If you have just spent years earning your credentials as a scientist at college, there are a couple of moves you can make. There are plenty of jobs out there, of course; in private business or government organizations. However, if you are confident in your abilities, have an eye for business, and are up for a challenge, you could always set up your own research lab. But how are you going to do this? It’s far from easy, but we’re going to share some of the basics with you today.
Your first step is to get together your research ideas. You will already know your specialities, but you should look into each of your ideas to make sure there is a need for them. It could be commercial, or it could be solely academic. But whichever direction you go in your ideas must be wanted by others – or, at the very least, it should pique their interests. You’ll need to be able to present them, too. Unless you are very wealthy, you are going to need funding, which we’ll go into next.
You’ll need a lot of money to get started in an independent research lab. And a lot of it will be eaten up right away just from buying your equipment. So, it’s essential to get this over the line as soon as possible so that you can get started. Apply for as many grants as you think you will qualify for – and also some that you don’t. All organizations have budgets to spend, and if they are struggling to use all of their money, they may not get as much for their budgets next year. With this is mind, it’s worth going down avenues you might not have considered – you never know what might turn up.
The equipment you will use depends wholly on your research projects, of course. To cut costs on buying equipment, always seek out the best deal you possibly can. There are plenty of promotions run by the big equipment distributors, so keep your eyes peeled. You’ll also want to consider lab coats and safety wear. We like this Meta labwear, but there are plenty of other options out there for all budgets. Take your safety equipment seriously, too. Always buy from a reputable supplier.
You will need to hire people at some point, but be careful not to blow the rest of your budget on staff. Your first two hires are vital and choose them wisely, and you will find that they understand everything that needs to be done. And that means that you have a leadership team in place when it comes to hiring extra bodies.
A good nature
Finally, you’ll need to have a good nature to deal with all the stresses that inevitably come with running a lab. You might find yourself spending less time in the lab itself, and more time in the office. There will be a lot of pressure to deliver, too, often within unrealistic budgets. However, keep your head, and spend your free time – if you have any – well, and you should avoid any health issues!
Good luck with the new lab – and let us know what you get up to!