Operations

This page is only available to logged in users. Please login with your NetID and password to continue.

Expectations

  • It is expected that a Core Facility serves the needs of the research community at large extending across multiple departments and, ideally, schools. A substantial percentage of user fees received by the facility should be from investigators outside of a single department.
  • It is expected that a Core Facility will have a Faculty Director who oversees the operation and finances of the facility, and an Operations Director who handles the day-to-day management of the facility including technical support for the users.
  • It is expected that a Core Facility has a Faculty Advisory Committee that meets on a regular basis and provides advice for the Director(s). Members of the committee should be users of the facility and represent multiple departments. Ad hoc members of the committee include the Director(s) as well as faculty who are non-users with expertise in the technology or management of core facilities.
  • It is expected that a Core Facility will submit an Annual Cost Study and obtain approval from the Office of Cost Studies before the start of each fiscal year (see Cost Study section, below).
  • If relevant, it is expected that a Core Facility will submit information annually regarding Unrelated Business Income to the Office for Research (see UBI section, below).
  • It is expected that a Core Facility will submit an Annual Report to the Office for Research. Submission of a complete Annual Report is required of any facility that wishes to request support from the Office for Research.
  • Each year the Office for Research will conduct an annual User Survey of each Core Facility (see User Survey section, below). Results of the survey will be provided to each Faculty Director and Operations Director of a facility so that it can be incorporated into the Annual Report. The latter must include the results of the survey and address any major concerns by users and how such concerns will be remedied.
  • Based upon the User Survey and Annual Report, it is expected that the Faculty Director and Operations Director will work with the Office for Research to outline objectives for the coming year.
  • It is expected that the Operations Director will maintain an up-to-date website and database of users, income and expenditures.
  • It is expected that the Operations Director will regularly update the contact information and resource list in the database used by the Core Facilities Search Engine.
  • It is expected that the Faculty Director and Operations Director will participate in the Core Facilities Review Panel when requested by the Director of Core Facilities.

Annual Reports

Any core facility that is supported by or plans to request support from the Office for Research should submit an Annual Report by May 1st (5:00 PM). **The report should be uploaded via SharePoint (log in with your netID and password). Instructions to submit via SharePoint can be found here.

The narrative section should be submitted as a PDF file, and budget and usage data should be included using Excel templates provided online (either as a single file with separate tabs or as separate files).

Note: When answering questions about the "past year" for the Usage Reports, please use the April 1st to March 31st calendar year (not fiscal or calendar year). For the Budget Projections, refer to the fiscal year calendar (September 1st through August 31st).

