university laboratory
Education

How To Run An Effective University Laboratory

Getting a postdoc position or professorship position at a leading university is a considerable achievement. It often leads to getting into a position that offers more responsibility. 

If you go down the scientific route, you could become the head of a laboratory where you do research. Educational institutions are offering more roles to people in these positions as the commercial and social need for cutting-edge research increases. 

But how do you run a lab effectively in a university context? That’s the big question. Fortunately, this post has some answers and guidance to help you. Here’s what you need to know. 

Budget Properly

The first step is to budget properly. While universities have more money today than in the past, financial constraints remain a real concern. 

Budgeting often means prioritizing the research you will pursue. It also involves intelligently picking research paths that are most likely to lead to higher grants in the future. 

Accept that you might not be able to answer your most pressing research questions immediately. It can take time for the labs to become established and attract the funding they deserve. 

Build An Effective Team

university laboratory

You also want to build an effective team for running and maintaining the lab. Ideally, you want an inclusive environment where everyone works together to make new discoveries and breakthroughs. 

The team should split into two parts: the managers and researchers. The managers have the important job of ensuring that the lab functions as expected and provides researchers with maximum productivity. Scientists shouldn’t have to wait weeks for the tools and materials they need. 

You can also build an effective team by arranging various team-building exercises. Getting people together for a day out can have a tremendous effect on morale. 

Ensure You Have The Proper Safety Equipment

You also want to enhance the reputation of your new university lab by ensuring there are no mishaps. Accidents suggest an amateur operation that’s less likely to attract significant funding. 

Brands like Top Air recommend labs use various forms of safety equipment, including fume cabinets. These extract dangerous chemicals from the atmosphere and store them safely. You’ll also want a healthy supply of PPE and emergency fire and shower equipment to protect researchers accidentally exposed to toxic substances. 

Get A Clear Mission

university laboratory

Another excellent approach to running an effective university lab is to be clear on your mission and what you want to achieve. Labs across the world do this all the time. 

For instance, David Sinclair’s lab at Harvard University is on a mission to eliminate aging and prevent it from having harmful health effects in the future. MIT’s robotics lab wants to create robots that can do everything humans can do and more. 

When you have a clear mission, it gives your lab more of a purpose. It’s a bit like a business plan – something that provides you with a nudge in the right direction every day. 

So, there you have it: some of our strategies for running an effective university laboratory. Make it work!

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