Questions tagged [lab-management]

Questions related to the management and organization of academic laboratories.

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6 votes
1 answer
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What tasks can undergraduates research assistants do effectively in the social sciences?

I'm a new faculty member and I have a number of undergraduate research assistants. I'm having trouble using up all the hours that they are assigned to work with me. Most weeks I run out of tasks to ...
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-2 votes
2 answers
359 views

how to deal with difficult students who do not reply to teacher's email?

I hope all is well, I find myself in a situation where one student keeps a grim face when I teach. It seems he is not happy with the way I deliver the material. This makes me feel uncomfortable and it ...
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2 votes
0 answers
122 views

How to ensure the research continuity when dealing with uncooperative administration?

Let us assume you have secured a hefty funding to do some exciting research. The problem is, the funding is about to end, you have done that hard part already and are interested in a follow-up, but it ...
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  • 5,516
4 votes
3 answers
287 views

When is it appropriate to publish independently without an advisor? [duplicate]

With pre-preprint servers readily accessible, I'm wondering if it is possible for graduate students to directly publish their work without their advisor. Is this taboo? If a student conducts ...
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1 vote
0 answers
61 views

Working at two labs vs having two advisors in grad school? [closed]

There are two labs that I really want to work as a masters student research assistant but I know that grad school isn't like undergrad and working for two will probably drive me crazy. One is in the ...
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0 votes
3 answers
250 views

Is there a particular structure that a research lab should have?

I want to know if a research lab at a university should normally include specific roles in order to be considered a lab ? I explain, for a newly joining Ph.D. student, i expect the lab to include a ...
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0 votes
2 answers
86 views

Transforming Development and Management Practices

Disclaimer, I already posted this on StackOverflow and got advised to post it on "The Workplace" where I got advised to post it on "Academia". Please don't send me back to ...
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-2 votes
1 answer
524 views

What is a good rule of thumb for the cost of a Postdoc, in the US at an R1 university [closed]

Suppose I want to pay a postdoc $65K for salary. How much research fund do I need to have to support this postdoc (on average, of course, not exactly)? Is it only the 65K or are there many other ...
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  • 87
2 votes
0 answers
103 views

Should the supervisor work in the laboratory with the student during M.Sc.?

I was just employed in the foreign university as assistant professor. I am going to have one M.Sc. student soon but I am not sure how much independence should he get. At my previous university we ...
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2 votes
2 answers
195 views

Software tools for orgainising education lab appointments

Due to the Coronavirus situation it is required to adapt teaching activities to reduce risk of infection. Several courses have laboratory assignments that require physical presence. It is therefore ...
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  • 1,188
6 votes
1 answer
555 views

Can I join two different research labs as a Ph.D. student?

I'm a PhD student and there are two labs that work in very similar fields, but different departments. Both look great, but I'm not sure which will benefit my research more (resources, collaboration, ...
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  • 101
53 votes
12 answers
10k views

Should I be honest with postdoc candidate about awful lab working environment?

I work as a postdoc in a lab that is extremely mismanaged. The head of the lab micromanages all the staff, often claims successful work as his own, and rejects new ideas that are not from him. All ...
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  • 553
2 votes
1 answer
127 views

Is the adoption of IS0 9000 principles, or even actual ISO certification very common in universities?

I'm not sure if this is on-topic but nothing seemed conclusive that it wasn't in the help center, so let's see what happens. The ISO 9000 family of standards has been adopted by well over a million ...
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  • 1,389
6 votes
3 answers
404 views

When do STEM academics learn how to manage funding?

I'm from the humanities, where research grants etc. are scarce. Also, training to deal with research grants and external funding is nearly non-existent in my field. I'm curious as to how graduate ...
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  • 5,091
32 votes
8 answers
8k views

Should I make my research students' pay contingent on completion of tasks (such as reading/summarizing papers)?

I received a fund that I can use explicitly for paying graduate (master's and doctoral) students for research. These students already receive a stipend from the university, but most advisors who can ...
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1 vote
1 answer
139 views

What do I do about my lab head misattributing my grant proposal?

