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Encounters of the New Lab - Problems that a new lab would encounter (Mar/24/2011 )

Hello BioForumers,
I am new to this forum but I have been trying to search the internet about problems and roadblocks that one would face while starting a new laboratory.
I am going to be recruited to be the lab manager for a (really great) research scientist that is starting a new lab at an academic institution. I have been told that I should expect to have a tough time the first 2-5 years as a lab manager and should be compensated for it. I know that he will have a hard first couple years because he would have to prove himself and get high impact papers published. In addition, he is going to be facing hiring/training postdocs/undergrads, financing the budget and setting up the lab, and that is where I will come in. I would help him with these tasks as well as doing my own bench work.

My first question is: What problems should I expect to encounter? I hear that I will have a rough beginning years but haven't heard what those roadblocks would be?

My second question is: What is a fair salary for a RA2 promotion to lab manager? I have 6 years of biotech/immunology experience.

I know that this is a great opportunity for me and I accept that challenge that I'm about to embark on but I would like to be prepared for what's to come. Any discussion/details and reply to my post is greatly appreciated, please fill me in with your knowledge and experience.

Thank you.


Hi, It depends a little on where you are as to the problems and and a lot on where you are as to the pay you should expect... Have a look at the organisation's website for other jobs of a similar nature, they will often have a pay bracket associated with the job (e.g. salary of $20,000-45,000).

Problems are likely to include:
-getting new equipment (delivery times days-6 months or more depending on the equipment and location) or having to use old equipment in the department.
-getting funding for specialised equipment.
-getting space in a lab for bench work and reagent/sample storage.
-hiring of suitable staff - techs and postdocs etc.
-budgetary restraints from the department and/or university/employer.
-getting a supply of samples to work on.
-importing of samples/reagents etc. from the old lab - biosecurity restrictions, transport restrictions, cost...

It is typical for a new lab to take about 9 months to a year to start producing publishable results (that's without writing them into a publication).