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).
- Research Technologies: Fulﬁlling the Promise (1999, FASEB Journal)
- Biotechnology Core Laboratories: An Overview (2000, Journal of Biomolecular Techniques)
- Pricing the Services of Scientific Cores: Part I: Charging Subsidized and Unsubsidized Users (2002, Journal of Research Administration) - sorry, this is not listed in PubMed
- Pricing the Services of Scientific Cores: Part II: Charging outside Users (2002, Journal of Research Administration) - sorry, this is not listed in PubMed
- Running and Setting Up a Confocal Microscope Core Facility (2002, Methods in Cell Biology)
- Designing a Microscopy/analytical Instrumentation Facility: Step by Step Procedure (2002, Microscopy Today)
- A bright but demanding future for core facilities (2005, Journal of Biomolecular Techniques)
- Issues in the Management of a Core Imaging Facility (2006, Lab Manager)
- Bio-Medical Light Microscopy Imaging Facility Management (2007, Lab Manager)
- Design and Function of a Light-Microscopy Facility (2007, Principles & Practice: Imaging Cellular and Molecular Biological Functions)
- Toward Sustaining Women in Careers in Core Laboratories—A Workshop Review Including Recommendations from the Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities (2008, Journal of Biomolecular Techniques)
- A Framework for Managing Core Facilities within the Research Enterprise (2009, Journal of Biomolecular Techniques)
- Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities Survey: Service Laboratory Funding (2009, Journal of Biomolecular Techniques)
- University Multi-User Facility Survey—2010 (2010, Journal of Biomolecular Techniques)
- List of things to think about with an Imaging facility (2010, Royal Microscopy Society)
- Core Facilities: Maximizing the Return on Investment (2011, Science Translational Medicine)
- Setting Up and Running an Advanced Light Microscopy and Imaging Facility (2011, Current Protocols in Cytometry)
- Equipment Funding Opportunities and Strategies for Success (2011-2013, Microscopy Today - Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6
- Emergency Planning for Protection and Restoration of Services: Something We Should All Be Thinking About (2011, Microscopy Today)
- Method for Tracking Core-Contributed Publications (2012, Journal of Biomolecular Techniques)
- Best Practices for Core Facilities: Handling External Customers (2013, Journal of Biomolecular Techniques)
- Partnership between CTSI and Business Schools Can Promote Best Practices for Core Facilities and Resources (2013, Clinical & Translational Science)
- Microscopy Core Facilities: Results of an International Survey (2014, Microscopy Today)
- Lack of Attribution (2014, Biotechniques)
- U.S. National Institutes of Health Core Consolidation–Investing in Greater Efﬁciency (2015, Journal of Biomolecular Techniques)
- Technical Support (2015, Nature)
- Core facilities: Shared support (2015, Nature)
- Advanced Light Microscopy Core Facilities: Balancing Service, Science and Career (2016, Microscopy Research & Technique)
- Disaster and Contingency Planning for Scientiﬁc Shared Resource Cores (2016, Journal of Biomolecular Techniques)
- Metrics for Success: Strategies for Enabling Core Facility Performance and Assessing Outcomes (2016, Journal of Biomolecular Techniques)
- Operational Changes in a Shared Resource Laboratory with the Use of a Product Lifecycle Management Approach: A Case Study (2016, Journal of Biomolecular Techniques)
- Sharing Core Facilities and Research Resources—An Investment in Accelerating Scientiﬁc Discoveries (2016, Journal of Biomolecular Techniques)
- Institutional core facilities: prerequisite for breakthroughs in the life sciences (2016, EMBO Reports)
- FASEB responds to NIGMS RFI on research resources (2016, letter from FASEB)
- Name It! Store It! Protect It!: A Systems Approach to Managing Data in Research Core Facilities (2017, Journal of Biomolecular Techniques)
- Maximizing Shared Research Resources: Recommendations (pt1) (2017, FASEB report)
- Building a Sustainable Portfolio of Core Facilities: a Case Study (2018, Journal of Biomolecular Technique)
- Careers in Core Facility Management (2018, Cold Spring Harbor Press)
- Operational and Fiscal Management of Core Facilities: A Survey of Chief Research Officers (2019, Journal of Research Administration)
- A Review of the Scientific Rigor, Reproducibility, and Transparency Studies Conducted by the ABRF Research Groups (2020, Journal of Biomolecular Technique)
- Core curriculum: learning to manage a shared microscopy facility (2020, Nature)
- Maximizing Shared Research Resources: Addressing Systemic Challenges and Opportunities (pt3) (2021, FASEB report)
- An international survey of Training Needs and Career Paths of Core Facility Staff (2021, Journal of Biomolecular Technique)
- Organizing core facilities as force multipliers: strategies for research universities (2021, Journal of Biomolecular Technique)
- Data Management Tools to Measure the Impact of Core Facilities (2021, Journal of Biomolecular Technique)
- Staff Scientist Perspectives on Onboarding and Professional Development: A Case Study (2021, Journal of Biomolecular Technique)
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.