Core Technologies provide access to specialized expertise, instrumentation, and knowledge. The common guiding principle behind these different types of facilities is that through the efforts of dedicated professional scientists, managers, and administrators, shared research platforms ensure more efficient resource utilization, as well as specialist instruction, support, and management. Thus, core technologies take many forms ranging from individual pieces of shared research equipment to large international infrastructures.
Core facilities serve the academic life science researchers seeking specialized expertise, service, and access to advanced instrumentation in many fields including proteomics, metabolomics, electron and light microscopy, high‐throughput screening, analysis or sample handling, and synthetic chemistry.
Although there are currently a variety of different models for core facility operation, in many cases, core facilities originated as laboratories that specialized in a set of techniques. As these techniques became more specialized and complex, dedicated groups were set up to provide expert technological services to other scientists.
The number, variety, and size of core facilities are all growing as life science research technologies continue to become more complex, and researchers increasingly require access to a wider range of core technologies. Large research institutions and universities, as well as pharmaceutical and biotech companies, are embracing the core facility concept as an efficient and cost-effective way to leverage research activities and ensure appropriate technical and operational oversight.
The area of core technologies includes a wide variety of career paths including technical staff, facility managers, and research administrators. Frequently, core facility staff are scientists who enjoy the technical and methodological aspects of research and want to develop an alternative career pathway. As expert scientists in their area, they can provide guidance to their colleagues starting from the design of experiments through data acquisition, final analysis and preparation for publication. Core facility managers integrate operational duties, such as budgetary and staffing oversight, along with high level technical expertise. Finally, many larger institutes and universities are including core facility administrators at the highest levels of research oversight.
The life sciences represent any field of science or medicine focused on increasing knowledge or improving human health. Biology, chemistry, agriculture, physics, computing, mathematics and medicine are all contributing to how we understand the life around us and how we strive to make a healthier and safer planet. Anyone who considers themselves working in a life science can become a member of CTLS.