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J Biomol Tech. 2010 September; 21(3 Suppl): S69.
PMCID: PMC2918055

Building Inter-Core Partnerships: Case History of the Analytical Instrumentation Facility Core



Last year, a Request For Information from the National Center for Research Resources gathered input from NIH funded core facility users, operators and administrators on improving core facilities. NCRR held a workshop during the summer to discuss the issues raised which was followed by a Request For Applications to support core consolidation. The AIFC is a biological mass spectrometry core with a history of building relationships with other core facilities ranging from dialogue, to partnership, to full-fledged merger. Using this as a case study, I examine the factors involved in developing relationships between core facilities. In situations of limited trust or common purpose, creating a dialogue through events and discussion forums can initiate contact. Where cores provide related services, a partnership for sample flow can expand the offerings of small core facilities while avoiding service duplication. Finally, when cores provide overlapping services, merger can result in more cost effective use of resources. The hurdles to be overcome include bridging different organizational units, combining multiple sources of funding, maintaining core identity, and balancing competing user and worker interests. These examples illustrate the variety of interactions possible to enhance core facility operation and integration within the local community.

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