The office of Research, Discovery & Innovation is pleased to announce the upcoming transition to iLab as the management system for all RDI Core Facilities. iLab is a web-based management tool designed to support the operation of university-wide core facilities and shared research services. Its functionality includes placing service requests, scheduling time on instruments, sample processing, storeroom management, invoicing, and dynamic reporting on all of these activities that is available to every user. iLab will provide the UA research community one common, searchable interface for institutional research services and many other benefits, including:
- Tracking the progress of services in real time;
- Establishing financial approval amounts at the lab, or even at the individual member level;
- Creating budgets for PIs’ labs, individuals, and/or projects;
- Creating and tracking projects that span multiple PIs’ labs and/or facilities.
Many other top research universities have migrated to using iLab to support university-wide core facilities, and iLab was the clear first choice in an evaluation process lasting nearly a year. The implementation of iLab in the RDI cores will be phased-in over the next 8-12 months. In order to introduce iLab to the UA research community, and ease the transition thereto, RDI will be hosting a series of open houses throughout the phase-in period. iLab will be made available to other core facilities and shared research services once implementation for the RDI core facilities is complete.
Much of the impetus to implement new core facility management software came as the result of the need to decommission the On-Line Core Facility Scheduling application otherwise known as OCF. While we appreciate the value that OCF has brought to the University community over the past 14 years, it was developed specifically for generations-old hardware and operating systems that prevent our ability to maintain or support a stable environment in which it can run. As a result, RDI plans to decommission OCF on December 31, 2017, but cannot guarantee its stability in the intervening time. It may be necessary to decommission OCF earlier if the current hardware platform is unable to continue to run OCF in a stable environment.
Since the original development of OCF, there are now many commercially available scheduling software applications with zero or low implementation costs. The Arizona Research Laboratories is in the process of evaluating some of these scheduling systems for labs that may need to replace OCF, and choose not to implement iLab. We will announce the most viable of these options once the products have been evaluated.
We are committed to provide the UA research community with an easy to use and comprehensive system to access university-wide core facilities and the research services they provide. We appreciate your feedback as we make this transition, and please contact Neal Armstrong (firstname.lastname@example.org) to provide input.