An advanced materials facility that transforms research into world-class companies. A hub that leverages big data so Canada can lead in a digital world. A clinical research lab that rapidly advances treatments for devastating brain disorders and diseases. A centre of excellence for neuro-engineering research.
What do these Simon Fraser University research spaces have in common? They are part of a new Core Facilities Program model that SFU’s Office of the Vice-President, Research has championed and is now rolling out to the university.
SFU has a long history of shared research infrastructure among its faculties, departments and schools, and even among faculty members who grant other research groups access to their labs.
Over the last 10 years, the university has invested in four purpose-built core facilities that provide access to shared infrastructure across the SFU community, and beyond. These facilities promote shared resources on a university scale, which provides opportunities to acquire and share world-class equipment and to realize economies of scale in facility management.
Now, SFU’s new Core Facility Program is extending these opportunities and resources to other university research labs that meet the program’s prerequisites.
SFU defines a core facility as a shared research resource that supports a wide community of users. This resource may include unique physical infrastructure accompanied by expertise or services based around that infrastructure. However, unique physical infrastructure is not a requirement—the shared resource may be focused on specialized services that leverage university talent and expertise.
Presently, SFU’s core facilities are: 4D LABS, Big Data, ImageTech Lab and eBrain Lab (coming soon). The Core Facilities Program defines how core facilities are governed and provides common services for all of the facilities. The program also ensures that university core facilities align with SFU’s strategic vision, SFU’s Strategic Research Plan, and that overall administrative overhead is minimized.
“A Core Facility Program allows us to plan for the sustainability of these world-class facilities and to share services and expertise across those facilities,” says Dugan O’Neil, SFU’s associate vice-president, research. “This should benefit our internal research community, but also the community at large, who will have clear way to access our facilities and interact with our research community.”
Academic leaders of SFU’s core facilities: