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Thread: Starting your own laboratory

  1. #1 Starting your own laboratory 
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    Where could you find equipment, instruments, safety equipment, computers, chemicals, biological reagents? Also, any funding or grants for doing basic research in biology and chemistry, and maybe archaeology? Is it even possible to do that if you don't have a phD but you do have bachelors?


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  3. #2  
    Forum Ph.D.
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    What kinds of things, are you looking to do in a laboratory?

    Chad.


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    Basic research into chemistry, biology, maybe archaeology. Devising or investigating new or unknown chemical and biological reactions and process. Analyzing various biological (animal and botantical) species genetics and proteomics. I realize I can't afford a multimillion dollar lab but there must be something I can do in the five digit range. Sadly I'm not a millionaire nor billionaire so I must try to keep it simple. But heck, lots of amazing scientific discoveries were made without that stuff, (though it is becoming more difficult).
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  5. #4  
    Comet Dust Collector Moderator
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    With such fuzzy goals, it's rather unlikely you would receive any kind of grant.
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  6. #5  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Quite. You need to focus: find a problem that you think you can make some progress on, based on your skills and budget. You can then decide what space, information, equipment, staff, and other resources you need. From that you could write up a proposal describing what you are doing and why, what the expected benefits are, the costs, etc. This might allow you get some grant funding from a government or industrial body. It would help if you were collaborating with some academic or industrial partners (adds credibility and the opportunity to exploit the results).

    Although, in the current economic climate ...
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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  7. #6  
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    well I do have some specific ideas, I just didn't want to share them here. The original post was more about finding wholesalers selling quality equipment and supplies as cheaply as possible - having in mind spending as much as five digits. Then finding someone to grant money for a research project in the fields I mentioned. I did not think that anyone would grant you money if you didn't even have a lab or equipment. I wondered too about the hurdle due to lacking a phD. Maybe I wasn't clear but I hope this post explains myself more clearly.
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  8. #7  
    Forum Professor pyoko's Avatar
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    I have always wondered about the difficulties of getting lab equipment and the legality of it. I, of course, refer to the fact that "meth kits" are illegal (here in Australia), even if you don't use them. But equipment in a drug lab is basically the usual equipment in any other lab used for legal scientific purposes. How does one get equipment without looking like one is setting up some sort of home drug lab? Every chemistry lab likely has a few "meth kits" if you look at it through the eyes of the law. Is this a grey area?

    It's like an honest person feeling guilty shopping at a store because you know the shopkeeper is keeping an eye on you and thinks you might be a thief.
    It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.
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  9. #8  
    Forum Freshman Saturn's Avatar
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    I had my own laboratory before accepting a job in a different state, so perhaps I can advise and answer some of your questions. In regards to what academic qualifications you need to start your own a lab, I don't believe there is anything that legally prevents you from founding a lab regardless of how educated you are (at least in the United States where I live - check your local laws if you live elsewhere), but it could make it more difficult to obtain grant money and procure all the materials you require if you lack education and/or experience in the field you want to study. Additionally, it is advisable that you have some familiarity with the laboratory environment, safety protocols, proper use and handling of chemicals and equipment, etc before starting up your own lab. I'm sure most of this already goes without saying, but you didn't provide details about your previous experience or education, so thanks for bearing with me while I state the obvious.

    I should mention that my lab was entirely self funded and not intended for professional or for-profit endeavors (just for my own personal uses, projects, entertainment etc). However, I can still answer questions about grants in a more limited capacity, since I am familiar with the process of applying for them having done so as a research assistant in college and grad school. As far as getting a physical lab, I rented a unit in a building that was specifically designed to be a laboratory that I found by doing a Google search for "laboratory space for rent + Seattle".

    Supplies: AmazonSupply.com is new, but seems to be a good place for purchasing equipment online. I've also made a number of purchases from hach.com that I have been satisfied with. If you are looking to get things more cheaply (or find older/discontinued models of equipment), your local universities might be a good resource, as they usually have tons of extra lab equipment lying around that they will sometimes auction, sell, or even give away if they're looking to free up the space quickly.

    I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have additional questions or if there's anything I can clarify for you.
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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saturn View Post
    I had my own laboratory before accepting a job in a different state, so perhaps I can advise and answer some of your questions. In regards to what academic qualifications you need to start your own a lab, I don't believe there is anything that legally prevents you from founding a lab regardless of how educated you are (at least in the United States where I live - check your local laws if you live elsewhere), but it could make it more difficult to obtain grant money and procure all the materials you require if you lack education and/or experience in the field you want to study. Additionally, it is advisable that you have some familiarity with the laboratory environment, safety protocols, proper use and handling of chemicals and equipment, etc before starting up your own lab. I'm sure most of this already goes without saying, but you didn't provide details about your previous experience or education, so thanks for bearing with me while I state the obvious. I should mention that my lab was entirely self funded and not intended for professional or for-profit endeavors (just for my own personal uses, projects, entertainment etc). However, I can still answer questions about grants in a more limited capacity, since I am familiar with the process of applying for them having done so as a research assistant in college and grad school. As far as getting a physical lab, I rented a unit in a building that was specifically designed to be a laboratory that I found by doing a Google search for "laboratory space for rent + Seattle". Supplies: AmazonSupply.com is new, but seems to be a good place for purchasing equipment online. I've also made a number of purchases from hach.com that I have been satisfied with. If you are looking to get things more cheaply (or find older/discontinued models of equipment), your local universities might be a good resource, as they usually have tons of extra lab equipment lying around that they will sometimes auction, sell, or even give away if they're looking to free up the space quickly. I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have additional questions or if there's anything I can clarify for you.

    thanks! I was aware that amazon sold lab equipment but I wasn't aware of that dedicated site. Hach appears to be a good site too! Please tell me if you think of any others.

    Some of my profs mentioned the universities sell old lab equipment and I did visit their auction place a few times but I didn't really see much worth buying unfortunately. I think those universities keep all those expensive instruments until they're positively ancient and when they do upgrade they donate those older equipments to other labs. I guess anyway.

    I do wish (or hope) to be able to publish my research (would you receive a grant otherwise?) So anything and everything you can tell me about modern grant applying procedures for scientific research would be appreciated.

    I'll remember your lab search terms too thanks. I live in an area that is experiencing hard times due to the depression we're all in but I suspect most of the available facilities would be empty manufacturing plants (which might have attached chemical labs or quality assurance labs) but of course I can't afford to rent an empty manufacturing plant simply to utilize their lab.

    My best hope in that arena might be to find some out-of-business testing lab for either biomedical/medical tests or some other defunct mini lab that serviced the various manufacturers around here.

    Dubious about my prospects in that regard though. My best hope is some small facility that could be converted to a mini-lab.
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