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How To Start A Research Lab

If you are a scientist wanting to make new discoveries, there is nothing better than having the opportunity to start your own research lab. Whether you’ve been in the academic classroom or other environment, getting the chance to start a lab from scratch is something virtually no scientist can turn down. However, while this is a great opportunity, it does come with quite a bit of work to make sure all goes well. Not only do you need to figure out the financial needs that will be necessary to make your lab come to fruition, but you will also need to decide what supplies you’ll need, how to hire your staff, and other important tasks. If you are ready to begin your journey into the world of scientific research, here are some key details that will help you start your research lab.

Create a List

While it sounds simple enough, making a list of all the supplies and other resources you will need for your lab can play an important part in helping you realize your dream. Since you will essentially be in a situation resembling a job interview, you’ll need to impress those who hold the authority to give you the go-ahead for your lab. By having a list of everything you’ll need, you should be able to impress them with your organizational skills.

Plan for the Future

While it’s crucial you know what you’ll need for your lab to get you through the first two or three years, it’s also important to plan for the future. In fact, most researchers suggest having a long-range plan of up to 10 years in place, which will let you be able to discuss your future plans with those in charge. But when making this plan, be very thorough. For best results, call numerous vendors, read plenty of catalogs, and speak with other research scientists to determine the cost of supplies, as well as how to hire graduate assistants and lab technicians.

Selecting the Lab Space

When selecting your lab’s location, you will have plenty of choices. For example, you can choose to lease space in a commercial building, or you can choose to rent space within an incubator facility, which tends to offer lower costs and help with a variety of business issues. To make sure you get the best deal with your location, check your state’s economic development policies, since there are often tax breaks and other incentives given to scientific and technology-related businesses.

Negotiate with Vendors

Once you know the supplies you will need for your lab, start contacting various vendors regarding availability of supplies and their pricing. However, don’t simply take the first price you are given. Instead, be willing to negotiate prices, since you will likely be able to get a lower price on the crucial supplies you’ll need. By saving money on your supplies, you’ll have more money available to help with financing your lab’s location, as well as other key aspects of your endeavor.

Management Support

To ensure your lab will be successful for many years, it’s crucial to surround yourself not only with a team of research professionals, but also business professionals. This group includes attorneys, accountants, insurance agents, human resource professionals, and others who possess the business knowledge necessary to make sure your lab takes advantage of all the help that’s out there. For example, the Small Business Administration offers many types of assistance for free, and can help with obtaining various grants and other financing that can help your lab get off to a great start.

By taking the time to give careful thought to the business side of your lab, the chances are quite good you will be able to realize your dream of having a state-of-the-art research lab. From knowing how to hire your staff to having the necessary supplies and financing needed for success, the start-up process can be made much easier. As a result, you will be able to begin planning your first research project, setting the stage for new and exciting discoveries that may change the world.

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