DRS Refrigerator purchasing Program

The Division of Research Safety is sponsoring a one-time refrigerator purchasing program for campus laboratories. The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) requires that spark-free refrigerators/freezers, specifically rated for flammables, be used if cold storage of flammable materials or liquids is necessary. DRS will cover 75% of the cost of the unit (prices based on size and cost through IBuy) for approved applications.


To be eligible for this program, the laboratory must have flammable samples or chemicals that require refrigeration. The laboratory must also demonstrate good practices in chemical management. This includes disposal of expired, unused, or unwanted chemicals, purchase of minimum chemical quantities required for research, and maintaining a system to inventory chemical hazards. Finally, the laboratory must participate in the annual audit program. This means meeting with DRS annually for the walkthrough and responding to audit findings in a timely manner.

Who can apply?

Any University employee designated as a principal investigator in the DRS system can apply. The applicant can also be a Safety Contact or lab manager for the principal investigator.

How to apply

All applications must be completed in the OVCRI Special Programs portal by a PI or someone designated by the PI to submit the application on their behalf.

What size refrigerator can I buy?

The size of the refrigerator will be discussed between DRS and the applicant. Approval will be for the current need of the laboratory. If you anticipate needing a larger unit soon, it will be discussed during the DRS review of the application. Currently iBuy has refrigerators/freezers in the sizes ranging from 5-30 cu ft.


There is no specific deadline for applying. Applications will be reviewed in the order received. Once all designated funds are awarded, the program will cease.


Will I automatically receive funds if I apply?

No. DRS will evaluate your need for flammable storage in the order of applications submitted. This may require a visit to the laboratory to observe current flammable chemical storage. There are limited funds for this program. Once they are distributed, the application process will be suspended.

Can I purchase more than one refrigerator?

This will be evaluated case by case based on the needs of the laboratory.

Who purchases the refrigerator once we are approved?

The research group purchases the refrigerator. DRS will transfer award funds to an account designated by the research group or business office.

Can I buy the refrigerator I want?

Yes, but the 75% award will be based on the size refrigerator/freezer indicated in your application review and the cost in iBuy. Purchasing a more expensive refrigerator from a different vendor will result in the research group paying a larger fraction of the price. Purchasing a larger refrigerator than what the lab was approved for will also result a lower percent of the refrigerator covered by DRS.

Contact DRS if you have any questions at drs@illinois.edu or 333-2755


    Last Update: 7/14/2021
    Updated By: tmcgill