Why is an accreditation important for research labs?
An accreditation is the recognition that required practices are implemented and maintained. It shows independent parties that an organization works according to well established practices and brings confidence and trust in a facility.
They can also be seen as a good and helpful exercise to reflect on our own behaviours. Like a mirror, they identify gaps or aspects to improve within a given research unit. Seeing it in such a way, an accreditation is like a tool to develop further instead of being seen as a burden.
Several quality systems are available and we describe four in greater detail:
These quality systems fulfil slightly different purposes and depending on the situation they might be a requirement, whereas others could indeed be just a tool for a research group to improve their organization and systematic procedures. If a core facility is mainly looking for such systematic procedures, the ISO9001 standard might be the first choice to look into. For core facilities with a purely academic orientation the newly developed EQIPD and PREMIER quality systems might be more relevant.