Optical microscopy has become central to progress in many areas of science. At the same time, the complexity of instruments and quantitative imaging experiments has dramatically increased, with many requiring extensive expertise to operate. Microscopy facilities staffed with PhD-level imaging scientists who advise and train researchers on imaging experimental design, the best instruments to use for their experiments, and proper use of instruments have become essential sources of expertise in many research institutions, and core facility management has become a stimulating career path for scientists with experience in advanced quantitative microscopy techniques and an interest in facilitating science broadly. With the goal of helping to train the next generation of core facility imaging scientists, Jennifer Waters, Director of the Nikon Imaging Center since 2001, began the novel Advanced Microscopy Post-doctoral Fellowship Program in 2014. The program is designed to provide opportunities to develop expertise in quantitative optical microscopy and core facility management. Jennifer recently described her vision for the program in ‘A Novel Paradigm for Expert Core Facility Staff Training’, Trends Cell Biol. 30, 669–672, and was interviewed for a Nature article about core facility staff training (Core curriculum: learning to manage a shared microscopy facility, Nature 588, 358-360). Similar programs have since been developed at the Janelia Research Center and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory.