openPR Logo
Press release

Need Help Moving Beyond the Lab Bench?

11-09-2017 09:44 AM CET | Science & Education

Press release from: Formaspace

Lab with phenolic tops

Lab with phenolic tops

In a time of limited government funding for basic research and a reduced number of tenure-track positions offered by universities, many of today's wet and tech ( lab ( scientists face a stark career choice. Do they continue efforts to move up the traditional academic lab career ladder? Or do they choose to move out — to pursue rewarding scientific or management-oriented careers outside of academia?

The Incredible Shrinking Budget for Basic Scientific Research Grants

It comes as no surprise to those in the laboratory science community that US government funding for basic research is increasingly hard to come by. While there are many sources of federal grants, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) provide the bulk of laboratory research funding through its R01 awards program. Yet, as you can see in the accompanying chart, Congress has kept NIH grant funding flat over recent years.

That's bad news for grant applicants, but the story doesn't end there. Not only have NIH budgets failed to keep up with inflation, there's also a strong tendency for NIH to bestow grants to a narrow group of more experienced researchers ( As a result, first-time applicants at the beginning of their lab careers have less than a 1 in 10 chance of receiving an NIH grant (

Here are five suggestions to think about that could help boost your quest for laboratory funding:

Tips for Surviving and Thriving in a World of Shrinking Grant Budgets

• If you are a Ph.D. candidate, a young post-doc, or post post-doc who wants to be part of a successful lab team, it's critical to seek out a PI (primary investigator) who has demonstrated an ability to bring in research funding.

• A University of Michigan Mechanical Engineering professor suggests you can raise the odds of receiving an NIH award by volunteering to serve on grant review committees. By understanding the process from an insider's perspective, you'll see first-hand which proposals get serious consideration and which are left behind (in the dreaded "not discussed (" category).

• If you have the flexibility to move abroad, you might find opportunities in other countries that are seeking researchers in your area of specialty. Canada and Europe (especially France) are recruiting technologists and researchers in many fields. The UK, traditionally a stronghold in pharma research, appears to be in a holding pattern as the implications of Brexit have yet to be clarified on scientific research funding programs currently funded by the EU (such as Erasmus et al.). Chinese and Indian Ph.D. graduates of US institutions are also increasingly open to returning to their home countries thanks to offers to fund research laboratories in an effort to reverse the "brain drain."

• Take the opportunity to voice your opinion about the value of scientific research with your friends, families, and colleagues who may not share this viewpoint. Consider joining and volunteering for organizations that promote the value of basic scientific research. This might not help you today, but it could help you and your fellow lab scientists in the future.

• Finally, be prepared with a robust career "Plan B" in case your quest for traditional academic research funding doesn't pan out. (Hopefully, information in the sections below will give you some ideas.)

The Narrowing Tenure Track for Lab Bench Scientists at Colleges and Universities

Things have not been looking so good in the academic tenure-track world either. Just as the federal government's financial support for basic research has shrunk, so too, has the number of available tenure-track positions at US colleges and universities. As many post-doc researchers know, an increasing number of faculty-level academic jobs have been reclassified as non-tenure-track positions (as many as 70% of new academic positions, according to in a 2004 survey). The bottom line? In 2003, only 7% of Ph.D. candidates had a shot at a tenure-track position (

This is alarming for a couple of reasons.

The first reason could be highly personal: it means you or one of your colleagues have fewer opportunities to pursue a career as a tenured professor.

The second reason has to do with the narrowing of academic freedom and the diversity of ideas. Why? At most academic institutions, only tenure-track faculty are permitted decide which research topics they want to pursue.

Not only does this narrow the range of applicants to a very small number (recall the tendency of NIH grants to be awarded to serial "winners"), it also poses a long-term conflict with the up-and-coming generations of young scientists who have been trained in STEM programs to work together as teams in a more interdisciplinary manner (

Of course, from the academic institution's point of view, putting more wood behind the arrow of their best candidates has a certain financial logic. Kitting out a laboratory for a new tenure-track researcher can cost anywhere from $300,000 to as much as a million dollars annually (; leaving the institution with a fiscal hole to fill until the research (hopefully) begins to win its share of NIH grants to cover the expenses in future years.

