In 2015, the Idea Lab, a Johns Hopkins crowdsourcing initiative, awarded more than $8,500 in funding to a proposal for an online training portal submitted by Bryan Crawford, former Senior Laboratory Coordinator in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

The pilot project, titled “Solving the Achilles Heel of Core Facility Laboratory Resources,” aims to provide a central training portal and best practices for operating the research instruments and equipment across the Whiting School of Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. Initial collaborators on the project include the departments of Materials Science and Engineering, Civil Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering, as well as the Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute and the Center for Educational Resources. Expansion plans are being developed to incorporate laboratories across all disciplines at the university in the near future.

Several key performance indicators for university laboratory operation will be addressed by consolidating instrument operation and capabilities in a central web-based format; these include providing quality training for instrumentation in a timely manner and providing knowledge of the capabilities of other campus facilities to serve as a resource for researchers and faculty. The mission for the development of the web portal is to provide researchers and teaching faculty with on-demand operational training and best-known methods for shared equipment in the core facilities.


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