Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

Home No. 80: How can I protect my lab space?

Jun 27

No. 80: How can I protect my lab space?

Posted by: admin in

Tagged in: Untagged 

How can I protect my lab space?

Reader question: Due to new budgetary constraints, my university is trying to downsize my lab space to make room for more projects. I barely have enough room as it stands, and I’m afraid that losing space will affect my work schedule and the time in which I should have the results. This could ultimately impact my funding if I don’t stay on my proposed timeline. What can I do to protect my lab and the work I’m doing? Is there anyone in particular I should speak with?

Expert comments: You should speak with an administrative official such as your program chair or dean. But keep in mind that cuts in lab space generate natural human territoriality and high emotions. So try to remain calm during these discussions and present your case dispassionately.

Here are some thoughts and potential ammunition for your case:

  • Most university officials divide space uniformly because they want to be equitable among faculty members. But the best way to allot lab space is to let the equipment drive the decision. You have equipment necessary for your research that requires a certain amount of space for safe and efficient use.
  • To determine exactly how much space you need, call the manufacturer and ask for recommendations of the square footage required for your equipment. Then calculate how much bench space you’ll need.
  • Remember that defending your lab space is almost like starting from scratch because you have to justify how much space you’ll need and how often you’ll need it. You may be able to make a case for staff safety or prove that your federal grant requires a certain amount of space and equipment.

If you can’t convince administrators to keep your lab space intact, you will have to make your new, smaller space more efficient. You can probably move the administrative work to another area in your facility (depending on the applicable regulations), such as your faculty office.

For those who may face this situation in the future, your best bet is to lock in as much space as possible when you’re first getting funding or coming on board. If you have written contracts guaranteeing a specific amount of space, you’re less likely to face cuts.

Expert comments by Martha Robbins of Martha Robbins & Associates, a clinical lab space consulting firm in Oswego, Ill., www.labconsultant.com

Comments (1)
written by Anonymous, June 27, 2011
My university is doing the same thing to me, and it's not fair. Shouldn't someone who's already doing successful, funded research have seniority over someone with a new project?

Write comment
smaller | bigger

Write the displayed characters