Announcing lower FY 2024 rates and service tiers

December 1, 2023

Today, the UMN Genomics Center is excited to release lower FY 2024 rates for our services and to announce new options for faster turnaround time (TAT). Simply put, we are replacing one-size-fits-all “standard” rates with a range of options, referred to as “tiers”. Our overarching goal is to provide you with choice and control over the speed of your projects; you will decide for yourself how quickly your project should proceed. 

New Service Tiers
The majority of UMGC services will now be offered in four tiers, three of which will be in common use. In name, the tiers echo faster shipping rates offered by the U.S. Postal Service. They are listed here in order from fastest (most expensive) to slowest (least expensive).

  1. PRIORITY: fastest option, results returned in about 1/3 the time of the SAVINGS TIER. Very frequent project updates (daily to every other day). Subject to availability at the time of project initiation.
  2. SPEED: fast option, results returned in about 1/2 the time of the SAVINGS TIER. Frequent project updates (once to twice weekly). Always available.
  3. SAVINGS: non-urgent projects, most affordable. Project updates with major project milestones. Always available. (The SAVINGS tier is equivalent in turnaround times to our former “standard” rates, but at a lower cost.)
  4. SCALE: most affordable, no predetermined TAT. SCALE tier is reserved for projects that are so large that TAT can only be determined as a function of the project’s actual scope. For most projects, the SCALE tier will not be relevant.

To illustrate the difference in TATs and rates between tiers, a comparison of new SAVINGS, SPEED, and PRIORITY tier rates for the NextSeq 2000 can be found here. All tiers apart from SCALE are associated with sample volume constraints, reflecting hard limits on what is possible given the instrumentation on hand and the duration of an instrument run per se.

Project Proposals
Before an official quote, PI’s will now receive a project proposal to help determine the optimal combination of pricing tiers. UMGC projects often involve multiple independent services run in series and each service can be requested at a different tier. For example, a typical microbiome project may include extraction, QC, library creation, and sequencing, but given that each of these four components could be requested at the SAVINGS, SPEED, or PRIORITY tier, the resulting number of combinations can become unmanageable (3 x 3 x 3 x 3 = 81 options). 

Consequently, the UMGC has developed software to automatically narrow down all combinations to a set of no more than eight options, separated meaningfully in terms of TAT and cost, which will be presented in what we refer to as a Project Proposal. Proposals provide a graphical format (bar chart) that will allow PIs to easily determine an optimal choice. 

Project Timelines
Along with increased choice for you, there will be greater accountability and transparency from us. All new projects will be associated with clear timelines, and there will be frequent, proactive updates from the UMGC associated with faster tiers. Project timelines will be guaranteed, and in cases in which TATs slip (rarely, we hope), project costs will be automatically adjusted to lower-tier rates.

The new system of tiered services, and the UMGC’s determination to meet our turnaround time commitments, requires new policies. The most important policies to note are Rules 1-3, which explain client responsibilities and the proper definition of TAT as time spent “on the UMGC’s clock”. Please familiarize yourself with these policies. We welcome feedback and suggestions on refining the rules.

Updated prices and turnaround times for all service tiers will be posted to our website over the coming week. All project quotes will be created with new tiered rates starting Friday, December 1. Projects initiated after November 1 will have any unfinished components of their projects billed at the new (lower) SAVINGS tier rate. However, we will not be able to apply new turnaround time commitments to projects that are already underway.

We are extremely excited to see how our clients take advantage of the new service tiers and lower rates. On average, services priced at the SAVINGS tier have dropped by 10% in comparison to our FY 2023 rates. These positive changes are made possible by financial support from central UMN funds, and we are grateful to the leadership in the Research and Innovation Office (RIO), the Medical School, and UMN Administration for their support.

Kenny Beckman, Ph.D. 

Director, University of Minnesota Genomics Center