Best practices for core facilities: handling external customers

J Biomol Tech. 2013 Jul;24(2):87-97. doi: 10.7171/jbt.13-2402-001.


This article addresses the growing interest among U.S. scientific organizations and federal funding agencies in strengthening research partnerships between American universities and the private sector. It outlines how core facilities at universities can contribute to this partnership by offering services and access to high-end instrumentation to both nonprofit organizations and commercial organizations. We describe institutional policies (best practices) and procedures (terms and conditions) that are essential for facilitating and enabling such partnerships. In addition, we provide an overview of the relevant federal regulations that apply to external use of academic core facilities and offer a set of guidelines for handling them. We conclude by encouraging directors and managers of core facilities to work with the relevant organizational offices to promote and nurture such partnerships. If handled appropriately, we believe such partnerships can be a win-win situation for both organizations that will support research and bolster the American economy.

Keywords: ABRF; IRS; OMB; academic-corporate partnership; unrelated business income.

MeSH terms

  • Drug Industry*
  • Humans
  • Research
  • Universities*