The Core Facilities Concept: Path Towards Sustainable Research Infrastructure

Partners from institutions of the Alliance4Life (A4L) consortium, from CEITEC MU Brno and FNUSA-ICRC, visited Biomedical Research Center SAS (BMC SAS) on 4 December and 5 December 2019, with the aim to introduce the process and the methodology of implementation and operation of the „core facilities“ concept (CF) which have already been introduced or are currently implemented at their workplaces.

At the meeting of the heads of research departments and employees responsible for the operation of the specialized laboratories of BMC SAS, Kateřina Vágnerová (CEITEC MU), Michal Janota a Kamila Kočí (FNUSA-ICRC), gave a detailed presentations of the strategy of implementation of the CF concept, a pilot phase of the CF operation, the methodology of financing and evaluating the efficiency of utilization, benefits for users and institutions, as well as barriers which they had to overcome throughout the process. They pointed out advantages of the so called matrix cost model with stable parameters necessary for the long-term planning of project budgets, the communication with users in order to meet their requirements based on CF staff expert opinion, rules of results dedication and other aspects of maintaining the sustainability conditions of existing infrastructure.

At the same time, they expressed their willingness to share not only experience, but also background materials and the entire online information and ordering platform, which was compiled in ICRC, with BMC SAS and other partners of the A4L consortium. Questions of the participants during the discussion reflected not only the specific conditions for the sustainability of infrastructure within BMC SAS but also the current unfavourable situation in Slovakia (SR) related to long-term lack of national support of sustainability, the lack of capital resources and the missing Roadmap of research infrastructures SR which would define national priorities in this area.

After the meeting guests from the Czech Republic visited some of the specialized infrastructures of BMC SAS, e.g. proteomic laboratory and the portfolio of services and research activities was introduced to them.

The meeting devoted to the CF concept, which is the part of a long-term development strategy of BMC SAS, was a useful source of information for all participants. Experiences of the institutions that are implementing it are a very valuable inspiration and motivation for BMC SAS to start this process and thus ensure the best possible sustainability of existing infrastructure under given conditions.