Core Facilities are playing an increasingly important role in modern research infrastructures at universities. They allow for more effective resource utilization and technical specialization for experimental studies.

However, especially in the biomedical field, the outsourcing of experiments from the normal research process increases

  1. the risk of losing information due to new challenges in data transfer 
  2. the danger of reduced data quality due to the neglect of quality requirements.

Research scientists using the service of a Core Facility (CF) often have a lower understanding of the specific experimental methodology than the stuff within the CF. This can lead to a misinterpretation of results if there is no systematic quality assurance at the interface between the core facility and the scientists. There are no systematic quality assurance solutions for this interface. However, this is urgently needed, therefore, we propose within the Q-CoFa project the following steps: 

  1. a detailed determination of the status quo of different CFs, 
  2. the development of proposed solutions and their testing in practice, and 
  3. a publication of Recommendations to avoid errors at the interface between the CF and the end user.

Q-CoFa is being implemented in the Interdisciplinary Neurobehavioral Core (INBC) of Heidelberg University. It offers an ideal test environment due to its broad range of methods. Nevertheless, further CF will be integrated into the development and all proposed solutions will be designed that national and international institutions can directly adapt the recommendations. Q-CoFa thus provides the foundation for improving the communication and data transfer processes at the interfaces between different institutions within a university – with the ultimate goal of error prevention and optimization of research processes.

The project started on July 1st, 2019, and is funded for two years.