A more recent development in research institutes and science faculties bundles important analysis methods, such as microscopy, microarrays or proteomics in central facilities. The advantages are clear cut. Expensive technical equipment is located at one central spot and maintained by dedicated and knowledgable technical staff. The services of these facilities can then be offered to several local laboratories at a competitive rate.
This core facility concept somewhat departs from how traditionally academic research is carried out. It is not a collaboration, because users often have to pay for the services they use. It is also not an external company who provides standard research compounds and material, but rather a service partner who often has to deal with very customer-specific requests.
Thus, core facility managers find themselves in a variety of different roles which demand a broad set of skills beyond what was acquired in their academic training. Managing budgets, marketing facility services, negotiating with suppliers and clients, dealing with hierarchy, dealing with conflicts in a team or recruiting the right people are some of the challenges core facility manages typically face.
German BioImaging, a network of microscopists and imaging specialists, are aware of these challenges and hired us to improve the leadership and management skills of microscopy and imaging facility managers in Germany.
German BioImaging was initiated in 2010 with the aim of fostering interaction and exchange of information within the German bioimaging community. They are coordinated by the Bio Imaging Centre at the University in Konstanz and the Life Imaging Centre at Freiburg University. the network currently comprises almost 50 facilities all over Germany.
We are very much looking forward to this course in October this year and registration is now open. What is already clear at this stage is that it is not only group leaders and senior post docs who have leadership roles in an academic setting, but also the managers of core facilities.