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University of Wisconsin–Madison

Research Cores

Marsha Mailick, vice chancellor for research and graduate education, is excited to announce the establishment of the Office of Campus Research Cores, which will help coordinate research core resources across campus. This initiative will help improve access to research cores and the effectiveness and efficiency of campus research resources.

The establishment of the Office of Campus Research Cores is based on the hard work of the Working Group on Scientific Core Resources, which spent months studying UW–Madison’s campus cores and benchmarking core resources at peer institutions. The number and forms of research cores on campus are vast and very diverse. The workgroup did not attempt to capture the full range of cores on campus but rather focus on a manageable subset which could be used to develop recommendations. The group issued a final report and the Office of the VCRGE has begun to implement several of its recommendations, using a more comprehensive definition of research cores which includes all campus research cores. For starters, Dr. Isabelle Girard has been appointed as director of the office.

Working Group on Scientific Core Resources Report and Recommendations

Read about the increasingly important role of core facilities for collaborative research in: Institutional core facilities: prerequisites for breakthroughs in the life sciences (Meder at al., 2016).


Research cores are centralized, shared research resources that provide access to instruments, technologies, services, as well as expert consultation, training, and other services to campus researchers. The typical core facility is a discrete unit with dedicated personnel, equipment, and space for operations. In general, core facilities recover their costs, or a portion of their costs, in the form of user fees that are charged to an investigator’s funds, often federal grants.


  • Readily accessible information on campus cores through a central web portal
  • Campus core facilities have the capacity to serve all who need their services
  • Defined processes to facilitate local decision making concerning phases of the core life cycle
  • Scientific synergies through collaboration


  • Each core facility is used to its fullest
  • Reduced redundancy
  • Increased utilization by internal and external users

Financial sustainability

  • Cost savings and increased revenue generation
  • Best practices in operations, management
  • Range of methodologies for subsidization

Implementation schedule over the next 18 months

  • Appoint a Campus Research Cores Advisory Committee and establish operating procedures.
  • Create a comprehensive list of campus cores.
  • Create a UW Campus Research Cores website that contains a portal of cores and links to cores websites as well as a library of forms for use in management, including a list of required reports.