Light Microscopy Core Facilities, Balancing Service and Science

10392818__originalThe German BioImaging network published an article, which provides any core facility initiative with a detailed description of things to think about, when you start and run a core facility. We therefore thought it is a good idea to also promote the article here.

For those who do not know German BioImaging. German BioImaging is a network of German microscopists and imaging specialists, which is currently supported by the DFG. It was initiated in 2010 with the aim of fostering interaction and exchange of information within the German bioimaging community. And moreover German BioImaging invites all German microscopists to take part in the network.

GermanBioimaging now put together some comprehensive information on Advanced light microscopy core facilities: Balancing service, science and career that has been published in the journal Microscopy Research and Technikum. The “GerBI Best Practice Manual” summarizes the outcome of the German BioImaging workgroups during the first DFG-funding period. And as you might see from the quote listed below, it is not only about technical issues, but also about organizational topics, that should and can be discussed prior to setting up a core facility. Especially, when it comes down to a description of the job of a core facility manager.

A clear job description, including the level of responsibility, the involvement in research work and the amount of teaching load, will help redefining the position and switching to the new role. If the facility is founded following an institutional initiative, these issues usually are discussed beforehand and the candidates are more frequently recruited from outside. The challenge in this case, is to build up the CF de novo in an environment oftentimes lacking expertise and within a time frame set by non-experts.

One of the first objectives after being appointed facility leader is to understand the decision making processes within the hosting institution or department: Who is responsible for the funding, who decides about instrument purchases and employments, how is space allocated? Most likely, several people at different levels will be involved. It is advisable for the facility leader to meet with them in person and illustrate the strategy for building/running the CF. It is important to convey a vision of how the facility could develop within 5 − 10 years. This prognosis should be based on the CF leader’s microscopy expertise and a good knowledge of the research interests of the prospective users.

And here is an index of the topics included in the article “Advanced light microscopy core facilities: Balancing service, science and career”

Planning, Organization, Income and Cost Schedule, Tracking use, Specific Concerns, Safety, Website Training, Authorship, Tours Summary, and the References

And a german version is also available.