the university housing about a dozen species. Rates at BU are set annually; they are determined during the last third of the fiscal year (from February to May) and announced in the summer, with new rates effective at the beginning of the fiscal year on Sept. 1.


Service Center Administration Formula

Procedural vs. Housing Space

Foundation and Other Grants Receiving University Subsidy

Comparisons with Other Animal Facilities

Back to Animal Care & Use

Information For...

Back to Top