Core Facilities Initiative
Central laboratories and core facilities have become increasingly important and strategic for research and development institutions. The last two decades have witnessed a marked shift towards using more complex expensive equipment and sophisticated systems in various R&D areas. This has led to both rapid evolution and increased-utilization of institutional and nationwide central laboratories and core facilities models.
Core facilities are now being recognized as important and essential strategic infrastructure elements, required for enhancing R&D competitiveness in thriving and successful institutions. Core facilities typically provide researchers with access to highly specialized and cutting-edge equipment and services that are otherwise too expensive to run within individual research laboratories, or require high technical expertise. In addition, core facilities provide skilled and highly trained personnel capable of efficiently running equipment, performing complex experiments, training users, analyzing and extrapolating experimental data, and providing expert scientific and technical recommendations for researchers and users.
Goals of Core Facilities Initiative:
Realizing the strategic importance of central laboratories and core facilities, KACST has devoted more efforts to develop and upgrade its infrastructure and to establish and manage new core facilities and advanced fabrication and prototyping workshops. KACST aims at catalyzing and promoting a collaborative, multidisciplinary R&D culture within the Kingdom. KACST has a large number of highly equipped and advanced laboratories and workshops that already provide researchers within KACST and beyond with state-of-the-art technologies and services. In this regard and in its efforts for continuous improvement, in line with the Kingdom’s futuristic vision, KACST has appointed a ‘Core Labs Committee’ that includes members from all KACST’s research institutions and several other administrative and support departments. The main goal of the ‘Core Labs Committee’ is to establish and develop a Core Facilities Program in KACST to achieve the maximum and most efficient utilization of financial and human resources in KACST laboratories, and to help in establishing state-of-the-art R&D infrastructure of international standards.
The Core Facilities Program aims to:
- Conduct comprehensive assessment and evaluation of KACST’s laboratories, facilities, and infrastructure.
- Identify repeated R&D themes, duplicated laboratories in the same field, and unnecessary duplications and redundancy of equipment and staffing.
- Propose groundwork guidelines to reorganize, restructure, merge, and consolidate laboratories and facilities to achieve maximum-possible utilization of resources.
- Develop and propose mechanisms and systems to upgrade existing core facilities and recruit qualified technical staff.
- Work towards the establishment of new core facilities (national and local).
- Develop a core facilities management system and an online searchable dynamic database for KACST laboratories and core facilities.
- Establish a dedicated training network and development program for core facility personnel.
- Update KACST’s purchasing and procurement process to avoid duplicate purchase of expensive equipment.