The Committee on Cost of and Payment for Animal Research used a variety of sources of information in writing this report: the conclusions, but not the underlying data, of a survey conducted by The Ohio State University Office of Research, for the Committee for Institutional Cooperation (CIC study, Appendix B); the 1999 Animal Resources Survey (1999 ARS), conducted by the Yale University School of Medicine's Section of Comparative Medicine; published data; and the collective experience of the committee members. The report covers cost of personnel, laboratory animal management, veterinary medical care, equipment and facility design, compliance with regulations, and future directions in research that uses animals.
Of 130 institutions surveyed, 63 responded to the 1999 ARS. To focus on traditional laboratory animal medicine programs, all institutions with an average daily mouse census of 1,000 or more were selected for further analysis. That resulted in 53 institutions that were then grouped by size of mouse holdings: group 1, 1,000-9,999; group 2, 10,000-29,999; and group 3, 30,000 or more.
Personnel represent the largest cost item in the total costs of an animal research facility (ARF), accounting for 50-65% of the total costs. Of the institutions responding to the 1999 ARS 54 had a veterinarian as a director of the animal care program. If institutions with an average daily mouse census of over 1,000 were focused on, there was no difference in mean director full-time equivalents (FTEs) by group size. Furthermore, the institutions in each of the three groups had an average of nearly 1 FTE associate or assistant director and roughly 0.9 FTE business manager. That indicates that directorship overhead was nearly the same regardless of size of institution. Thus, directorship costs per mouse are higher in smaller institutions. Total managerial staff ranged from a mean of 4.0 in group 1 to 5.4 in group 3, again resulting in higher costs per mouse in the smaller group. Total clerical FTEs doubled from group 1 to group 3, and total technical staff rose from 15 to 42 FTEs. In summary, smaller institutions have higher proportional personnel costs, reaffirming the old adage of economy of scale.
As a case study, the use of team management (or “total quality management”) at the University of Michigan is described. Animal care has been strengthened and streamlined as a result of having managers, team leaders, and animal care staff work together collaboratively. A more customer-oriented focus has emerged from this process, improving the ability of the animal care program to meet the needs of researchers. Two years after implementation of the team concept, the University of Michigan was able to reduce per diem rates for rodents by 50% and customer complaints dropped to less than half their previous level. Team management improved working conditions, an important factor in staff retention