Space Governance and Principles


The mission of UCSF is to advance health worldwide through excellence in Education, Research, and Patient Care.  In order to achieve this mission at a time of shrinking resources and growing competition, it is essential that the faculty and leadership maximize the use of all available assets. One of the major assets at UCSF is space, both academic and clinical. The development of this policy was based on two goals: 1) ensure that space is allocated, used and managed, with a view toward promoting UCSF's overall vision and strategic goals and 2) provide a framework for uniform, equitable, transparent and effective governance of all space throughout UCSF.

The following applies to space allocation, evaluation, and retention for all uses related to aspects of UCSF’s mission (Educational, Research, Clinical Care, and Administrative) and will be implemented across UCSF beginning no later than January 2013, using both retrospective data and prospective planning information. This policy will be evaluated following implementation, and revisions may be recommended to this document by the UCSF Space Committee.

The Principles of this policy fall into the following categories and are listed below.  Each Principle is accompanied by a set of processes for implementation.

  1. General Space Accountability and Governance
  2. Fairness, Consistency, Transparency, Economic Sustainability and Strategic Prioritization in the Deployment of Space
  3. Non Permanence of Space Allocation, Retention and Use
  4. Operational Cost Responsibility for Space


The UCSF Space Committee provides overall governance of space policies and procedures at UCSF and ensures that space related decision-making is aligned with the principles. The UCSF Space Committee does not determine space allocations for individual programs, entities or faculty members. Each Chancellor Direct Report is responsible for ensuring that his/her Unit has its own Space Plan that is consistent with the overall UCSF Space Governance Policy, Principles and Processes, as laid out in this document by the UCSF Space Committee.  The Unit-specific Plan may include additional criteria to be used when considering space utilization and assignments within the Unit. 

All Units will be held accountable for the same economic performance for the same type of space (e.g., wet lab economic performance should be identical across Schools).

The Direct Report is responsible for resolving space issues within his/her Unit, according to this policy.  All programs and areas within a Unit requesting space or with space resolution issues, will first take their concern to the Direct Report.  If the issue is not resolvable through the Unit itself, and/or if the space issue in question requires addressing issues and needs that cross Units, then the matter may be brought to the Committee for consideration.

Direct Reports also are responsible for identifying opportunities for collaboration, in particular in instances where there is an urgent priority or need for the campus that has not been met by the current space allocation and utilization.

The Senior Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration, with the help of Campus Planning, will collect reports from the Chancellor Direct Report Units approximately once every three years for review by the Space Committee. These reports will provide information according to a consistent set of guidelines, developed through the Space Committee, and that provides information on and updates the criteria above.  In addition to these regular reports, Units will report any significant changes in utilization or financial support from the previous year in a shorter document or communication to the Space Committee at least once a year. Space and financial data used for review will cover the current year plus the previous three fiscal years. The Campus Space Inventory, to be housed within Capital Programs, (or the Medical Center Inventory, housed within Medical Center facilities) will provide the information that will be incorporated into the abovementioned Reports. However, it is the responsibility of the individual units to verify, with faculty, department chairs, and subordinate units the accuracy of said reports and update and maintain information as required.

Reports will highlight current utilization, and key elements of space utilization, including the extent to which the space use is aligned with the mission and goals of the Unit as well as institutional priorities.  The report also should highlight plans for future utilization and any anticipated or planned change.  As the institution’s goals and priorities will shift over time it is important that the Chancellor’s Direct Reports continually re-assess to what extent space utilization is in keeping with the key space principles highlighted above, and provide an accurate assessment in the Report to be provided to the Space Committee.


The following criteria will be considered in the allocation of all UCSF space of all types (Clinical, Educational, Research, and Administrative) and in periodic evaluation of its use and retention: 

  1. Alignment with overall UCSF Vision, Mission and Strategic Goals and priorities
  2. Alignment with specific Chancellor’s Direct Report Units goals
  3. Demonstration that space is being utilized optimally for its stated purpose. Where appropriate, demonstration of collaboration and strategic work that transcends disciplines and programs
  4. Demonstration of existing space being used optimally in instances where additional space is requested
  5. For requested space, communication of a clear plan, including a funding component, that addresses the costs of renovating, equipping and operating the requested space
  6. Space needs to be economically sustainable:
    1. For research space, ability to demonstrate extramural funding (direct and indirect cost expenditures per assigned square foot [asf], large institutional grants for relevant programs.
    2. For non-research space, ability to generate revenue from patients, the State, auxiliary activities, or any source, including but not limited to those that are sufficient to pay the operating costs of maintaining the space and the capital costs for routine replacement of equipment and fixtures.
    3. Proposed uses of space generally should be consistent with the uses of adjacent space.
    4. Uses of space within licensed facilities must conform to licensing regulatory requirements. 


