Open Access to KFUPM Research Infrastructure Guidelines

Last Update on: 18 February 2024

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  1. Purpose
  2. Scope
  3. Definitions and Acronyms
  4. Centralized Lab Management System
  5. Nature of Access
  6. Access Prioritization
  7. Intellectual Property Rights
  8. Acknowledgements and Co-Authorship
  9. Data Management
  10. Training and Education
  11. Health, Safety, Security, and Confidentiality
  12. Inventory and Utilization Tracking
  13. Access Methodology
  14. Review and Amendments

The purpose of this document is to state the general policy guidelines and procedures regarding the access and utilization of research infrastructure at KFUPM. The guidelines serve to delineate the responsibilities and obligations of KFUPM users, non-KFUPM Users and industrial clients in this regard.

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These guidelines apply to all KFUPM Users, non-KFUPM Users and industrial clients who wish to access and use the research lab facilities at KFUPM.

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1. Definitions


Infinity X is a cloud-based core facility or lab management software that helps core research facilities, research centers and academic departments at KFUPM, to manage their research resources and operations more efficiently.
KFUPM UserA faculty member, researcher, engineer, scientist, lab technician, full-time employee, part-time employee, adjunct academic staff, Post-doc, fellow, chair, visiting staff, student, non-academic staff, administrator, research associate and research assistant affiliated with KFUPM.
Non- KFUPM UserA faculty member or researcher affiliated with an educational or research institution outside KFUPM.
Industrial ClientAn employee affiliated with a public or private sector organization engaged in business or commercial activities.
Host UnitCustodian center or academic department at KFUPM that provides research support or lab service to KFUPM or non-KFUPM users.
Lab ManagerThe Lab Manager, within the context of the INFINITY X online platform, oversees the operation of research lab of a host unit.
Institutional AdminThe Institutional Admin, within the INFINITY X online platform, manages all host units referred to as Cores.
Lab ServiceA research-related activity that is of a routine nature and requires minimal supervision or input on the part of the host unit. Deliverables generally take the form of a report with minimal interpretation of the data acquired. It is performed by well-established methods and procedures available within the University. It is undertaken using only available operative equipment, and limited to a specifically accountable number of units of work effort (such as man-hours, completed tests, etc.). Examples include determination of chemical composition and physical properties of provided samples.
Client-funded ProjectA client-funded project utilizing research labs involves external financial support to conduct specialized research activities within a host unit, aligning with the client's objectives and guided by a formal agreement.
Collaborative ResearchCollaborative research, in the context where one partner is a host unit and others are non-KFUPM users, involves a joint effort between the host unit and external participants. It entails the shared exploration of research objectives, with the host unit providing research lab facilities and expertise, while external users contribute diverse insights, resources, or specialized knowledge to collectively advance the research project.
Indirect Cost or OverheadThe costs related to services provided by the University for the preparation, performance and administration of a Research Contract or Lab Service.
Lab Service QuotationA document which presents an offer by the University to do a specifically defined unit of work, for an identified client, for a specified consideration, and in accordance with specified terms and conditions.
Special Contract ClientEntities that have executed agreements with the RI which spell out research terms and conditions applicable to multiple projects/ services. These instruments are sometimes known as umbrella agreements, standard agreements, or special contracts.
2. Acronyms
CRFCore Research Facilities
RCResearch Center
ADAcademic Department
PCEProposal Cost Estimate
PECProposal Evaluation Committee
RFPRequest for Proposal
RIResearch & Innovation
RSDResearch Support Department
ERPEnterprise Resource Planning
TEBTechnical Editing Board
VPRIVice President of Research & Innovation
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KFUPM has deployed a lab facility management software called INFINITY X that connects all research infrastructure at KFUPM using one-lab concept. It contains an inventory of over 1,000 research equipment organized under core research facilities (CRF), research centers (RC) and academic departments (AD). These equipment are visible to all KFUPM users, non-KFUPM users and industrial clients and its access is granted by the custodian departments or host units. The INFINITY X software enables these departments to manage its lab resources and operations in an efficient manner. It facilitates optimum equipment and manpower utilization, data recording and report generation. Backend support services to all the cores/units organized under INFINITY X are provided by CRF as the institutional admin.

