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J Biomol Tech. 2010 September; 21(3 Suppl): S68.
PMCID: PMC2918173

Integrating Campus-based Research Resources for under $250: The Cores.montana.edu Project

G. Orser and R. Storment
Montana State University, Functional Genomics Core Facility, Bozeman, MT, United States

Abstract

CF-4

Montana State University (MSU) receives funding from the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) through the IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) and two Centers Of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE). Montana INBRE and the COBREs are the primary source of financial support for technical support within MSU's core facilities. Historically, the creation of a core facility is has been lead by motivated investigators, and facility space and website hosting (if any) is usually provided at the departmental level. This creates the perception that core facilities are primarily department based resources, fostering redundancy, and impairing cores' sustainability. To address this problem from the ground up, MSU's core facilities have collaborated to create a central web site detailing research resources throughout the campus and the western region, with links to the Vermont Genetics Network core facilities database and ABRF white and yellow pages, as well as unified campus-wide seminars calendar. Because few cores have access to IT support, the website uses easily mastered and stable open-source CMS software (CMS-Made Simple), hosted on a Bioinformatics Core server. The “plug and play” nature of the site means that departments need only add a single RESEARCH RESOURCES link to their own menu. The seminars calendar encourages daily use by investigators, and MSU-branded web template reinforces the institutional status of the cores. A final benefit of the project is that it has led to more interactions between core facilities themselves. Future grassroots efforts include: (1) monthly core staff gatherings, (2) establishing a shared-governance advisory committee, (3) researching open-source LIMS systems for centralized data management, billing and analysis pipelines, (4) developing common core facility role descriptions and career ladders, and (5) expanding outreach. This work is funded in part through NCRR INBRE award P20 RR016455, COBRE awards P20 RR020185 and P20 RR024237.


Articles from Journal of Biomolecular Techniques : JBT are provided here courtesy of The Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities