Setting up a laboratory can be a difficult and time demanding process. That being said, setting up a lab can provide great and fulfilling work. It enables you to have more control over the types of experiments and tests you want run. Setting up a lab also means that you can contribute to your scientific field in a meaningful and impacting way. While there are many potential benefits to setting up your own lab, there are certain considerations that should be made before starting on this endeavor, however. Below is a list of three smart things to consider before setting up your own laboratory.
Optimize the Space for the Process
This suggestion comes from Marvin Kemp’s article in Lab Manager. Not all areas and parts of a lab should be uniform in their layout and design. The layouts of areas in your laboratory need to be designed around the purpose and function of the area itself. Kemp makes clear that designers need to understand the purpose of each area, as different areas will have different needs, such as electrical and mechanical components. Kemp also gives more practical examples of optimization, such as sufficient lighting and lab bench space. Having proper storage areas should be included in your design as well. While the storage areas may not need as much attention as the actual lab, there may be certain considerations to be made for storage areas. These will typically be centered around what type of materials you are storing and if they need any special conditions while in storage, such as temperature, light etc. The key here is to optimize each space according to is function and requirements.
Hire the Right People
This important item for consideration comes from this article from New Scientist. Hiring the right people is an important thing to consider in any field of work, but it also holds true when building the staff for your laboratory. While avoiding bad candidates is an obvious good decision to make, the best decision is to hire the right people for the job. This means, as the article explains, that you should hire people that work harder then even you do. Ideally your staff should be interested in areas of research that you are less interested in. Do not be afraid to hire people who are gifted in areas other then you. In the end this can help your lab grow stronger and conduct better and more well-rounded research and experiments. Hire people with good credentials who are passionate about making an impact in the scientific community, as well as the world around them.
Figure Out Safety
This is another piece of advice that comes from the Marvin Kemp’s article. This is an absolutely critical step to take, as negligence in any area of safety or other protocols can result in serious consequences, both financial and legal. To help keep away from these potential catastrophes, be up-to-date on all regulations concerning your laboratory. As the article explains, there are other elements to safety as well. Figure out where the public is allowed to go and where only employees are allowed. There may be areas where even stricter protocol and security must be kept, either for the protection of intellectual property or because of hazardous materials. In such areas, security measures such as one-factor or even two-factor access control can be implemented. Two-factor access control provides more security, as two objects are needed to enter, such as a key card and a fingerprint. Thus, good safety protocols can help ensure that both your intellectual property is kept safe and that there are no issues with health hazards.
Starting your own lab can be an exciting and rewarding experience. It can offer you a chance to make lasting and impacting contributions to the scientific community, as well as the world at large. It can also provide you a way to work on the projects and research that you actually want to work on, which can be immensely rewarding. That being said, there can be challenges that come along with building your own lab. Hopefully the list above has helped give you some smart things to consider when you set up your own laboratory.