The head of my lab and I wrote a grant proposal together. Last year we submitted it with me and them as chief investigators. This year I wasn't allowed to submit grants per the rules of my government ...
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0 votes
2 answers
166 views

Tools for creating and managing a Data Dictionary [closed]

I'm looking for tools to create a data dictionary for my project's data. We have a large database of many variables, and I would like to create a data dictionary that describes what each variable ...
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5 votes
1 answer
252 views

How is the energy bill split in academic departments?

Consider a physics department for example. Does each lab get metered and pay its own bill in the United States, or does the department itself cover overhead? Do energy leaks get noticed and managed? ...
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  • 946
2 votes
0 answers
119 views

What's the best way of starting a private lab wiki site? [closed]

My labmates and I were thinking of creating a wiki site for sharing protocols, links to github repos, some metadata and other useful lab related material. Contentwise mostly text, maybe some images, ...
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4 votes
1 answer
273 views

Lab vs personal brand

I’m moving to a new university and setting up a lab. Unlike some US universities, the consensus is not to use your surname as the name of the lab but have a descriptive name (e.g., “this area” Lab). ...
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  • 7,404
8 votes
0 answers
300 views

Postdoc-led Lab Mutiny: Is this normal? What to do? [closed]

A new postdoc has written an email on behalf of all grad students (CCing us) accusing our professor of being irresponsible, saying we would all stop our experiments. The postdoc has been helping PhD ...
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2 votes
0 answers
51 views

Collaborative software recommendation for a 4 year research project with several partners and < 10 researchers [closed]

I will be a project manager of research project with 3 university partners, 3 Postdocs and 5 PhD students for 4 years. Currently we use software tools for single researchers in my group like mendeley,...
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  • 4,211
4 votes
3 answers
2k views

Co-supervisor comes to the office to help her students, which distracts me

My co-supervisor (2nd supervisor) comes to the office where I work to help her (main) Ph.D. students. The noise distracts my work. I find it unprecedented. Why not help her students in her own private ...
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7 votes
3 answers
406 views

Managing lab funds

I am very fortunate to have several sources of research fundings to run my lab. Like many other skills needed for running a lab, I have no background in accounting (?). Different funds come through ...
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  • 6,279
1 vote
2 answers
358 views

Optimal configuration of a research group [closed]

In most of the European Universities I know, research groups are created from the equivalent of Assistant Professors and the Principal Investigator is voted in some sort of election, where there are ...
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  • 2,066
2 votes
2 answers
599 views

Is it normal that my adviser remove my information, pictures, everything from the lab homepage after I suspend my school?

First of all, I studied in Japan. After I complete all graduate courses. There will be 3 years to submit my thesis. During this time, I drop school and work in a company. So my professor removed all ...
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  • 271
2 votes
3 answers
595 views

Buy a server or cloud computing for a new lab? [closed]

We are starting a new computer lab and expect to have data that is 50-100 TB of text, images, and maybe videos to process. We will need to run tasks occasionally (10-30% utilization per month), so ...
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  • 4,920
0 votes
1 answer
174 views

Is it rude to ask a professor you do not know and in a different department to borrow equipment?

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 ...
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47 votes
11 answers
11k views

What to do when being responsible for data protection in your lab, yet advice is ignored?

I work in a lab where we conduct research on data acquire from human subjects. As we investigate the effects of different diseases and the related treatments, the data is highly sensitive in regards ...
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45 votes
2 answers
11k views

Strange Sign on Lab Door

I saw a strange sign on a door to a geophysics lab in a museum in Switzerland. I was really curious about what it means and wanted to know if anyone is familiar with this sign. Here's the full image ...
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1 vote
3 answers
711 views

Theorists facing tenure track faculty interviews

The faculty interview is based on the context of a department stressing on industry interaction. When asked about how to buy lab equipments and find funding, may a theorist answer the search committee ...
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  • 502
17 votes
3 answers
1k views

Is it ethical to put a surveillance camera inside a lab

The Lab leader is putting a surveillance camera inside the lab to protect some precious devices bought recently. The viewpoint of the camera covers most of the lab and shows clearly the lab members ...
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  • 359
5 votes
2 answers
405 views

How can I develop leadership skills in graduate school?

