As life sciences become increasingly dependent on technology, creating Core Facilities for shared usage is an excellent approach to exploiting technology to the fullest, to building networks and to integrating expertise - in a cost-effective manner. When functioning well, Core Facilities are an attractive force for hiring ambitious technology-driven scientists and generating a competitive advantage for all scientists in the institute and even to the research community beyond. However, ensuring that Core Facilities really bring a competitive advantage bears several challenges - managing the needs of all stake holders, hiring and retaining the right expertise, being always at the forefront of fast-evolving technologies and acquiring the necessary funding for investments, being only some of them. The complexity of the challenges argues that a dialogue with peers is the way forward.
Core for Life partners agreed upon an ambitious – though realistic - roadmap, with below concrete goals in scope:
Define best practices and common standards for core facility management, SOPs, quality control, pricing policies, etc.
Establish a training network for core facility personnel.
Scout for and validate emerging technologies with shared datasets.
Explore models for capacity sharing and coordinated investments across institutes/countries.
Engage EU (and national) organizations and funding bodies in a dialogue towards improving the landscape of funding opportunities for core facilities, shared equipment and core facility networks.
Create an open platform to share best practices and core facility management models with the scientific community and to provide training to the next generation of core facility scientists.