This core facility management course was developed for and with core facility managers.
Core facilities, designed to serve as central hubs for technical and analytic services, are shaping the future of science.
“In short, core facilities aim to make the best out of technology. On the one hand, core facilities serve as a meeting point for users, which enhances collaboration. On the other, core facilities offer three different service levels: first, they attend requests for new methods/techniques and are in charge of developing and testing; second, they provide an introduction to the system and support the users while performing the experiments; and third, they offer scientific support in the design phase of research projects.”Stefanie Weidtkamp-Peters, chair of the German Society for Microscopy and Image Analysis (GerBI-GMB e.V.)
As leaders of those units, core facility managers, often academically trained scientists, find themselves in a new role that demands a broad set of skills, some of which they haven’t been usually trained in during their scientific career.
“Early on, we detected a need for core facility managers to be trained both in administrative and business concepts such as budgeting.”Elisa May, former chair/co-founder of the German Society for Microscopy and Image Analysis (GerBI-GMB e.V)
Managing budgets, structuring the facility to increase productivity and efficiency, recruiting the right people, negotiating with partners, clients and vendors, dealing with hierarchy or addressing role conflicts are some of the challenges core facility managers typically face.
To address these issues, in 2013, GerBI-GMB, in collaboration with hfp consulting, a company specializing in supporting scientists to improve their leadership and management skills, developed an intense, interactive, and highly specialized workshop.
“GerBI’s history and that of the course are intertwined, and were developed hand-in-hand, as we were the first to offer/develop this kind of specific training in Germany, it also helped increase our visibility.”Elisa May, former chair/co-founder of the German Society for Microscopy and Image Analysis (GerBI-GMB e.V)
Taking the course for principal investigators as a blueprint, the specific content and structure of the new course for facility managers was designed to include basic concepts of finance administration and budget management. A first pilot course served to fine-tune the workshop. Since then, the course has been running at least once annually, and since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, is also available in a digital format. If you are settled in Germany and your facility deals with microscopy, register for the course directly at the webpage of the German Bioimaging Association (GerBI-GMB e.V.).
“From my experience, all aspects related to business concepts and the interactive exercise to negotiate/lobby with authorities were the main takeaway messages from the course. I think that it also helps increase self-awareness and develop the right attitude to impulse administrative changes and develop core facilities’ infrastructures.”Stefanie Weidtkamp-Peters, chair of the German Society for Microscopy and Image Analysis (GerBI-GMB e.V.