I am a faculty member at a US academic institution and am leaving for another position. I know that large equipment purchased with start up money is the property of the university but what about consumables such as antibodies, cell lines, and other molecular reagents? Do I leave what is left over behind? What generally happens to this stuff?

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    Any reason you can't ask the staff at your department? Surely they are more knowledgeable about your university's policies than anyone on this site... – Dan Romik May 7 '16 at 6:38
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  • I have not tendered my resignation yet. Per university policy I have 2 months before my leave date to let the department and school know. I am leaving due to a toxic work environment. So I want to clarify what is acceptable and what is not before I officially tell the department head. At that point it will likely get ugly. – Vic May 7 '16 at 14:08
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    Well, since this has to do with university money rather than federal or some other "generic" funding, everything would depend on the university's specific policies, and possibly the decision would be left to the department chair's discretion. Ethically speaking, I don't think you should have any presumption that you ought to be allowed to take anything purchased with "your" startup funds, although in practice you may be if the items are of no use or value to anyone else. Anyway, good luck. – Dan Romik May 7 '16 at 15:15
  • I have heard that in practice it depends on how much the item would be missed if it left with you. Also, whether the department be hiring someone in the same niche as you, who would be stepping into the lab you are vacating. Also see related question: academia.stackexchange.com/q/18581/32436 – aparente001 Apr 1 '18 at 22:16

Generally, this would be something you negotiate with your new department. Often the old department will sell things that it does not want to the new department based on some formula that calculates the depreciated value. Barring that sale, or in the odd case the gifting of the items, taking the items would be theft.

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