What Skill Actually Funds Research Labs Today (Hint: It’s not just about The Science anymore!)


How many of us have gone to school and prepared diligently for our chosen career field, only to find out a few years into it that a host of world events has disrupted the way “it’s supposed to be?”

We find ourselves in the middle of the game, and someone has changed the rules on us.

Thanks to the $1.5+ billion funding cuts to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), hospital researchers now find themselves trying to hit baseball pitches with a badminton racquet.

Writing a grant, leading a staff of lab techs, and applying for venture capital funding used to be all about The Science. What does your preliminary research show? What do you hope to discover with more funding? What do you hope to develop and/or manufacture that will cure a disease with even more funding?

For the most part, the NIH had money to award to Great Minds that could dream up and prove Great Science.

The Principal Investigator in a Post-Sequestration World

Here is today’s (and tomorrow’s) Secret Sauce: Entrepreneurship.

The Academic Research Hospital now must interview its prospective Principal Investigators to find out if this candidate has the skill set to raise funds.

And not just in a grant application format, but everywhere. Even from sources that, at the moment, haven’t yet funded scientific medical research.

Here’s What to Look for in an Entrepreneurial Principal Investigator

1. Entrepreneurs who know how to keep going and how to look under the hood, under every stone, into every dark forest where no one has gone before,

2. Who aren’t afraid to re-write the rules,

3. Who aren’t afraid to try new ideas to see if they work, to be bold, and to take calculated risks,

4. Who keep going until they succeed.

And the #1 secret that history’s successful entrepreneurs know that The Masses don’t realize? They know that rules, such as they are, have been created by mere mortals who:

  • came before them;
  • found a way to accomplish something,
  • and who over-confidently convinced others that their way is the only way.

Academic research hospitals want to maintain the research funding levels they’ve enjoyed in the past. Therefore, the new principal investigator needs to prove that she has the skills to attract money.

However, a PI also needs to bring new ideas with them to effectively manage those funds once they’ve won them.

Are you interested in some practical ways to preserve those research funds? Type in your name and e-mail below, and we’ll send you our latest thinking on “How Innovation & Integration Can Lower Your Research Lab Operating Costs.”

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Posted In: Laboratories, Pavilion Perspectives