Many of science’s great discoveries are birthed
in a laboratory. Of course, a laboratory isn’t a haven for madcap
scientific experiments like you might see on film and television.
Running one actually requires great care: if you’ve just gotten your own
lab, consider these tips to get it running right.
Plan Out Your Funding
Take time to carefully calculate how much money you’ll need from your
financial backers. Think about the cost of supplies, chemicals and
anything else you’ll need and anything else you’ll need to accomplish
your primary research goals. It’s not uncommon for researchers to
underestimate how much money they’ll need, so also try applying early
for as many grants as possible.
Treat and Organize Your Inventory With Care
It’s natural that equipment breaks or gets misplaced over time. Take
regular inventory of your supplies (spreadsheets help) and make sure
everything is labeled and not mixed together. Treat your apparatuses
with care, as replacing them can be expensive. Although if, say, a large capacity syringe gets lost or breaks, replacements for that and most other items are easy to find online.
Create a Nurturing Environment
Chances are you won’t be conducting your research alone. Your team
should see you as an approachable leader open to ideas and easy to
confide in. It doesn’t hurt to reach out to pharmaceutical companies for
Safety and Cleanliness First
If a test tube or beaker breaks, don’t just throw it out: clean up
all of the glass and whatever contents were inside. You’ll likely be
working with several kinds of substances that may need to be cleaned up
in a special way, so make sure you know how. Similarly, always have
gloves, goggles and other protective gear on hand for when dealing with
potentially hazardous materials.
Running a lab doesn’t have to be rocket science (or ANY kind of science for that matter— that’s your
job), but proper planning, precautions and attitudes are crucial. Try
these tips and you just might hit your research goals a little bit
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