|Panelists at the recent workshop on core facilities included (from l) Drs. George Grills, Cornell University; Tim Hunter, University of Vermont, Jonni S. Moor, University of Pennsylvania; Victoria Christian, Duke Translational Research Institute; and Greg Farber, NCRR.
The National Center for Research Resources, in conjunction with the Office of Extramural Research, recently organized a trans-NIH workshop on the “Efficient Management and Utilization of Core Facilities.” It brought together more than 400 participants to discuss the state of NIH-funded research core facilities.
The purpose was to review strategies for maximizing core facility use and efficiency and to identify common problems encountered in managing the facilities. Panelists described examples of successful core facilities to identify ways to improve access, administrative management, training, utilization and quality assurance.
NIH funds core facilities at hundreds of institutions throughout the United States. In order to solicit input from those who run and use these facilities, NCRR recently issued a Request for Information. The responses formed the basis for topics discussed at this national forum.
Topics included core facility access, current policies that support or hinder use, cost-recovery challenges, management improvement and service quality improvement and evaluation. Participants suggested that NIH and other federal agencies develop policies to: implement standards; encourage development and sustainability through career training and planning grants; fund both equipment and personnel in core grants; promote full use of core facilities; foster collaboration; and provide incentives and assistance to help cores develop consistent management systems that are harmonized across facilities.
There was strong support for the establishment of a national registry of core facilities that could be linked to existing regional registries for continuous self-updating as well as tracking and reporting.
For more information, including videocasts of the event, visit www.ncrr.nih.gov/events/core2009.