We can think of infrastructure both in terms of how the facility physically fits into its home and also how the staff level is arranged hierarchically. The physical issues are dealt with in the Facilities part of this website. As facilities grow, the level of staffing will also increase (though not necessarily always in proportion!) and this can lead to a structure being set in place for personal development of staff as well as a division of labor where different skill sets are employed in different aspects of the facility.
As well as user guides, the core facility should be pro-active in advertisement for potential users. Often, researchers may not be aware that cytometry could be useful to them. A basic guide, publicized either via a website or even a poster near the facility may attract ‘passing trade’. In these instances an in-depth explanation of the facility may not be necessary but should include:
- A short “How it works” guide
- Examples of applications
- Contact details of the facility
A facility will deal with several level of competency and experience of users. There will be a mixture of people who have never seen a cytometer, some who have seen them in use, some who have had ‘hands on’ experience and some that consider themselves to be experienced users. All categories of user should be aware of guidelines that the Core Manager has. These are in place to ensure, as far as possible, the smooth running of the facility. Possible guidelines to consider are:
- An initial ‘interview’ with users. This should be informal but should aim to discover the level of experience of a new user as well as the level of competence. All users should be given a tour of the facility and introduced to any personnel.
- A users guidebook can be useful. This can contain a basic introduction to the facility ie the types of equipment available, the services offered, the core hours of the Laboratory and short biography and contact details of Laboratory personnel.
- Instruction on how the equipment may be book.
- Detailed procedures for machine start-up, shut-down and cleaning
- A basic troubleshooting guide