I am a grad student in new lab and my PI like to pinch pennies a bit. I want to purchase an accessory for use with an already purchased piece of equipment. I have emailed a few vendors about getting free samples,but I do not think I will be successful. I was thinking about emailing a few professors based on their area of research and the high likelihood that they may have a similar product that will allow me to perform a quick trial and build a case for my PI.

I would need to borrow it for like 2 weeks and I can autoclave it to ensure it is well cleaned prior to returning.

Is this considered rude?

  • It may be better if your professor contacts those other professors about borrowing equipment.
    – GEdgar
    Mar 8, 2019 at 22:28
  • Pretty common Ask first your supervisor.
    – Alchimista
    Mar 9, 2019 at 13:18

1 Answer 1


I don't think it is rude, exactly, but I also don't expect that many would be willing to accommodate you unless you can first establish some relationship with them that is mutually beneficial - exchange of ideas, for example.

But one researcher expressing a need to another isn't really rude, though perhaps a bit unusual and unexpected as you describe it.

But since you suggest you are in the same institution, it has a higher likelihood of success I would guess.

  • At least where I went to grad school, this sort of thing was usually handled amongst the graduate students without bringing the professors into it. Depending, of course, on exactly what is being borrowed or what instrument is being used. And, when they come back to use one of your toys, reciprocate!
    – Jon Custer
    Mar 8, 2019 at 21:59
  • And the time frame ... 2 weeks can easily become 2 months - academics can so easily loose track....
    – Solar Mike
    Mar 8, 2019 at 23:07

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