A volunteer and collaborative effort to bring information about shared microscopy facilities to the University of Arizona and the community.

Managing Core facilities

Collected here are articles and web resources that may be of use to core facility personnel, core directors, and perhaps even to upper management. The information here leans towards microscopy, but there are plenty of resources that would be of use to just about any type of core facility.

To connect with other experienced core facility directors and managers, join the Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities (ABRF). ABRF has research groups looking at best practices in Genomics, Proteomics Metabolomics & Mass Spectrometry, Imaging/Flow, Bioinformatics, while keeping their eye on other technologies and issues. There are affiliated groups that meet in the regions of the: Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Northeast, Southeast, and West Coast. The ABRF Journal of Biomolecular Techniques is a terrific resource.

For microscopists, the Microscopy Society of America (MSA) has a focused interest group specific to Facility Operation and Management that gathers at the annual meetings. For meeting experienced core facility personnel in your area, there are a number of MSA locally affiliated societies that meet regularly.

Email listservs can be a valuable resource. There are a number of listservs specific to equipment or techniques that may be found in your core. Listservs can be used to ask (or answer) technical questions, as well as to check out what other people have concerns about. My experience has been that listserv members are very generous with their expertise. Several microscopy-oriented email listservs are on the General Microscopy page.

National/Regional Core facility lists:

The NIH has supported several useful workshops on managing cores.

  • 2009 Workshop on Efficient Management and Utilization of Core Facilities (PDF reports, videos)
  • 2010 Moving Forward in the Efficient Management and Use of Core Facilities (Video of Day1, Day2)
  • 2015 Workshop on Enhancing Efficiency of Research Core Facilities (in collaboration with ABRF, report, video part1, part2, part3)

The NIH also has a Core Facilities - Frequently Asked Questions page that covers some of the frustrating issues related to setting fees in cores that bill federal grants. See also FAQs for Costing of NIH-Funded Core Facilities (NOT-OD-13-053).

Created 01/09/2018, updated 03/24/2022. Creation of this web page was supported as part of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center at the University of Arizona, NIEHS P30 ES006694.