Phrases such as "core," "shared facility" and "shared instrumentation" do not have precise definitions. At Northwestern, any investigator has the option to share instruments or services in a formal or informal manner, with or without charge. However, there are specific requirements related to funding and rates.
To be eligible for Feinberg funding, a "core facility" must provide services to multiple investigators located in at least three different departments or centers. Each Feinberg-supported core facility must also have a director responsible for day-to-day operations, as well as a scientific advisory committee that reviews and approves services and rates. Cores that receive Feinberg funding are subject to an annual review by the Feinberg Research Cores Committee. Note that eligibility does not guarantee that a core will be funded, only that it may compete for funds.
"Recharge Center" is a Northwestern University designation that is defined as "... a unit within Northwestern which provides goods and/or services of a specialized nature to other Northwestern users on a recurring basis and charges a fee for those goods/services." All cores must qualify as a recharge center in order to bill for their services. However, recharge centers are used for many fiscal purposes and are not exclusive to cores. Recharge centers are approved by the University, and every recharge center must have its rates reviewed annually by the NU Office of Cost Studies to ensure that Northwestern remains compliant with applicable laws and regulations.