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September 16, 2015

Industry Leader Reveals Trends, Struggles, Solutions Reported In Core Facility Management

In February 2015, iLab distributed its fifth annual core facility management benchmarking study. The survey was sent to core directors and managers at hospitals, universities, and research institutes. Through the benchmarking study, iLab is able to gain and share valuable information on the trends of core research facilities, such as changes in utilization, satisfaction, and sources of income over time. The survey garnered 260 individual responses, representing over 50 different types of core facilities from 160 research institutions in North America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region.

By comparing the results of the past five surveys, iLab found that both institutional support and grants to the institution for core support have fallen. Not surprisingly, generating revenue and meeting the budget ranked as the top challenge core managers face. According to this year’s study, 69% of core managers said increasing utilization was a top goal. Top ways in which they would like to increase usage include “increasing internal customer base” and “offering new services”.

“The idea of researchers and labs looking for revenue may seem like a strange concept,” said Alicia Cravens, iLab Head of Marketing. “In reality though, staying at the forefront of scientific technology is expensive. In order for a core facility to remain sustainable, it must operate just like any other small business. This means adopting a more efficient, business-based model and learning how to market services and attract those limited dollars.”

The study found that by streamlining resources and workflow with an electronic core facility management system, core managers are able to do more in less time. In fact, users of electronic systems reported spending 11% less time working on administrative tasks each month. Further, those same respondents boasted a greater satisfaction with their system than those without.

Cravens continued, “With time gained through increased efficiency, the core facility can devote time and other resources to its growth. This starts a cycle where growth attracts more customers whose revenue then allows for more growth. Not only does this contribute to a sustainable business model, but, more importantly, it empowers the scientific community to advance discovery faster and more efficiently.”

The full results of the 5th Annual Core Facility Management Benchmarking Study may be viewed here: Benchmarking Study