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Each host unit is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the research facilities that is under its administrative control. Host units are responsible for determining the nature, level and scope of their own research infrastructure which is to be made accessible to users. They also have the right to propose internal access policies which are approved at the University level.

The host unit assesses the viability of each lab access request and determines the level and nature of access required to its facilities for KFUPM, non-KFUPM users and industrial clients based on its existing capacity and resources. This access to research lab facilities can be granted in the form of charged lab service, a client-funded project or a research collaboration.

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Faculty, researchers, and students associated with a host unit will receive prioritized access to its research facilities. Work of KFUPM users will be prioritized over non-KFUPM users or industry clients. The host unit reserves the right to decline a service request if, upon its professional and technical evaluation, the submitted samples or data are found to be damaged, unsuitable, pose potential risks to the instrument, fail to comply with applicable KFUPM policies, regulations, or Saudi and international laws, or if there are insufficient resources to undertake the requested work. The reasons for rejection will be communicated in writing to the requester.

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  1. Ownership and management of intellectual property created at KFUPM are regulated by KFUPM Intellectual Property policy and Saudi intellectual property laws and regulations.
  2. In the case of access granted to users affiliated with project partners of KFUPM, management of intellectual property is regulated by corresponding project agreements.
  3. In the case of access granted to external Users, who are not affiliated to KFUPM partners, management of intellectual property produced by the external user shall be defined in an agreement on the provision of open access services between the user and KFUPM for access to the KFUPM’s research infrastructure.
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All publications resulting from research conducted in the laboratory must acknowledge the support and resources provided by the respective host unit. In accordance with good scientific practice, non-KFUPM users are also encouraged to offer co-authorship to host unit representatives who make genuine scientific contributions to their work.

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KFUPM and non-KFUPM users are expected to adhere to data management policies established by KFUPM. The data management should follow the FAIR principles (findability, accessibility, interoperability and reusability). Instructions may vary depending on the type of RI within each individual entity. Research laboratories at KFUPM ensure that research data are appropriately maintained, archived for a reasonable period, and are available for review and reuse.

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The host unit may organize training programs aimed at empowering KFUPM users (especially graduate students and post-docs) to operate equipment independently. The planning and execution of these training sessions are at the discretion of the host unit, dependent on its available resources. Following the training, it is anticipated that trainees will have a comprehensive understanding of the hardware and its operational principles, enabling them to proficiently operate the equipment. Upon qualification, users shall be granted permission to operate equipment independently within the host unit's labs, subject to meeting the specified access requirements. Furthermore, the equipment and space in the host unit labs must be returned in the same condition as they were prior to independent usage, except for normal wear and tear. Any damage to the equipment caused by reasons other than regular wear and tear must be either replaced or refunded to the host unit.

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Users are required to adhere to security protocols and maintain the confidentiality of ongoing projects. Any breach of security or confidentiality may result in the suspension of lab access privileges.

The host units adhere to a policy of conducting all activities with the utmost standards to safeguard personnel, users, facilities, and the surrounding environment. This commitment is realized through the development and implementation of a comprehensive lab operational manual and health, safety, and environmental guidelines.

Where applicable, all users have to comply with security, safety, and environmental rules, and with procedures enforced by the specific host unit or research lab. This particularly concerns notifying the lab manager about the nature of materials that could introduce risks or ethical issues.

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Host units can keep record of the government-funded research infrastructure through a transparent and well-maintained inventory in the INFINITY X platform. This platform can also be used to improve the visibility of the research infrastructure for both internal and external users and track its utilization.

