Continued Use of Instrumentation

Refurbishment of Existing Instrumentation

Numerous DFG funding programmes involve the procurement of instrumentation specifically required for a project, either using earmarked funding or as part of an allowance. However, in some cases it is not absolutely necessary to purchase new instrumentation because there is the possibility of refurbishing existing instrumentation so that it can be used for the project. Whether applying for instrumentation funding or during project implementation itself, refurbishment can be an economical and resource-saving alternative to purchasing new instrumentation. The restrictions regarding the financing of core support apply equally to refurbishment and new acquisition, i.e. if the refurbishment cannot be financed because the refurbished instrumentation is expected to be provided as core support, the new acquisition cannot be financed by the DFG either.

If the refurbishment can be carried out at the research institution itself, the estimated expenditure (staff and material costs) is to be stated in the proposal as an item under “Other costs”. The same applies if a company offers to refurbish existing instrumentation as a service. In the first case, an estimate must be provided of the costs incurred to the research institution, while in the second case the proposal must include a quotation or a cost estimate from the company providing the service.

Used Instrumentation

Under all programmes that provide for the funding of instrumentation, it is equally possible to apply for used instrumentation, demonstration equipment or devices that have been refurbished by the manufacturer (“remanufactured”) as it is to apply for the procurement of new instrumentation. In any case, quotations must be included as proof of the costs and availability of the instrumentation concerned. 

Applicants are responsible themselves for ensuring that the used instrumentation being applied for can actually be procured in the event of the funds being approved.

Although the use of instrumentation is an inherent necessity arising from the scientific question being pursued and the design of the research project, it is possible to take sustainability aspects into account when it comes to implementing and organising instrumentation usage. Continued use of instrumentation can combine both ecological and economic advantages.

In some areas of technology, however, a more sustainable approach would require the purchase of a somewhat more costly new item of instrumentation, while the continued use of instrumentation would run counter to sustainability efforts.

The DFG would like to encourage all researchers to reflect on sustainability aspects when using instrumentation and actively contribute to improvements in this area.

If you have any questions about the continued use of instrumentation, please get in touch with the person responsible in the Scientific Instrumentation and Technology Division or contact:

Dr. Christian Renner
Telephone: +49 (228) 885-2324