The following information should be included in the Annual Report:
  1. General Management (2 page limit)
    • History & Mission - provide a brief history of your facility (including the year it was created, and dept. or center of origin); briefly describe its mission
    • Management - describe the responsibilities of each faculty person involved in the daily management of the facility (Executive Director, Faculty Director, Operations Director, Manager); provide the names and academic affiliations of the people in these positions; describe any unique expertise that enables them to fulfill these roles; list the per cent effort of each person; describe any change in the positions, responsibilities or per cent effort in the past year; describe who handles the billing and payroll for your facility
    • Achievements - for each member of the management team, provide a description of promotions, honors and awards during the past year that are directly related to the facility (put in Appendix)
    • Oversight - provide the names and academic affiliations of the Chairperson and members of the Faculty Advisory Committee (Please Note: directors and mangers are ex officio members of the Committee who may organize, but not lead, the meetings); describe any change in these positions or responsibilities during the past year; list the dates of each meeting of the Committee during the past year and provide the minutes of these meetings in the Appendix
    • (NEW) Research Safety and Business Continuity Plans– where applicable, certify that all staff have completed any required research safety training for all relevant safety categories, and that ISIS is up-to-date; provide assurance that your facility’s business continuity plan is up to date and stored online in SharePoint. Follow this link to upload the most current business continuity plan for your facility, https://share.northwestern.edu/dept/OR-Core/SitePages/Home.aspx
  2. Research and Technical Staff (2 page limit)
    • Qualifications and Responsibilities - describe the responsibilities of each research or technical staff person (non-faculty) involved in the daily operation of the facility (Manager, Research Associate, Research Technician, Research Specialist, etc.); provide the name, a brief job description, and qualifications of the people in these positions (full-time and part-time); describe any unique expertise that enables them to fulfill these roles; describe any change in these positions or responsibilities during the past year
    • Professional Development & Achievements - provide a brief description of noteworthy accomplishments of the staff during the past year; these may include, but are not limited to, development of a new technique in the facility, new skills or mastery of new techniques, attendance at seminars, courses, workshops, national or international meetings (especially those with a core facility focus)
    • Presentations at Regional, National and International Conferences - describe presentations at national and international conferences by staff during the past year (title of presentation, conference name, location, dates); make special note of any conference dedicated specifically to core facility issues (e.g., ABRF, MWACD, GLIIFCA, ALMA, etc.)
  3. Facility Publications and Grants (put in Appendix)
    • Publications - list all publications by members of the facility during the past year
    • Grants - list all grants submitted by facility personnel during the past year along with funding status
  4. Resource Management (2 page limit)
    • Instrument-Based Facilities - provide a brief description of each instrument available for use in the facility; Put spreadsheet in Appendix.
    • Service-Based Facilities - provide a brief description of each service and/or product provided by the facility; use the same Excel spreadsheet provided above for instruments (insert services in place of instruments) and only complete worksheets 1-3.  Put spreadsheet in Appendix.
    • New Instruments and Services - describe any new instruments or services that were added to the facility in the past year and how they were funded; explain how they will be incorporated into the management plan of the facility
    • Grant Applications for New Equipment - describe any grant application for new instruments during the past year (granting agency, program, submission date, review score) and the outcome of the application process; if not funded, then explain how you plan to respond to the reviewers; include a copy of the Summary Statement from the Review Panel in the Appendix
    • Space Management - list total space (sq. ft.) of facility; describe where the instruments and services are located relative to the offices of the Manager and staff (campus, buildings, rooms); a floor plan with identification of facility space is required for facilities that extend beyond a single room; explain any space issues that interfere with the efficient operation of the facility; describe any use of space off campus and why this is necessary; if space is needed in the coming year (e.g., due to a new instrument, employee), describe how much is needed (sq. ft.), its purpose, and any services required (e.g., 220V)
    • Budget - provide a budget for the past fiscal year, the current year and the anticipated budget for next year (put in Appendix). Please include all sources of revenue including grants, school and department subsidies. If there is a disparity between expenses and income (net deficit or net income), then explain how this disparity will be remedied in next year's budget; include your cost study for the current fiscal year.  Put spreadsheet in Appendix.
  5. Operating Support Request (3 page limit) - if you are requesting operating support for a facility, then please provide the information requested in the funding section.
  6. Customer Satisfaction Survey (1 page limit)
    • User Survey - include the results of the 2011 User Survey (put in Appendix) and address any problems raised by your customers
  7. Customer Base (put in Appendix)
    • Customer Data - using the date above (Resource Management-Facilities), evaluate the distribution of the customer base data by department and Principle Investigator
    • Change in Customer Base - compare the size of your user base with the previous year; identify major trends in the use of any equipment or service indicating a potential shift in the need for that instrument or service;provide an analysis of how such a trend will impact long-term support for the instrument or service and how this might be remedied
  8. Customer Publications and Grants (put in Appendix)
    • Publications - to the extent possible, list all publications of customers that involved data generated in your facility (alternatively, you may list up to 5 high-profile articles published in the past year); list customers by school and department
    • Grants - to the extent possible, list all grants submitted by customers that involved data generated in your facility (alternatively, you may list up to 5 high-profile grants awarded in the past year); list customers by school and department
  9. Educational Activities (1 page limit)
    • Graduate and Undergraduate Courses - describe any involvement of your facility in graduate and undergraduate courses (include course title, instructor, quarter in which it was taught, number of students); explain how this contributes to the mission of your facility
    • Workshops - describe any workshops or tutorials sponsored by your facility that were aimed at educating users of your facility; explain how this contributes to the mission of your facility
  10. Outreach Activities (1 page limit)
    • K-12 Education - describe any educational opportunities supported by your facility that involved groups outside of the university, e.g., weekend or evening programs for pre-college students and/or teachers; explain how this contributes to the mission of your facility
    • Commercial Customers and Partnerships - describe any involvement with companies as either customers or partners with your facility; explain how this contributes to the mission of your facility
    • Pilot Testing of New Equipment or Services - describe any testing of new equipment or services on loan in your facility and whether this resulted in pilot data for grant applications; list the grant applications (PI, funding agency, etc); explain how this contributes to the mission of your facility
  11. Communication of Services (1 page limit)
    • Webpage Development - describe efforts to upgrade and maintain your facility webpage during the past year
    • Research Facilities Fairs - describe participation in any Research Fairs on campus during the past year; address whether these were useful activities and how they might be improved
    • Open Houses, Etc. - describe any open houses or similar activities that your facility participated in during the past year; provide feedback as to whether they were useful activities and how they might be improved
  12. Self-Assessment (2 page limit)
    • Describe the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (challenges) to the facility and how they will be addressed in the coming year
    • Provide OR's feedback on last year's annual report and how the facility is addressing any issues raised by the feedback
    • If your facility is undergoing Program Review this year, expand your assessment to include what the facility has done since the prior program review (or since the facility was created) to address issues raised by the review or by OR in its annual feedback (additional 2 page limit)
  13. Signatures
    • Signatures are required for all members of the Faculty Advisory Committee indicating that each has read and approved the Annual Report; preparation of the Annual Report is an opportune time to have the Committee meet to discuss the issues raised in the Report and to provide input on decisions that need addressing
  14. Appendix
 

