The annual BRCF assessment provides information to categorize the individual core facilities into specific lifecycle management stages as shown in Figure 2.
A specific example of a BRCF fast growth core facility is the DNA Sequencing Core Facility, which is characterized by the high scientific demand and rapidly changing technology of next generation sequencing (Shendure & Ji, 2008).
The BRCF Flow Cytometry Core Facility, which provides both analytic and cell sorting activities, is a good example of this type of core facility.
Transitioning Department-based Core Facilities into the Central BRCF Operations
Transitions in key technical personnel, the complexity of the business operations, and significant ongoing costs of service contracts, replacing capital equipment, and space are additional reasons why, on occasion, department-based core facilities may request consideration to transition from a department-based operations to the centralized operations of the BRCF.
In order to determine whether an existing, department-based core facility outside the central authority of the BRCF should be acquired and integrated into the BRCF structure, a consistent and transparent evaluation process was established.
The BRCF Advisory Committee reviews the information and makes a recommendation to the Senior Associate Dean for Research to either incorporate the department-based core facility into the central BRCF or decline the request.
The business strategy not only addressed scientific and operational issues within individual core facilities but also focused on the central administration of the BRCF. Opportunities to increase operational efficiencies and strengthen the administrative arm were identified that will aid in ensuring the continued success and longevity of the BRCF.
The new financial structure has enabled greater transparency of large, complex cores within the BRCF. By aligning revenues and expenses by service lines within an individual core, the evaluation and lifecycle management concept developed for management at the core-level of the BRCF can be applied to managing an individual core facility's service portfolio.
In addition to altering the overall financial structure of the BRCF, the Office of Research worked in partnership with the Dean of the Medical School to establish a new annual budget that reflected the significant growth in the BRCF portfolio.
The BRCF at the University of Michigan Medical School has implemented processes, business practices, and governance models that have allowed more robust management of the core facilities while better meeting the needs of our research community and improving faculty satisfaction with the core facilities' performance (Table 1).