SPINAL (Scheduling and Payments for INstruments And Laboratories) is a unified Research Computing system that lets researchers sign up for time on instruments, and optionally allows departments to bill for that time.
Getting to SPINAL
SPINAL is at http://webapps.sciences.fas.harvard.edu/spinal/
Getting into SPINAL
Anybody with a Research Computing (“RC”) account can login to SPINAL. If you don’t have an account, request one here. You may request access to specific instruments during signup. If you have an existing account, you will need to request access from the lab administrator(s) for the machine(s) you are interested in using/training on. Log into SPINAL and click the “All Available Resources” link up top to see available instruments and who to contact for access.
Once users log in, they will only see information relevant to them. Lab administrators see the labs they are responsible for.
To add access to an instrument, contact the Resource Admin for that instrument first. To find the correct admin(s), log into SPINAL and click the “all available resources” link.
SPINAL is designed to give responsibility to the person who knows most about a particular topic. So lab administrators choose which codes researchers can use; instrument administrators choose who can use which instrument; portfolio managers can check codes for the PIs they manage; and departmental financial administrators generate bills.
Before a researcher uses an instrument:
- The researcher trains on an instrument
- Instrument administrator uses SPINAL to allow the researcher to sign up for the instrument
- The researcher requests a 33-digit expense code from their lab administrator
- The lab administrator receives an email with a link to go to SPINAL and approve an expense code for that instrument
- The researcher gets an email saying they can now sign up with that expense code
From then on, each time a researcher wants to use an instrument, they simply log in to SPINAL, click on the instrument they wish to use, and pick a time (or possibly the number of samples they will be running), along with one of the expense codes they’re allowed to use for that instrument. At the end of the month, the financial administrator for the instrument facility generates invoices, which are emailed to the lab administrators for each PI.