Published: June 15, 2022

With the goal of enhancing operations within core and shared instrumentation facilities on the CU Boulder campus, the 2022 Core Facility Assistance Grant Program has awarded 10 new grants totaling $107K to faculty projects spanning multiple departments and disciplines.

Additionally, the Core Facility Voucher Program—which encourages new and existing researchers to utilize CU Boulder core facilities—has resulted in approximately $28K in additional funding awards in 2022 to assist faculty in gathering new or additional data for grant applications.

The programs, developed and managed by the Research & Innovation Office (RIO)'s Shared Instrumentation Network, are designed to support and grow the university's core facilities and available instrumentation, as well as the cutting-edge research these tools enable faculty to perform. 

“RIO’s Shared Instrumentation Network is a highly valuable resource available to faculty here at CU Boulder,” said Acting Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation Massimo Ruzzene. “Access to this Network equips our entire research community—on and off campus—to pursue groundbreaking projects that can only be investigated with the top research facilities in the world.”

The Core Facility Assistance Grants Program aims to improve the operations, safety and visibility of core facilities at CU Boulder, as well as to increase remote accessibility for the facilities—a need that became more pronounced with the advent of COVID-19. The pandemic offered campus an opportunity to develop innovative ways to enhance research safety, while looking toward a sustainable long-term culture of laboratory safety. The grants program also helps CU Boulder core facilities acquire, repair and upgrade instrumentation to maintain and expand the university's research infrastructure. The first round of assistance grants, announced in 2020, resulted in 14 new grants with approximately $100K awarded to faculty across disciplines.

The Core Facility Voucher Program prioritizes supporting faculty with summary statements from reviewed but unfunded grant submissions where reviewers recommend additional preliminary data involving a core facility. The first round of vouchers, announced in 2021, resulted in 7 new awards totaling approximately $23K.

“These investments in the core facilities encourage faculty and core directors to collaborate on updating and onboarding cutting-edge research technologies that enable research to be performed at scope, scale and speed," said Claudius Mundoma, director of core facilities and shared instrumentation at CU Boulder.

Data-driven results that power new discoveries

The core facility funding programs have already catalyzed new projects and opportunities for CU Boulder researchers.

Shortly after joining the Department of Physics in Fall 2020, Assistant Professor Shuo Sun received funds through the voucher program that he used to explore several new techniques for hybrid integration of quantum emitters with photonic devices. These techniques were tested using the FEI Nova 600i focused ion beam (FIB) instrument in the characterization facility at the Colorado Shared Instrumentation in Nanofabrication and Characterization (COSINC) center on campus. 

The preliminary results that Professor Sun and his team were able to achieve using the voucher funds not only served as a guideline for new research directions, they also assisted Sun in securing a three-year NSF award, which his lab is using to further develop a hybrid quantum photonic platform for entanglement generation on a photonic chip.

About the Shared Instrumentation Network

The Shared Instrumentation Network is a resource for the entire CU Boulder campus that enables fundamental and applied research, and promotes interdisciplinary collaboration across the university's many departments, institutes and centers. The university community will have an opportunity to learn more about shared instrumentation during the Fall 2022 Core Facilities Open House, which is anticipated to take place in early September. 

If you have core facilities or shared instrumentation and are interested in learning more about the network, as well as related funding opportunities, please contact Claudius Mundoma.

Applications for the next round of Core Facility Assistance Grants will open in January 2023.