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Workgroup members: Jan Peychl, Hella Hartmann, Stefanie Weidtkamp-Peters, Bernd Märtens

Financial and legal framework

Workgroup 2 is currently working on standardising cost models for the calculation of user fees. Institutional differences, existing cost models, maintenance and warranties will be taken into account. Please be aware that these financial topics are highly sensitive and shared information ought to remain internal.

Cost Models Currently in Place

Composition of user fees
Composition of user fees (taken from 2011 German BioImaging survey)
Jan suggested collecting cost models that we are currently using in our institutions.
We can use this data to identify differences and to discuss problems that may be contained within the current models.
The 2011 German BioImaging survey contained some relevant information.

Center for Membrane Proteomics Frankfurt (Bernd)

  • Recording of accumulated annual costs per instrument for maintenance, repair & upgrades (A)
  • Recording of annual usage hours per instrument (B)
  • Estimation of annual staff costs per instrument (C)
Two prices can be calculated with ((A+C)/B) or without (A/B) the staff cost.
The reliability of results is greatly improved by the calculation of an average user fee over a long history of data available since 2002.


  • Recording of total costs of LMF
  • Cost assignment to a special instrument if possible otherwise assignment as "general"
  • Instruments can be categorised into instrument groups (ApoTome, WF (wide field), Leica Confocal, Zeiss Confocal, Live Cell, IP (image processing)
  • Costs categorised based on equipment "part" and the "type" of cost
  • so far we have the following categories:
    • 3 types: invest, service, running cost
    • 12 parts: ccd, consumables, filter, hardware, lamp, laser, lens, PC, reorganization, service contract, software, travel
  • For example:
instrument instrument group part kind
LSM 510 Zeiss LSM lens service
LSM 700 Zeiss LSM hardware invest
LSM 780 Zeiss LSM lamp running cost
SP5 upr. Leica LSM reorganization running cost
SP5 MP Leica LSM software running cost
  • taken together I find the following useful combinations (more are possible):
    • invest may be: ccd, filter, hardware, laser, lens, PC, software
    • service may be: service contract, lens (repair), ccd (repair), filter (exchange), hardware (repair), laser
    • running cost are: consumables, hardware (small stuff like jacks, RAM, cables, adapter), lamp, PC (e.g. facility desktops), reorganization (e.g. movements), software (plugins, update), travel
The costs not assigned to a specific instrument ("general") are accumulated and divided by the total number of usage hours/year - this gives a basic charge to be taken into account for each instrument. The costs assigned to a specific instrument are accumulated and divided by the usage hours of this instrument. This gives the specific charge for the instrument. The "back projected" theoretical price is the sum of the basic charge plus the specific charge for each instrument. The weighted average (with usage hours) of these prices over several years stabilize and give an idea for extrapolation to the future.
The costs for facility rooms, electricity, overhead to be paid to the university, costs to purchase teaching material etc. are not included yet. No instrument recharge at the moment.

Development of a general cost model


  1. The calculation should be as easy and transparent as possible.
  2. The running costs of a facility should be covered by the user fees. Does this include costs for facility stuff?
  3. The calculation should include pricing for internal/external user. Let us discuss about an intermediate step like "collaborator price".

Problems to be solved

Let us collect general questions to be solved with our joint cost model here:

  1. How to take cost for facility staff into account - only for external user?
  2. Shall the instruments be recharged by the usage price?
  3. Shall teaching expenses be recharged?
  4. How to stabilize prices over years - using a moving average?

Collecting criteria for the joint cost model