I am currently in my second year of a PhD program. I have not yet decided on academia, industry, or entrepreneurship for a career, but in all these cases my success will be strongly influenced by my ...
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  • 235
6 votes
1 answer
1k views

Starting a lab wiki

I've recently joined a new lab; an experimental physics group of ~30 people, consisting of postdocs and PhDs and a few PI's. All of these people are using/sharing/rotating between a number of setups, ...
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2 votes
1 answer
970 views

Should grad students also serve as lab managers?

I'm a 3rd year PhD student in a robotics lab. My advisor recently moved universities, so our new lab space doesn't have a large stockpile of supplies and equipment. As the person who does the most ...
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0 votes
1 answer
150 views

ask PI for more acknowledgement of good work / affirmation

Setting: PhD student (5th year) at a US research university. Non-native English speaker. We have a great boss, however sometimes it seems that good things are not being highlighted enough. For ...
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8 votes
2 answers
4k views

What should I do about a professor who got in my face and yelled at me?

I'm a lab assistant at my university and one day some of my coworkers who are underclassmen asked me about my experience with a professor I had taken a couple classes with. I told them that every ...
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  • 91
3 votes
1 answer
409 views

As a part time volunteer, how can I ask my advisor to let me work independently, so that I can have a chance at first authorship?

TL;DR As a part time volunteer, what is the best way of communicating to my professor that I would like to be able to work independently on a project of my own to work towards a first authorship paper,...
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  • 33
1 vote
1 answer
231 views

Is it acceptable to use a microscope in the office and not in the laboratory? [closed]

I often see microscopes inside the office rooms of professors as well as other teaching members. They may not use them on daily basis but once in a while, or sometimes heavily used by a few of them. ...
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  • 133
2 votes
0 answers
145 views

An organizational chart to ensure central management of laboratories in a college

I was asked the other day to suggest how different labs in our college should be centrally managed, or what organizational chart would be suitable, to make all these labs abide by input from the ...
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  • 133
1 vote
0 answers
48 views

What is the UK equivalent of a PC 2 laboratory?

In New Zealand and Australia we use the term 'physical containment' (PC) to describe structures and procedures designed to prevent the release of viable organisms into the environment. As far as I am ...
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  • 91
6 votes
2 answers
911 views

What are the disadvantages of having postdocs or visitor in the lab?

I have seen professors clearly stating that they do not accept visitor students or postdocs. So, what are the disadvantages of having such positions?
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  • 776
8 votes
1 answer
478 views

What are the time demands on a PhD student who is helping set up a lab?

I am mulling over pros and cons of different advisers and a quirk I have found with some of the newer professors is the issue of lab start up activities. I have seen some anecdotes online about it ...
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3 votes
1 answer
495 views

How to restore trust in a toxic lab environment?

A friend of mine started working in a biology research lab where several research groups share space and lab equipment. Recently the environment has become quite toxic as the people started to ...
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  • 191
1 vote
1 answer
205 views

First time being in an applied math lab - what are some tips to overcome shyness?

This will be my first semester in an applied math lab. After spending a couple of years taking all theoretical math courses, essentially working in isolation the entire time, and finishing a thesis, ...
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  • 53
4 votes
2 answers
313 views

Asking my advisor about our lab’s funding situation

It seems like funding in the lab in which I am working is getting tight. Since I usually end up spending a fair amount of said funding to buy supplies for the lab and my coworkers, it’d be nice to ...
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15 votes
1 answer
5k views

What's a good strategy for coming up with a lab name?

I'm going to be starting a research lab as a junior faculty, what is a good strategy for coming up with a lab name? How important is a lab name in differentiating yourself in the field or ...
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  • 151
29 votes
3 answers
5k views

Is offering to use personal funds for research a good idea?

I'm at an engineering department at a public US university, and I'm somewhat new to writing proposals. The call I'm submitting to wants know if the project budget is higher than the amount of the ...
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  • 371
3 votes
0 answers
43 views

Online Slot Management and recruitement tool for lab studies [closed]

In Human-Computer Interaction and Psychology (and others) lab studies are performed quite often. Although searching quite a bit, I did not find a tool/piece of software or application to provide a ...
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  • 131
4 votes
5 answers
743 views

Is there any guide or organisation solution for increasing utilization of laboratory and lab equipment?

We obtained a report for the last academic year. A shocking revelation was that the capacity utilization* of lab equipment, laboratories, instruments and machines is only 37%. Everyone seems to be ...
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  • 3,649