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Advice for Starting Your Own Laboratory

Advice for Starting Your Own Laboratory

Starting your own lab can be a great endeavor, especially if you have years of experience working as a PhD student and postdoc. You’ll be well-rounded in the field enough to know how operations should be run. Managing a laboratory full of employees, however, can be a new responsibility you’ll need to get used to. Learn some advice for starting your own laboratory by reading below.

Remember That Staff Will Need Your Guidance

It’s vital to remember that the people working in your lab won’t be as experienced as you. Starting your own lab means you will have years of experience and credentials. Your laboratory workers will most likely be PhD students and others in the earlier stages of their professional careers. You’ll need to provide quality training and offer your professional guidance so lab workers can grow and learn. They will need to know how to run complicated tests and use equipment, but they’ll also need to know basic things such as managing hazardous waste in academic laboratories. If you want to run your own lab, you must be willing to lead.

Consider the Number of People You Hire

Youi might think it’s best to start with a large staff right off the bat. Many people would figure the more people you have working, the more productivity you’ll generate. This isn’t always true. When starting up something new like a laboratory, it’s best to start off with a smaller number of students and then eventually hire a few more specialists. Once your PhD students are well trained, you can bring in a postdoc and a technician. The first few years of running your laboratory will have you bogged down writing papers and grants, administrating, teaching, and overseeing the management of lab employees. Because of this, managing a large staff in the beginning could be difficult. Begin with a small team until you can increase its size.

Stay Working at the Bench

In the first few years of your laboratory operations, it’ll be imperative to be working at the bench. This refers to you being in the laboratory with your workers. Spending too much time in your office doing paperwork and administrative tasks will make you unavailable to employees who need your guidance. This will set the standard for employees and how they need to apply themselves.

Listen To and Communicate With You Staff

Another important piece of advice for starting your own laboratory is to make sure you’re listening to your staff and communicating clearly with them. Laboratory operations will benefit when you make it clear your staff can come to you. This opens up a line of communication which will deter misunderstandings, and prevent mistakes and danger.