  • Chancellor will appoint the UCSF Space Committee, composed of leadership from all the Chancellor Direct Report Units.
  • UCSF Space Committee will interact with the Chancellor’s Direct Reports, or their designate, and not with individual faculty, programs or departments.   
  • In instances where space is utilized by a program that crosses multiple Units, the Direct Reports will be responsible for managing this space between themselves, in alignment with the Principles in this Document.
  • UCSF Space Committee will recommend new or revised space assignments to the Chancellor as well as processes, such as space assessment, for implementation by the Chancellor and the Chancellor's Executive Cabinet (CEC). This includes recommendations related to space that the Committee deems is under or inappropriately utilized, after having reviewed space reports from Direct Reports.


Space assignments to Direct Report Units and space assignments for Units, are not designated in perpetuity. All space assignments and usage will be reviewed periodically, approximately every three years, by the UCSF Space Committee, with guidance and input from the appropriate Chancellor’s Direct Report. In keeping with the Chancellor’s overall responsibility for all space assignments at UCSF, in recognition of the existing repositories for data on space uses, the Campus Space Inventory and/or Medical Center Space Inventory will provide the comprehensive information necessary for these reviews and for the reports which will be provided to the Committee. The Space Inventories will be kept as comprehensive, up to date, and accurate as possible, to be able to inform these decisions.

All released or relinquished research or office space that is equal to or greater than 2000 square feet of contiguous space must be reported to the UCSF Space Committee to determine if it is to be returned to the Chancellor or made available to other units through a reallocation process. The UCSF Space Committee agrees to revisit the above noted threshold for space notification, in approximately six months’ time, and to evaluate to what degree this threshold is the appropriate number. The Committee reserves the right to adjust the threshold accordingly.

There are two types of space that fall into this category. "Release" space is defined as space made available due to a program relocating to other spaces not currently listed (which could be new space, space not belonging to UCSF, or space belonging to another Direct Report unit) within the Direct Reports inventory. The availability of such space will be made known, by the Direct Report in whose unit it is in, as soon as possible after such a relocation.  (An example of relocation would be when program space moves physically elsewhere, i.e., to a new building where it has been assigned equivalent space.)

"Relinquished" space is defined as space made available by a program closing. Such space will be held by the Chancellor for reassignment.

Process to Reallocate Space

  1. All released/relinquished space must be reported to the UCSF Space Committee, as soon as possible after the Direct Report is made aware of its availability. The Chancellor may retain up to 10% of the space in a Reserve Fund for future allocation. The UCSF CEC, in consultation with the UCSF Space Committee, will determine if it is to be returned to the Direct Report, or made open to a process of reallocation.
  2. The Chancellor may assign UCSF Space to Chancellor’s Direct Reports. The Chancellor’s Direct Reports in turn may assign space within their own Unit as they see appropriate, as long as they do so in keeping with the Principles of this document.
  3. Requests for new space must come from a Chancellor’s Direct Report(s) to the Space Committee.
  4. In keeping with Principle 2, the process for determining allocation of released space should be transparent, fair, consistent, and aligned with UCSF strategic imperatives. The expectation, of all Chancellor’s Direct Reports, is that they will be transparent and forthcoming about their available and released space, and provide such information to the Committee.  In turn, the Chancellor’s Direct Reports can expect that, if they demonstrate a clear and tangible need for space according to the Principles in this Document, the Committee will strive to make appropriate recommendation/s to the Chancellor to enable them to meet that need.
  5. An example of a process that may be used to determine the allocation of released space is that of a formal RFP process. The Committee may decide to put together and issue an RFP for the use of released space, in instances where the Committee deems that there is a key unmet campus need. The RFP process will require a clear plan for use of the space that conforms to the Criteria laid out in Principle 1 of this document.
  6. The Chancellor’s Direct Reports are responsible for managing their assigned space, including determining allocations for their own programs within their Unit, and ensuring that their overall Unit space information is updated and accurate in the Campus Space Inventory. If space is requested for programs that cross units or entities, the respective leaders are responsible for working together to construct a plan for the space requested, in keeping with the criteria laid out in Principle 1 of this document.
  7. There may be instances where space is assigned to a Unit for a temporary period only. In these instances, the receiving Unit will be required to abide by the guidelines of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to be developed between the entity that is the primary owner of the space, and the temporary occupant. This MOU will include, among other items, guidelines for a process to be followed. The MOU will lay out timelines, criteria for the rights or entitlements of the temporary occupants as well as the stewards of the space, and a dispute/conflict resolution process.
  8. Overall, the process for the Committee to review and make decisions on released or relinquished space will be as transparent, nimble, and efficient as possible, so as not to create undue delays or administrative burden. The Committee will continue to evaluate and assess overall procedure and process to ensure minimal bureaucracy and delay as space related decisions are brought before it.


