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I've noticed lots of folks in the sciences seem to have well-developed business skills needed to run a lab, like managing a budget, hiring employees, building a team, setting deadlines and managing work, as well as 'soft skills' in leading and managing people. How scientists get trained on those general business skills?

I expect the answer will be that it varies by field, by university, and by supervisor, and potentially by geographical area. But, I'd love to learn more from folks from different disciplines about the formal or informal training scientists in different fields receive in these skills. I'd also welcome any links or recommended resources for academics looking to build on these skills.

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    Do you mean "management" rather than "business" ? Unless the lab actually has business aspects (like producing and selling products), the aspects you mention do not seem to be business-related. – lighthouse keeper Jul 30 at 14:38
  • Many (most?) universities have an office that aids in such things, taking a portion (sometimes large) of any grant to provide management and other services. The "overhead" of a grant provides these services, but also pays for lab space and such things. – Buffy Jul 30 at 14:41
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    There is no formal training, academy is much like an apprenticeship when it comes to these business skills, but one can improve themselves, for example my BS degree had courses on engineering, engineering finance, project management, entrepreneurship etc. Another way is to mimic the way other successful labs work. It is super counter-intuitive in my opinion as your experience is very limited but that is usually how it is. And yes, there are units that -may- help with copyrighting, administrative, finance/budget, HR issues, maybe grant writing -but- labwise you are alone. – dusa Jul 30 at 15:10
  • @lighthousekeeper to clarify, they are 'business skills' in the sense that they're the same skills one would use in running a business, not that the lab itself is necessarily a business, although I see that some labs do get "start up incubator" funding to develop a product that could be brought to market. – user10636 Jul 30 at 16:23
  • @Buffy Interesting -- but doesn't the university usually just do the controls and accounting stuff for the grant? I was under the impression that it's the PI who actually sets the budget -- at least that's how it's been on the one major grant I ever worked on. So the PI still needs to know how to formulate the budget for the grant, right? Do they ever receive training any explicit training in budgeting? – user10636 Jul 30 at 16:25

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