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Building Your Lab

Module by: Rice ADVANCE. E-mail the author

Summary: This is a conversion of a presentation given at the Negotiating the Ideal Faculty Position Workshop given on October 14-16, 2007.

Building Your Lab

  • Space
  • Equipment
  • Personnel

Physical Space

  • Moving into existing space
  • Lab remodels
  • New building space

Existing space

  • Is the space adequate for your needs?
    • Proximity to colleagues
    • Access to Dept/University equipment
    • Proper Air/Vacuum/Water for equipment
    • Hoods (chemical and tissue culture)
    • Air handling and vibration
  • Does it have desk space for students and postdocs?
  • Is office space separate?

Build or Remodel

  • Start early
  • Do the research
  • Set a bottom line
  • Be actively involved in the process

Start Early

  • It usually takes 6-12 months to build or remodel a lab
  • Specify a desired date of completion during the negotiation
  • Contact equipment vendors (for specs)
  • Consider options for teaching or grant writing efforts until the space is complete
  • Identify temporary space for lab work

Do the Research (I)

  • Visit state-of-the-art labs
  • Site visit
    • Meet your project manager
    • Location: avoid location-specific problems that affect your research, e.g., vibration, freight elevator availability, etc.
    • Infrastructure: air conditioning, ventilation, DI water system, gas lines, etc.
    • Ask people who know the lab

Do the Research (II)

  • Collect information on equipment
    • power requirement
    • heat generation
    • waste generation
    • Other needs for equipment: gases, water, etc.
  • Leave space for future expansion
    • Predict future equipment needs

Set a Bottom Line

  • Make a list of “must” and “must not” and be firm
  • Do not expect future improvement
  • Take into consideration future research needs

Be Actively Involved

  • Why
    • You know your needs the best.
    • Good communication avoids mistakes.
  • What
    • Project schedule and progress
    • Specific information on equipment
    • Special needs
  • How
    • Follow the progress
    • Communicate with the contractors

Equipment and Supplies

Equipment purchase

  • Be aware of available discount, e.g., “New lab set up” programs at large vendors like Fisher and VWR
  • Negotiate with many vendors
  • Usually 1-3 months of lead time for major equipment

Populating your lab

  • Technical Staff
  • Graduate students vs. postdocs
    • How available are students?
    • How difficult is it to recruit postdocs?
    • Are technicians the best use of limited resources?
    • What Dept/University funding mechanism are available for students or postdocs?

Lab Personnel

  • Personnel management
  • Establishing a “lab culture” is very important
  • Be proactive in addressing potential personnel conflicts
    • No one wants to work in a caustic or poisonous lab environment
  • Lead by example

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Definition of a lens

Lenses

A lens is a custom view of the content in the repository. You can think of it as a fancy kind of list that will let you see content through the eyes of organizations and people you trust.

What is in a lens?

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Who can create a lens?

Any individual member, a community, or a respected organization.

What are tags? tag icon

Tags are descriptors added by lens makers to help label content, attaching a vocabulary that is meaningful in the context of the lens.

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