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Author Topic: Starting my own lab  (Read 19877 times)

drkev

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Starting my own lab
« on: 29/10/2003 17:18:08 »
I am a Pharmacology student. Myself and some of my fellow students wish to start our own lab post doctoral.

We want to research/invent HIV drugs. I am particularly interested in Protease Inhibitors and other anti retro viral treatment.

I was just wondering if anyone on here had set up their own lab.

We do not know where to start. None of our lecturers can point us in the right direction.

We need to know how to start a lab from scratch from securing government funding to types of premises to purchasing equipment and hiring staff.

We really do not know how to go about this and were hoping somebody could help us.

What funding is available and how do we get it?

I look forward to hearing from anyone who has any advice or information that could benefit us.

Also, are there any websites that I can visit for some more info?

Many thanks in advance

Live long and Love life

Kevin Fisher


 

Offline chris

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Re: Starting my own lab
« Reply #1 on: 29/10/2003 17:23:51 »
Hi Kevin

welcome to the naked scientists forum.

Your plans sound quite ambitious but then that isn't a bad thing. The way to proceed is to formulate a business plan and raise venture capital to support the development of your 'product'. Now most people start up university spin off companies to realise the commercial potential of an idea or discovery they have made at the lab bench. Without knowing whether you already have any potential products I can't advise you further. Tell me more about what you are up to an your current position.

Chris




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Offline Donnah

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Re: Starting my own lab
« Reply #2 on: 29/10/2003 21:05:58 »
Kevin, you will be presenting your business plan to potential investors, so it is a critical document.  Hire a professional writer or, at the very least, an editor to check it out when you've finished.  Pay particular attention to your Executive Summary, since this is what many potential investors/funders will read first.  You may want to prepare a Summary Business Plan (which is basically the Executive Summary) to hand out first.  That way you can keep the details confidential until you get feedback from readers interested in a deeper analysis.    

There are software packages (and books) you can get for writing business plans and a wealth of information on the net, including examples of business plans.  You can also email me directly if you have more questions about writing (I have a post-degree certificate in Freelance Writing).
« Last Edit: 29/10/2003 21:10:42 by Donnah »
 

drkev

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Re: Starting my own lab
« Reply #3 on: 29/10/2003 21:24:48 »
So the funding has to come from Private Investment then and not Government funding?

I want to work on a Protease Inhibitor to prevent the progression of the HIV virus.

Is there a step by step guide to setting up a lab?
What equipment will we need?
How do we determine what funding will be required?
Where do we get our salaries from?

As you have probably noticed, we really don't have the slightest clue as to where to start and need major support which none of our tutors can provide. That is why I have come here for assistance.

Many thanks

Live long and Love life

Kevin Fisher
 

Offline Donnah

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Re: Starting my own lab
« Reply #4 on: 29/10/2003 23:29:17 »
Whether the money comes from private sources or government funding, you will still need to convince someone that your venture is worth investing in.

Find a lab that's as successful as you would like yours to be.  Find out who founded the lab.  Prepare a comprehensive list of questions.  Interview that person (ask if they mind being recorded and put it on tape).  For your final question ask if there is anything they would like to add.  Get a contact number or email address if they are willing to be reached with further questions at a later date.

You can also look in the phone book or online to locate government funding sources (be patient, there is usually a bit of run-around here).

Keep us posted.
« Last Edit: 29/10/2003 23:29:50 by Donnah »
 

Offline Ians Daddy

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Re: Starting my own lab
« Reply #5 on: 29/10/2003 23:40:35 »
I once set up a lab of my own, but it was clandestine. Unless you're going to cook meth or grow hydro, I can't help you there. However, I can say that the business outline is most important, as Donnah said. These cats want to know how and when the money is going to flow back to them. You would have to have something extremely concrete to get the government interested in funding it. I would start by calling a few working labs. I make anonymous calls all the time. You'd be amazed at what information you can get from a friendly conversation. I'm also big on "Ask Jeeves" type sites. You can ask things such as, "Where do I find inexpensive lab equipment?" or "Where would I find government funding for my lab?" or "How do I keep the cops from finding my lab?". Well, you get the jist. Careful how you word these though. "Big Brother" IS watching and you'd not want to be raided while doing a noble job.

Welcome to the forum, and good luck.
 

Offline tweener

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Re: Starting my own lab
« Reply #6 on: 30/10/2003 02:28:36 »
I've never set up a lab per se, but I have had a go at a couple of business ventures.  One of the biggest reason for failure of a startup is not having enough money (I know this first hand).  Even if you start with a great product, you should plan on running (as in eating and paying your staff and bills and rent etc. etc.) for AT LEAST two years.  One of the big things investors will look at is what do you have at stake.  In other words, they want your a** on the line.  If you have nothing to lose (except pride) they probably won't risk letting you lose their money.  Government funding is a different story, but has its own rules and headaches.

