User Costs

Sample Preparation Equipment
MachineUnit of useFee
Wohlwend High Pressure FreezePer useNo cost except for liquid nitrogen
Leica AFS-2 Freeze Substitution DevicePer dayNo cost except for liquid nitrogen
FEI VitrobotPer use$50.00
EMS manual plunge freezerPer use$20.00
UltramicrotomesPer useNo cost
Sputter coater, Critical point dryer, carbon evaporator, glow discharge devices, plasma cleaner, etc.Per useNo cost

We are attempting to encourage use of the Wohlwend high pressure freezer and the Leica AFS-2 freeze substitution machine by not charging fees for the first few years of their operation. Both instruments do require significant amounts of liquid nitrogen and those costs will be passed on to users. We strongly urge users to consider working with these devices at times when other people would be able to share the liquid nitrogen costs. Be aware that the largest use of liquid nitrogen is initially cooling the machines to their operating temperatures and that once cooled, both machines will stay cold and useful with minimal expenditure of additional liquid nitrogen for many hours/days. The EMC will play a major organizational role in such scheduling if so requested by our users. In addition, the EMC intends to make a supply of the most commonly used reagents for freeze-substitution and embedding available to users at our costs for their purchase and preparation.

Fee-for-service work

The staff of the EMC can do a limited amount of "fee-for-service" work, meaning that the staff does all of the work involved in preparing samples for microscopy, the actual imaging and/or any further analysis. Fees for this work are based on an hourly fee for time the staff spends plus all the standard fees for the use of any equipment.  Staff time is charged regardless of whether staff are included as authors on resulting publications.

Fee-For-Service Costs
Staff timeRate
Prime hours$50 per hour
Non-prime hours$75 per hour

Such projects will need to be discussed in detail with the staff before work begins. The procedure for starting any new project with the EMC is described elsewhere.

Fee-for-service work is normally performed during what was referred to above as "prime time hours" (effectively 9 am to 5 pm, Monday thru Friday) and is billed at those standard rates regardless of when the actual work is done. Standard billing will also automatically include the new rates for long blocks of time described above. PI's may request that instruments be used during non-prime hours and will be billed appropriately, but in such situations, staff time will be billed at 1.5x the prime hourly rate.

Fee-for-service use of the EMC is best for the sort of work that will not be repeated frequently enough to justify training someone completely new to the equipment. However, the EMC staff strongly urges repeat users of the facility to invest in the training necessary to operate on a fee-for-use basis. Since we would like to encourage people to do as much of the actual work as possible, training new users in equipment operation will always involve only the cost of the instrument used (i.e., training does not add the additional cost of staff time). Training for the various pieces of equipment is described in more detail here.

When the staff performs fee-for-service work, we expect to be in very close contact with the people who have requested the work. When this fee-for-service work is initiated by students, post-docs or other research personnel, we also expect to be in contact with their faculty advisers. At a minimum, the EMC staff will provide a report either whenever there is something new to report or bi-weekly (whichever comes first). Users can also negotiate additional details of such communication during initial discussions of a project. This might include reports for each imaging session, weekly instead of bi-weekly progress reports, reports after agreed-upon benchmarks have been reached or any combination of these things. We strongly want to avoid situations where the amount of work and the total costs of fee-for-service work are unexpected, and feel that the best way to avoid this is through communication.

Note: The EMC will provide up to eight hours of fee-for-service work on new projects at no cost other than equipment fees. This is to encourage people to start new projects and to enable them to assess feasibility and likely costs of the project.

All the equipment in the EMC can be used on a "fee-for-use" basis, meaning that once people are trained to use specific pieces of equipment, there is a fee for the use of that equipment based either on the amount of instrument time reserved or (for some equipment) per use. Our fee-for-use plan is the most cost-effective way to use EMC resources.

Most instrument use in the evenings (usually 6 pm until 8 am the following morning) and on weekends (usually 6 pm Friday until 8 am Monday) is discounted by 12.5%. There are also now higher discounts when users reserve any of the microscopes for long blocks of time. These discounts start at "more than 4 hours" and are increased further after 8 hours and again after 12 hours.

The fee structure shown above is evaluated at the end of each fiscal year. Adjustments to these fees may be made at that time. We will solicit user input on proposed fee changes and also attempt to give users sufficient warning about fee increases that are the result of these evaluations.

Non-academic users

As noted above, the EMC facilities are also open to use by any commercial interests, provided this does not take time away from our academic users. Potential commercial users should contact the staff about a project's feasibility, time estimates and approximate fees. Details of any agreement between the EMC and any commercial interests can be negotiated on a per project basis, bearing in mind that a general estimate is that commercial users will be charged at 3x the posted equipment rates and 2x the posted staff rate.

The rules

A list of rules and practices regarding the fees described here, use of EMC equipment and other facility policies is located here. The most important rule is that time scheduled on the electron microscopes will be charged to users, even in cases where the instrument is not actually used. In the situation where an instrument is scheduled but not used at all, the scheduled user will be billed at 50% of the hourly rate. The full hourly rate will be charged for the entire scheduled time if any amount of that time is actually used.

NOTE 2: It is always possible to cancel a scheduled session on the instruments, but such cancellations must be done at least 24 hours before the scheduled start time to avoid billing.

NOTE 3: Users can also avoid being billed for un-used microscope time by finding someone who will use the instrument during the time the user cannot. Please explain these situations to the EMC staff to be certain that billing is done correctly.

NOTE 4: There will obviously be circumstances where instruments stop working during a user's session. In such cases, users will only be billed for the time not affected by instrument issues. This also applies to cases where a previous user has left an instrument in a state where it does not perform properly.

Additional costs

For the most part, we expect that users will provide their own "consumables" such as chemicals for sample preparation, transmission electron microscope (TEM) grids and grid boxes, scanning electron mircorscope (SEM) stubs, etc. The EMC can provide limited materials when starting a project (where the costs of these items will be recouped from users at a later time). The staff can provide examples of most consumables and make suggestions for where many items can be obtained, and can even become involved in a bulk purchase for multiple users in situations where large orders create significant cost savings. The EMC does not generally charge for things like blotting paper for the Vitrobot and most negative stains for TEM, but heavy use of such items may result in changes in this policy. We also do not charge for storage of frozen samples or for routine use of liquid nitrogen during imaging or plunge-freezing.

Although the costs of an ongoing project must be borne by the individual users, the EMC is currently exploring the possibility of making most commonly used EM supplies and consumables available to users essentially at our cost. Contact the staff if you have questions about this policy.

Finally, we will not charge for staff time spent in any sort of consultation or EMC project development.

Recognition of EMC and personnel

We expect to see acknowledgement of the facility and its personnel in all papers and public presentations that make use of any sort of data obtained using the EMC. In situations where the staff generates images or any other data that are included in publications and/or presentations, these efforts should be acknowledged using staff member's names, their EMC affiliation and details of their effort. In addition, we expect that any sort of intellectual contribution to a project by members of the staff will be acknowledged with co-authorship. Finally, we ask that users of the facility discuss any work done by the staff before inclusion in any sort of publication or presentation.