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The Scientific Facilities Management System: Optimizing Research Assets

May 1, 2013

What if locating and reserving lab equipment and facilities was as easy as booking a hotel room online? The Scientific Facilities Management System (SFMS) seeks to make this vision a reality by creating an online centralized "storefront" for research equipment and lab services available on campus.

Research labs and facilities will be able to use the SFMS to offer services or equipment they would like to make available. Fellow researchers may then find and reserve services/equipment directly online. Once a service has been rendered, the provider allocates and bills for the service directly through the system — a great improvement over current manual processes.

By providing a single resource listing of all facilities and equipment available, the SFMS will reduce redundant purchases of equipment already owned by Stanford.

For example, researchers will be able to easily locate and reserve high-powered microscope systems currently available at the Cell Sciences Imaging Facility instead of searching for and potentially purchasing the same (expensive) equipment on their own.

The High-Throughput Bioscience Center (HTBC) was the first research facility to go live on the SFMS in late October. In the very first month that the SFMS was active, the HTBC had 19 customers (including customers external to Stanford) use the system to reserve lab equipment and services.

The Cell Sciences Imaging Facility (CSIF) will be the second facility to transition to the SFMS in January 2013. Additional labs and facilities will come on board in subsequent waves throughout 2013.

Contact Nirmala Balasubramanian for more information about the Scientific Facilities Management System.