Probably the best way of gaining experience in how to set up and run a business is to go to work (gasp!) for a small successful place that you would like to emulate.  It's amazing how much college DOES NOT teach and how much you learn in your first five years.  Just don't sign away your intellectual property when you start and certainly don't invent your dream on their computer.

Welcome to the forum and good luck on your venture.

John
 

Offline Kitten

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Re: Starting my own lab
« Reply #7 on: 03/11/2003 11:56:20 »
OK- to set up your own lab you can do it 2 ways:
1- have a commercially exploitable idea, seek venture capitalist funding and run your lab as a start-up company.  Investigate places like science parks for premises (and some research institutions have space for small start-ups, like the Babraham Institute in cambridge). you'll definitely need to have some kind of preliminary exeprimental results already, otherwise you'll find it very hard to get any kind of funding (unless it's an absolutely brilliant idea).  Then you need to grovel and grovel and grovel to the funders for money. There's loads of info out there about how to start up a biotech company if you search for it.  Often, people find some good results during their PhD and then try and spin it out as a company.  but it's tough and you'll have to prove yourself pretty quickly. And then keep applying for money.

2-if you just want to do pure research, you're screwed :)

In the UK, the academic research structure is pretty well defined, for better or for worse.
The usual way you have to go to get your own lab is to do a PhD, then do postdoctoral research for a few years, accumulating lab experience and publications in scientific journals.  Then you embark on an enormous round of job applications and grant writing. You need to have space in which to do your research (in a host institution or university) as well as money to buy your equipment and consumables, and pay your salary.  I'm afraid the only way funding bodies (like the MRC and the Wellcome trust) will give money to labs is if you have a proven track record AND great ideas. It's an ever-dwindling pot of cash for medical research I'm afraid.

the best way for you to embark on the reasearch you want to do is to apply fo PhDs or postdoc positions in labs where this kind of research is going on. As a postdoc, you will have a certain amount of independence (depending onthe lab) and there are often grants available to help you become more independent.  This way, you can build up your track record, and in the end you'll be able to get independent funding to set up your own lab.

If you're incredibly amazing, you may do sensationally well in your PhD and possibly get funding to be independent straight afterwards, ut the number of people this happens to is so small as to approximate zero. Also, the field you want to go into is incredibly competitive, which might affect your chances of getting money. It's also quite trendy and important, so there may be more money available.

Hope that helps- I'm better at the academic information (as I'm currently a postdoc) and I haven;t depressed you too much.

Money is out there (both private and form research funding bodies) for good-quality research and great ideas. Best of luck.

"I have not failed, I have merely found ten thousand ways which do not work"
 

Offline Donnah

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Re: Starting my own lab
« Reply #8 on: 03/11/2003 17:06:52 »
Welcome Kitten,

I love your signature!

quote:

"I have not failed, I have merely found ten thousand ways which do not work"

 

drkev

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Re: Starting my own lab
« Reply #9 on: 03/11/2003 21:48:10 »
I have just found out that the University have intellectual rights to anything I discover while there so if I do discover something I am going to have to keep it under my hat or consult a specialist solicitor

Live long and Love life

Kevin Fisher
 

Offline chris

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Re: Starting my own lab
« Reply #10 on: 03/11/2003 21:52:22 »
The university have some rights correct, but there are normally formal routes to be taken if you want them to help you develop your product. In return for shouldering some of the risk and for providing the legal support they take a cut of the profits of what you develop. The deal can end up pricing you out of the market, however, as a friend of mine discovered, in the sense that the university end up with the lions share leaving bugger all for the guy who discovered it.

BTW Kev, I'm surprised that you've not had a stab at the question of the week given your interest in antiretrovirals...

Chris

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Offline cuso4

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Re: Starting my own lab
« Reply #11 on: 04/11/2003 08:43:11 »
quote:
Originally posted by Donnah

Welcome Kitten,

I love your signature!

quote:

"I have not failed, I have merely found ten thousand ways which do not work"





This quote was by Thomas Edison. And I like it very much as well.

Angel
« Last Edit: 04/11/2003 08:51:38 by cuso4 »
 

Offline Ylide

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Re: Starting my own lab
« Reply #12 on: 05/11/2003 09:23:40 »
If you're in the US, you might want to try the National Institute of Health as a funding source.  Most academic medical research programs are supplemented by them and I'm sure they do some private funding as well.  

http://grants.nih.gov/grants/index.cfm





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Re: Starting my own lab
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