a third party takes responsibility for key functions, or diverting funds planned to support scientific research to pay for security responsibilities. These are not sustainable solutions and raise risks.
The committee, therefore, urges federal agencies that fund BSAT research to establish dedicated funding for ongoing security and compliance responsibilities associated with this type of research. This is an essential obligation, and no facility should operate without appropriate security measures in place. Funds to support security and compliance should be from a separate source to avoid diminishing the already limited support for research and should be available on a continuing and competitive basis for the life of the facility.
RECOMMENDATION 9: Because of considerable security and compliance costs associated with research on biological select agents and toxins, federal agencies funding BSAT research should establish a separate category of funding to ensure sustained support for facilities where such research is conducted.
It is expected that these costs will be site specific and subject to change as security standards, risks, and successful practices evolve. The funding arrangements should also include a mechanism for supporting facility upgrades and implementing evolving standards and practices. In all cases, it will be important that these costs not be short-changed. In addition, the specific mechanism for providing such support will depend upon the nature of the laboratory and the funding source; for example, it may make sense to provide one mechanism for supporting the continued operation of federally funded facilities such as NBLs, RBLs, and RCEs and a different mechanism for investigator-initiated research grants.
Although this type of funding structure may be unusual for biomedical research laboratories, it is not uncommon for funding those areas of science where central infrastructure plays an important role. Primate research centers, telescopes, and the academic research fleet all have funding models in which operating costs are broken out as a separate direct expense, often from a separate account so that operations do not compete directly with science funding. The U.S. Academic Research Fleet, for example, divides the total operating expenses by the number of days the ship is at sea and charges this rate through ship operating proposals submitting to granting agencies (see Box 5-6). In this way, the granting agency pays for operating expenses directly and subject to the needs of the research projects but without relying upon research grants.