Staffing for Science

Courtesy of Daniel E. KolkerThe generous funding of US academic labs has helped dramatically advance our understanding of diseases and their underlying biology. But is the structure of r the academic lab well-suited to optimize research? During the past 10 years work at academic and industrial labs, I have observed that the present model impedes both the progress of research and the development of young scientists.Research labs produce and disseminate new scientific knowledge. Under the current

Daniel Kolker
Mar 28, 2004
<p></p>

Courtesy of Daniel E. Kolker

The generous funding of US academic labs has helped dramatically advance our understanding of diseases and their underlying biology. But is the structure of r the academic lab well-suited to optimize research? During the past 10 years work at academic and industrial labs, I have observed that the present model impedes both the progress of research and the development of young scientists.

Research labs produce and disseminate new scientific knowledge. Under the current model, a principal investigator (PI) sets the direction of the lab and oversees experiments. Theoretically, this person is a good communicator who gets everyone talking. The staff is usually a group of enthusiastic graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. In an ideal world, the postdoc's success – establishing themselves as independent researchers – would coincide with that of the PIs, who would like to see new work published to advance research. But PIs...

Interested in reading more?

Magaizne Cover

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?