The Research Core Facility Program (RCFP) was initiated by Vice Chancellor for Research Harris Lewin in response to the faculty-driven UC Davis Core Research Facilities and Committee Report. This report highlighted the need for strategic funding and oversight of laboratories providing research services, which have grown organically to include over 170 facilities across campus.
The RCFP is led by Klaus van Benthem, associate professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering & Materials Science, who serves as Faculty Director. In this role, Klaus is responsible for the development and implementation of a strategic plan to establish a robust and sustainable research infrastructure that better serves the campus. He collaborates closely with Associate Director Julie Auger, who joined the team from a similar position at the University of California, San Francisco. Julie’s responsibility is to implement the strategic plan by guiding core facilities with the development of professional business plans and establishing best practices in day-to-day operations. Klaus and Julie both serve ex officio as members of the Research Core Advisory Council (RCAC), which serves in advisory capacity to the Faculty Director and makes recommendations about strategic campus investments and programmatic advances.
Definition of Research Core Facilities
With the objective to ensure the quality, accessibility, transparency, and financial sustainability of research core facility operations for UC Davis, the RCFP distinguishes between Campus Core Facilities and Resource Facilities as follows.
- Shared Resource Facilities (SRFs) play an important role on the UC Davis campus by providing access to scientific instrumentation, expertise and training to meet the needs of a local user base. The size and scope of these operations vary considerably, including for example in the number of dedicated professional staff and the levels of scientific and business management processes.
- A Campus Research Core Facility (CRCF) is a broadly-accessible, shared research facility that provides access to technologies, training and high quality scientific services. Services at these facilities are delivered by experts on a fee-for-service basis to enable, facilitate or enhance the research mission of the university. CRCFs are professionally managed operations with a sustainable business plan and set standards for best practices in facility management and operations. CRCFs serve a broad campus user base and are considered essential to support the scientific mission of UC Davis. CRCF facilities report to the RCFP, but are managed by a faculty director and a technical director. The facility leadership is supported by a facility advisory committee that includes facility clients.
Benefits to Campus Research Core Facilities
- Campus-wide recognition as a model of core facility excellence, translating into increased success in national funding opportunities.
- Eligibility to apply for financial support from the RCFP (e.g. personnel, equipment, maintenance, …).
- Access to core facility management software at subsidized cost.
- Marketing support through the Office of Research and special recognition on the RCFP webpage.
- Opportunity for showcasing services at the annual Office of Research Expo.
CRCF Enhancement Funding
The Campus Research Core Facilities Enhancement Funding Program was designed to make strategic investments in shared research facilities. The goal of this program is to make funding available to support upgrades to instrumentation and the development of new research services to serve faculty, staff and students across the campus.
Other RCFP Initiatives
- Core Administration Software
A new software-based administrative toolset that facilitate user management, reservations for instrumentation, automated monthly centralized billing, ad hoc reporting, definition of recharge rates, and online service requests.
- Service & Equipment Finder
One of the central objectives of the RCFP is to provide a comprehensive, dynamic and searchable database that will help researchers find the services and equipment available at UC Davis, and aid as a resource during faculty recruitment. The development of this database is completed and it is available here.
- Business Contracts for External Clients
The RCFP is exploring the feasibility of offering business contracts that are pre-negotiated with the UC Davis Contracting Office in order to accelerate the process with external users.
- Development of Business Plans
- Research Core Facility Expo
- Core.Facilities: a UC Davis electronic mailing list