Washington Update

FASEB Releases New Report on Shared Research Resources

By: Naomi Charalambakis
Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Earlier this month, the FASEB Shared Research Resources (SRRs) Task Force released its final report, “Maximizing Shared Research Resources — Part III: Addressing Systemic Challenges and Opportunities,” outlining strategies to improve SRR recognition and sustainability. Shared resources, often located at institution core facilities, provide efficient and widespread access to cutting-edge technologies and scientific expertise. The new report builds upon Parts I and II of the FASEB Maximizing Shared Research Resources report and demonstrates the value SRRs bring to the research community.

In Part III, the Task Force identifies five key objectives fundamental to advancing SRRs and their impact on biomedical research progress:

  • Improve institutional stewardship of SRRs
  • Expand access to SRRs
  • Grow a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive SRR workforce
  • Increase and sustain investments in SRRs
  • Prioritize sustainability in SRR decision-making

To achieve these goals, the report provides implementation strategies for institutions, funding agencies, and other stakeholders to promote SRRs and their role in enhancing research productivity. For example, Section I of the report, “Regional, Institutional, and National Strategies,” underscores the need for partnerships both within institutions and across institutional boundaries. By developing regional SRR capabilities—such as through regional training opportunities and internships—institutions can foster equitable access to SRRs. Coordinated partnerships are particularly important for expanding SRR access to early- and mid-career scientists as well as underrepresented minority researchers.

The report also emphasizes funding agencies’ unique position to lead by example in supporting and incentivizing resource sharing. Among other recommendations, Part II of the report, “Role of Stakeholders and Funding Agencies,” discusses the need for funding agencies to expand existing mechanisms such as the National Institutes of Health G20 and C06 grant mechanisms and the National Science Foundation’s Major Research Instrumentation Program to drive innovation. Similarly, funding agencies could integrate incentives for the SRR workforce to educate future scientists about SRR career opportunities.

Recommendations are compiled in the final section of the report as summary tables with suggested actions for stakeholders, institutions, small institutions, and funding agencies. To read more about SRRs and their contribution to scientific progress, visit FASEB’s resources.