Overview and Significance: The Steering Committee meets quarterly to review Center operations. During the first year, the meeting schedule would be more frequent (every 4-6 weeks) to ensure the Cores are operating optimally and to facilitate solving problems. The Steering Committee held eight meetings in the last year. In addition to committee memliers, all investigators (primary, new, and other NINDS-funded) are welcome and informed in advance of the agenda by both email and notice on the Center website. The meetings serve as a forum for the faculty to suggest needed capabilities, feedback on how the Cores are functioning, and possibilities for collaborations. Meeting minutes are circulated to Center faculty and posted on the website. Institutional Sharing Plan: The Steering Committee oversees and implements the Institutional Sharing Plan. Prior to using any of the three research Cores, the interested Pl(s) submit a brief description (250 words) for the proposed project to the Core Director. Once the project is approved, the PI meets with the Core Director and Manager to discuss the goals, feasibility, timeline, and to determine the best experimental approach for successful completion of the project. The four priority levels are: 1) Primary investigators with qualifying NINDS grants, 2) NINDS-funded investigators without qualifying grants and new investigators, 3) neuroscience investigators funded by other NIH institutes, and 4) investigators lacking NIH support. Within each level collaborative projects are given the highest priority. The third and fourth priority levels are allowed access to Center resources when demands permits and assures as wide as possible Center impact. For several services and equipment use (e.g. tract tracing, confocal microscope and some behavioral tests), the primary mechanism for prioritization is the advance time for sign-up. NINDS-funded primary investigators (see Table 1 A) have the highest priority. Within this group, top priority goes to projects that involve collaborative efforts between primaiy users with up to 15 days advance sign-up. Primary users not engaged in collaborative projects are able to sign up 12 days in advance. New investigators (Table 3) and NINDS-funded investigators who do not have qualifying grants have the next level of priority, again with the higher access given to projects that are inherently collaborative. Investigators in this priority level engaged in collaborative projects are allowed to sign up 10 days in advance. Investigators working on individual projects are able to sign up 7 days in advance. Other NIH-funded investigators are permitted to reserve core facilities 5 days in advance. Finally, those individuals lacking major external funding are able to sign up (2 days in advance). Several of the services, such as generating a BAC transgenic mouse, engineering a viral vector, performing activity-dependent optical imaging or detailed behavioral phenotyping, are more time intensive and depend on the nature and complexity of the project and the ongoing workload of a Core. Therefore, access to these services cannot rely simply on sign-up sheets. For these services, a monthly deadline for submission of these projects is advertised with priority determined as indicated above. For these services the Core Director then schedules projects based on the order of priority described above and on-going projects. The priority schedule will adjusted if the waiting time for services exceeds demands and waiting times exceed a month. If this occurs, 80% of available time is resen/ed for primary NINDS-funded or new investigators and the remaining 20% reserved for lower-priority investigators. This policy ensures the higher-priority investigators have the greatest access but allows some access for lower-priority users. As needed, these percentages would be adjusted by the Steering Committee. For example, if demand is particulariy great, access would be restricted to the first two priority levels (e.g. 70% for level one and 30% for level two), again ensuring some level of access to NINDS-funded investigators without qualifying grants. On a longer time horizon, the Steering Committee can reallocate resources between Cores based on the patterns of usage and demand. This could, for example, involve reallocating University matching funds among the Cores. The Steering Committee adjudicates sharing issues not resolvable at the Core level. Faculty members are encouraged to provide feedback to the individual Core Directors and/or Steering Committee. At the completion of a project, each Core asks users to complete a survey that includes questions about the quality, timing and added value of the services provided. The survey also requests feedback on other services/instruments needed, ways to improve services, etc. The surveys are used by the Core Directors, Scientific Advisory Committees and the Steering Committee to guide Center development.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Center Core Grants (P30)
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Study Section
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Initial Review Group (NSD)
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University of Minnesota Twin Cities
United States
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