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  1. KFUPM User:
    • Submit service requests via INFINITY X platform to the host unit.
    • Request initiator can access Infinity X via
    • Provide all relevant information with the request.
    • If the service is available on a charged basis, prepare and submit acceptance of quotation with proper authorization from the relevant department.
  2. Lab Manager (Host Unit):
    • Process received service requests.
    • If required, generate a quotation as per services required and forward it to the requester.
    • Make a final decision (approved/disapproved).
    • Forward approved requests to Lab Associates.
    • Return disapproved requests to the requester with reasons for disapproval.
  3. Lab Associate:
    1. Schedule approved lab service requests.
    2. Communicate with the requester for coordination.
    3. Conduct the work as per the approved schedule.
    4. Complete the lab service request.
    5. Share the results with the requester to conclude the request.

  1. Service Request Initiator (Non-KFUPM User):
    • Submit request through
    • Register on the INFINITY X platform via guidelines provided through email.
    • Provide all relevant details to complete the user profile on INFINITY X.
    • Request access for the desired core/lab facility via INFINITY X.
  2. Facility Admin:
    • Verify relevant details provided by service request initiator.
    • Approve or disapprove the core/lab facility access request.
  3. Service Request Initiator (Non-KFUPM User):
    • Follow the standard service request procedure via the INFINITY X platform.
    • Submit the service request with all relevant information and approvals.
    • Upon receipt of a quotation from the host unit, prepare and submit acceptance of quotation (i.e. purchase order) with proper authorization from the relevant department in the requesting institution.
  4. Lab Manager (Host Unit):
    • Analyze the service request received.
    • Generate a quotation as per services required and forward it to the requester.
    • Approve/disapprove accordingly.
    • Forward approved requests to Lab Associates.
    • Return disapproved requests to the initiator along with the reason.
  5. Lab Associate:
    • Schedule approved lab service requests.
    • Communicate with the requester for coordination.
    • Conduct the work as per the approved schedule.
    • Complete the lab service request.
    • Share the results with the requester to conclude the request.


13.3.1 Procedure for Lab Services

  1. Center Director or Department Chairman:
    • Identify whether requested lab services fall under an approved fee schedule, including requests from a special contract client.
    • Prepare quotations for lab services with approved fees.
    • Enter every lab service quotation into the ERP system and assign a unique project number.
  2. DG, RSD (Director General, Research & Services Department), RI (Research Institute):
    • Provide billing services.
    • Allocate all revenue according to the approved cost breakdown.
    • Perform these tasks upon receipt of a notice of completion from the Center or Department.

13.3.2 Procedure for Client-Funded Projects

  1. Project Manager
    • Prepare detailed cost estimate data for the proposed project.
    • Conduct a review of the draft proposal with the entire team.
    • Submit the documents to the Center Director for review.
  2. Center Director/Department Chairman
    • Review the draft proposal (authors’ draft).
    • Send hard and soft copies of the proposal to the RSD DG.
  3. DG RSD (Director General, Research Services Department):
    • Inspect the draft proposal to ensure it is complete and satisfactory for use by RSD.
  4. Project Manager:
    • Submit the complete proposal package (draft proposal, cost sheets, and relevant client correspondence) to the TEB Coordinator.
  5. Coordinator, TEB (Technical Editing Board):
    • Assign the draft for technical editing following adopted procedures.
  6. Project Manager:
    • Revise the marked draft of the proposal, if necessary, to comply with TEB comments.
  7. Chairman, PEC (Proposal Evaluation Committee):
    • Distribute proposal copies to PEC members for review according to adopted procedures and charges.
    • Prepare a memo to the VRAR explaining the committee's recommendation.
  8. VPRI (Vice President of Research & Innovation):
    • Review the proposal and the PEC recommendation.
    • Return the entire proposal package to RSD with any comments or memoranda.
  9. DG RSD (Director General, Research Services Department):
    • Upon receipt of a proposal package, send a copy, along with comments from the VPRI and the marked copy of the proposal, to the originating center director/department chairman.
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This Open Access Lab guidelines will be periodically reviewed to ensure relevance and effectiveness. Amendments may be made based on the evolving needs of the host units.

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