On December 14, Roger Schonfeld will present at the CNI Fall 2021 Membership Meeting on Ithaka S + R’s  new report, “What is a Research Core? A Primer on a Critical Component of the Research Enterprise” that illuminates the research core landscape. Research cores, sometimes also referred to as core instrumentation facilities, are shared research enablement facilities that are used on a cross-department if not institutional basis. Notwithstanding pandemic disruptions, trends to improve research support for academic science are taking on renewed significance while the importance of research support services, such as research cores, is gaining traction. Research cores are not only the cornerstone of campus research activities but also critical assets for competitive differentiation at their host institutions; however, research cores are highly expensive to manage. This project briefing will overview the report, which is one of the few studies that describe the business models for sustaining and funding research cores and explores their increasing significance to the larger academic community. It will conclude with reflections on best practices and ongoing challenges for large public and private academic institutions to operate research cores efficiently.