back to top


Program Review

The process of program review is one of the most significant and successful collaborations between the faculty and administration at Northwestern University. Initially proposed by the faculty, the systematic review and evaluation of all academic and administrative units of the University has had a profound effect on University decision-making. Although the principal focus of program review is "evaluative," its primary goal has always been the constructive improvement of all aspects of the University. In regard to core facilities, the process is organized and supported by the Office for Research and administered by the Director of Core Facilities and the Associate Vice President for Research.

For more information about the program review, download the Reviewer’s Guide here.

back to top


User Surveys

The Office for Research in cooperation with the Feinberg School of Medicine conducts an annual university-wide User Survey of each core facility. Directors and Managers of core facilities will be notified in February of the survey's availability and how to access it on the web. It is the responsibility of each Director or Manager to send out a request to their users to complete the survey in a timely manner (within two weeks). Results of the survey will be provided to each Director and Manager of a facility so that it can be incorporated into their Annual Report (due in May). The latter must include the survey results and address any major concerns of users and how they will be remedied.

back to top


NUcore

NUcore is a transaction processing system that permits core facilities to accept and track orders, and to bill for their services. NUcore was developed by the Feinberg Research Office in collaboration with the NU Office for Research and the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center (RHLCCC).

NUcore is available to all shared facilities at Northwestern University. Facilities that receive funding from the Office for Research, FSM Research Office, or the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center are highly encouraged to use NUcore or an equivalent program. If you are interested in using NUcore, the first step is to contact the appropriate office to schedule an overview presentation. This 90 minute introduction covers all aspects of NUcore, including the design and goals of the system, types of products that the system handles, workflow, billing, account management and the user experience.

To request support, please email nucore@northwestern.edu

For more information about NUcore, please visit this site.

NUcore Tech Talk Links

04/23/15: http://northwesternuniversity.adobeconnect.com/p6icjtkf9fr/

07/07/15: http://northwesternuniversity.adobeconnect.com/p5sh0sg47ig/

10/06/15: http://northwesternuniversity.adobeconnect.com/p85wfhv95wg/

02/25/16: http://northwesternuniversity.adobeconnect.com/p57k6re5513/ (Card Connect PowerPoint available here)

05/24/16:  http://northwesternuniversity.adobeconnect.com/p6b9fqyy7dh/

08/23/16: http://northwesternuniversity.adobeconnect.com/p8wucepk1bv/

12/01/16: http://northwesternuniversity.adobeconnect.com/p2614mzlsga/

back to top