Hilde Janssens currently works as a lab manager in the laboratory of a junior principal investigator (PI) at the Centre for Genomic Regulation in Barcelona, Spain—except when she’s teaching other scientists how to manage their own laboratories. In 2009, Janssens participated in her first lab management course, offered by her institution through the Heidelberg, Germany-based training and coaching company hfp consulting. A year later, the company recruited her as a part-time instructor. Continue reading
Firing a member of your lab is difficult. Fortunately, it’s also rare. The first and only time cell biologist Samara Reck-Peterson had to do it, in her laboratory at Harvard University, she felt prepared. She had practiced the difficult conversation during a lab management course she’d taken in 2009, and she had a script ready. “Practicing is really the most important thing,” she says. Continue reading
When Kelly Andringa began to get calls from faculty anxious about their paperwork, she wondered whether she’d done her assignment right. As a 2-days-a-week intern on the conflict-of-interest review board at the University of Alabama, Birmingham (UAB), she had written a Web-based tutorial explaining to faculty how to properly fill out compliance forms. Her main job, however, was as a postdoc in environmental health at the same university; administration was new to her. But, as more calls came in, Andringa realized that the concerns of most of those faculty members were unwarranted: They had completed the forms correctly. “I was quite proud,” she recalls. “I felt good about communicating it well.”
Most scientific researchers know the agony of waiting to hear about the status of a submitted manuscript. They are eager to change the phrase “manuscript submitted” on a grant application or curriculum vitae to “in press” in advance of some crucial deadline. Publications in prestigious journals—not necessarily the articles themselves but the fact of their existence—are the established and universal, albeit imperfect, way of claiming credit for the scientific work you’ve done, and there’s always a delay.
But when sociologist Margarita Mooney of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, recently applied for a grant, she was able to take instant credit for one aspect of her work: the readership of her blog, as documented by Google Analytics. When she told the review committee that her team blog, Black, White and Gray, had 15,000 page views in its first month, rising to 20,000 views in later months, they were impressed, she recalls. Blog readership is not a traditional measure of scholarship, but the committee, which was also evaluating public impact, rewarded her for it. She won the grant.