When it comes to setting up a laboratory, it needs a thought-out plan. Running a laboratory is not equivalent to your past studies. There are different approaches towards having a lab that everybody who is interested in managing one should follow.
Some of the steps to follow are stated below:
Research on Structure
Before setting up a physical location for your lab, it is essential that you find out the regulations surrounding such. A specific state may be very precise on how labs should look and designed. Be on the lookout for any issues regarding lab set up where you plan to set up.
The first impression matters a lot. Therefore, as such, it makes no sense purchasing more equipment than the employees. Hiring should be a priority during the initial stage because that is what will determine how much research is done in the lab. You need skilled employees who are motivated to research and have the potential to teach future prospective employees.
The pressure to recruit will be high with deadlines to meet. However, avoid hiring in haste. Take your time to shortlist dedicated people who have fewer chances of disappointing you. With the recent enhancements in technology, you can quickly post job adverts online and get responses even faster.
The Layout of the Laboratory
What type of layout do you have in mind? Is it a computer lab or a physics lab or any other? Are you comfortable with an open lab or do you want a more private one? Sometimes, an open lab can be beneficial especially if there is shared equipment. On the other side, a closed lab is more private and avoids any altercations with other people.
To determine what design is suitable, you can formulate experiments you intend to do. This will help in the decision-making process. Also, when settling on the layout, ensure that your design seeks to save on space.
Make a Priority List On The Must-Have Equipment
Different laboratories need different apparatus. It’s important to have a list of the equipment that you must have when starting out. Again, know the most popular experiments you will be conducting and ensure you have 80% of the equipment.
If computers and chronometers are what you need, be sure to have them on that list. Failure to have a list could result in a newly structured lab with inefficient equipment to even start on the first project. The list is also helpful because it will help you remember items you may quickly forget.
Use Your Money Wisely
Having a budget estimate is highly essential. Due to the high risk of overspending, with the above-discussed priority list, have a cost estimate for the equipment. Include the staff salaries as well as any emergency issues that may arise when setting up.
A well-budgeted set up will save on time as well as the cash. Most often, when starting up, it may be quite challenging especially when your money is limited. Sometimes, you may know people who had previously begun labs and may have the old equipment they don’t use; this could come in handy. Always ensure that you have some caution money tucked away somewhere in case of later expansion plans.
Enroll In A Lab Management Course
Sometimes, you may feel that you may need lab management courses. You can enroll in one of the classes offered by bodies such as European Molecular Biology Organization. However, it is not a must-have.
Apart from enrolling in such courses, another trick to get your lab up and running is networking through forums. Your ability to talk with people and form a good working relationship is what will increase the chances of getting grants.
What happens when there is a fire? Most of your research will be burnt out and all data lost. What if you came up with an online safety measure? Have a plan of when something drastic happens. Having an online tool where you record all your findings is helpful especially in times of fire and hurricanes. There is a very minimal risk of data lost due to the online platform.
All in all, setting up a laboratory is hard work. However, with the above pointers, you are at a better place of having a smoother lab set up than before.