Shared Instruments inside a Research Group
Example: Dr. Chad Mirkin group at Northwestern University
Dr. Chad A. Mirkin's group focuses on developing methods for controlling the architecture of molecules and materials on the 1-100 nm length scale, and utilizing such structures in the development of analytical tools that can be used in the areas of chemical and biological sensing, lithography, catalysis, and optics.
There are 10+ instruments and tools in Dr. Mirkin's group, including AFMs, Confocal Raman, evaporators, etc. These instruments are shared among the group members.
In order for group members to better arrange experiments, Dr. Mirkin's group decided to use the free FOM scheduler. Although there is no hardware access control to avoid unauthorized use of instruments, the professional FOM calendar meets the needs of Dr. Mirkin's group. Group members can now plan their use of group instruments online. The group leader can now easily track the activity of each instrument.
Click here to start using the free online FOM scheduling service
(To ensure seriousness, we charge $100 installation fee. Once installed, the use of the service is free.)
Manage Users and Instruments in a Core Facility
Example: Nano Research Facility at Washington University in St. Louis
The Nano Research Facility (NRF) at Washington University in St. Louis is a member laboratory of the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN), supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF). NRF includes a micro- and nano-fabrication lab (clean room), surface characterization lab, particle technology lab, and bio-imaging lab. NRF is available to both academic and industrial users nation-wide.
As a member of NNIN, NRF is required to submit quarterly reports to NSF about the users and activities of the shared facilities. NRF leaders purchased the standard license of FOM to help manage the facility. The FOM team created customized reports for NRF following the guidelines set by NSF. At end of each quarter, NRF staff download reports from FOM and submit directly to NSF.
Besides reporting to NSF, FOM provides all the functions for accounting, management and online scheduling of shared instrument resources. Accounting functions include electronic tracking of all instrument use and associated charges, special services provided by technical staff to researchers, training hours and charges, and consumables charges. Upload of charges to accounting is automated. Management functions include database reporting by multiple criteria, such as PI, user name, department or external company and instrument.
FOM saved a lot of time of NRF staff so that they can concentrate on more important research works.
Manage Multiple Facilities Campus-Wide
Example: FOM centralized management at Northwestern University
Northwestern University has more than 30 shared and core facilities. Most of these facilities charge internal and external users to support mainetance of the shared instruments. Each user of the facility has one or more internal financial accounts. At end of each month, facility managers collect usage records and submit internal vouchers (Journals) to Northwestern Accounting system.
In early 2007, Northwestern University started Project Café, also known as the Financial Management Systems Replacement Initiative, to replace the old financial system CUFS with a web-based PeopleSoft Financials product. This initiative was planned to completely change the way Northwestern conducts its business in areas such as grants management, expenditure tracking, budegt analysis, and purchasing.
To comply with the new NU finanical system, FOM version 2 was released on December 1, 2008 (the same day that Café system started go live!). The new version of FOM was designed with Java, and is fully compatible with NUFS system. With its integrated communicaiton with several Café servers, FOM provides a) single-sign-on through Northwestern NetID system, b) dynamic validation of user financial accounts, c) automatic generation of internal billing journals.
Due to its high compatibility with NU central financial system, FOM has been selected by more than 10 core facilities at Northwestern to manage their facilities. These core facilities are hosted on a single FOM server. It is as simple as three mouse clicks to add a new facility. More and more facilities are joining the FOM community.
FOM is highly modularized. Therefore it is relatively easy to tailor its modules to fit any institutions. We are looking forward to working with you and duplicate the NU model to your institution.
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