Chancellor Direct Report Units will be responsible for covering the operational costs of their assigned space. 


  1. The Medical Center will be directly responsible for making capital improvements, maintaining, and paying the other operational costs of the space used for clinical activities that are under the purview of the Medical Center.
  2. Outside the space for clinical activities, Campus Administration (Budget and Resource Management) will determine operational costs including administrative, building operations and maintenance, interest and depreciation on buildings and equipment, for all space in order to define and address the financial responsibilities for all Chancellor’s Direct Report Units. To do this requires that the Campus Space Inventory remain as accurate and up to date as possible. It is a joint responsibility of the Chancellor’s Direct reports and Campus Planning to verify the accuracy of the space allocations. This Inventory also will specify building, room and occupancy data.
  3. For appropriate spaces (e.g., Research) a standard expected level of extramural funding (indirect costs; $/asf) will be defined for such space based on operational costs. Based on this level, total expected funding will be computed for total asf assigned to each Chancellor Direct Report, and compared to the actual funds generated within the assigned Unit space.  Failure to meet the overall expected level of funding for a Unit is one criterion that could support a Space Committee recommendation to decrease the total asf assigned to the Unit.  Conversely, Units that exceed the total expected funding level could cite that achievement in any request for additional space, although that criterion alone may not be sufficient justification for additional space. Units may compare their internal programs to each other and to the Unit as a whole, as well as to other relevant cohort groupings, in their requests for additional space.
  4. Within two months of notification by the Space Committee, Units holding underutilized space will be expected to develop a plan for addressing the underutilization. The criteria to assess utilization of space will vary based on type of space (i.e., research, educational, administrative, and clinical). The reports provided to the Committee will contain the elements to be evaluated and will be based upon the regularly updated Campus Space Inventory and Database.

The following are key elements that must be included in the Reports and that the Committee would evaluate to help assess utilization:

  • Research space performance compared to an agreed upon economic criteria, such as indirect cost recovery
  • Administrative (including academic offices) space:  performance compared to an agreed upon people density standard (i.e., 150 sf per person) for the amount and type of space. 
  • Educational performance compared to an agreed upon standard for classroom hour usage, including time and distribution
  • Clinical open space over 2,000 square feet would be flagged to this Committee, and its allocation subject to the same Principles as outlined in this document. Criteria for performance will include comparisons to an agreed upon standard for clinical productivity and complexity
  • Office space will be treated according to criteria aligned to the type of office space it is (administrative or research) as determined by a space committee working group to be created following approval of this document by the CEC.

Overall:  Utilization of space should be aligned with the specific mission/goals of the Direct Report Unit and of UCSF’s strategic priorities.

5. For the first year, as space information is vetted and validated, all units will be expected to demonstrate extramural Facilities and Administration (F&A) recovery in excess of $90 per asf. This figure is based on a general averaging of F&A recovery across schools and departments and is intended to be used as a starting point only by the Committee. The Committee will reassess this figure on an annual basis at a minimum and adjust as appropriate. As per Principle 4.3 above, Campus administration will maintain and update operational costs for all space, and as such, updates also may lead to reassessment of this figure as required. Should any space use assessment be implemented, it will not affect any operational costing information in the UCSF general ledger and will be maintained and managed on a separate basis than any ledgered F&A cost pool information.
6. If a Unit fails to execute on its Space Utilization Plan for space made available using the principles above, the UCSF Space Committee could recommend that remaining underutilized space be returned to the Chancellor.


The Campus Space Inventory, to be managed by Capital Programs, and the Medical Center Space Inventory, managed by Medical Center Facilities, will provide and maintain the documentation necessary for space reviews and assessments. The Campus Space Inventories will be kept as comprehensive, current, and accurate as possible to be able to inform these decisions. The accuracy of the database will require consistent due diligence by each of the Chancellor’s Direct Report Units.


The Chancellor has overall responsibility for the equitable and optimal use of space resources, with final authority over all UCSF space assignments and designations. The Chancellor may delegate implementation of recommendations to the Chancellor’s Direct Reports who are responsible and accountable for the use of space within their Units, and to ensure that said use is in alignment with the Principles laid out in this Document. Chancellor Direct Reports are authorized to implement Policy and Principles as stated in this document. This includes assessing to what extent space is being used efficiently and optimally in their own department.  If space is deemed to not be used efficiently by the Direct Report and the Committee, this space will be returned to the Chancellor.


UCSF Space Committee

The Chancellor appoints a Committee comprising the Chancellor’s Direct Reports and/or their representatives, including but not limited to, senior administrators, Deans, Medical Center leaders and faculty leaders, to make recommendations to address principles, processes and issues regarding space management for all campus space, including related to areas such as emerging research, patient care, educational and administrative programs.