Tips for Surviving and Thriving in the Face of Fewer Tenure Track Opportunities

• If you are fortunate enough to be given the opportunity, obtaining a degree from...

Read more ...

Formaspace advances the spirit of discovery and creation through the design and manufacture of custom business furniture. Our furniture marries form to function with flexible solutions for clients in the laboratory, industrial, and office environments.

Formaspace serves over 80% of the Fortune 500, as well as universities, governments, small businesses, and individuals.

1100 E. Howard Lane, Suite 400
Austin, TX 78753


This release was published on openPR.

Permanent link to this press release:

Please set a link in the press area of your homepage to this press release on openPR. openPR disclaims liability for any content contained in this release.

You can edit or delete your press release Need Help Moving Beyond the Lab Bench? here

News-ID: 808071 • Views: 496

More Releases from Formaspace

Reduce Material Handling Cost: Ergonomics to the Rescue!
That’s the finding from Liberty Mutual’s new 2019 Workplace Safety Index, which identified five types of accidents that are responsible for two-thirds of the injuries in Transportation and Warehousing: Overexertion involving an outside source Falls to the same level Roadway incidents Other exertions or bodily reactions Falls to a lower level What can be done to make packing and shipping stations safer for everyone? The answer may lie in improved ergonomics. Unlike Canada and the EU, which have
5 Core Concept to Operate a Museum
When it comes to understanding how to manage a museum effectively, it's helpful to learn more about the roles of five departments that make up the backbone of museum operations. They are (1) the Conservation Department, (2) the Documentation Department, (3) the Research Department, (4) the Exhibition Department and (5) the Educational and Information Services Departments. In this article, we will look at each of these five museum departments in detail. 1.
Can Current Soil Testing Labs Meet Growth in the Organic Farming Industry?
Once considered a niche product, organic produce sales are on the march. Today's health-conscious consumers are willing to pay a premium for the perceived quality benefits of organic foods, which are poised to grab additional market share as new industry players, such as Amazon with its acquisition of Whole Foods, enter the retail grocery market. The increasing demand is also driving the need for more organic produce testing by certified
In a world where customers are expecting faster (and often free) delivery, businesses are finding it more important than ever to closely manage their ground shipping operations. We take a look at how to address the twin challenges of reducing delivery times while decreasing shipping costs. We'd now like to introduce you to Matt Rundblad, who oversees our Formaspace Customer Service and Shipping Operations. Matt started his career in shipping and

All 5 Releases

More Releases for NIH

NIH Awards MoBiTec's Partner BellBrook Labs Phase II Grant
NIH Awards MoBiTec's Partner BellBrook Labs Phase II Grant to Develop HTS Assays Targeting the cGAS-STING Pathway for Autoimmune Diseases and Cancer. The National Institutes of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) recently awarded BellBrook Labs a $1 million phase II Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grant to develop new assays to detect cyclic GMP-AMP (cGAMP) levels in biological samples. The assays will be used to discover, develop, and monitor new treatments for
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Awards Adelphi University Professors Nea …
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded Adelphi University Associate Professors Brian Stockman, Ph.D. and Melissa VanAlstine-Parris, Ph.D., both in the Department of Chemistry, a federal grant for $310,934. One of the main goals of the project is to immerse undergraduate students into cutting-edge scientific research including hands-on use of NMR spectroscopy instrumentation, medicinal chemistry and Trichomonas vaginalis cell biology. The award became active on June 1, 2017 and
NIH and Themis Bioscience Announce the Initiation of a Clinical Trial of a Chiku …
A prophylactic vaccine candidate against Chikungunya fever developed with proprietary technology of Themis Bioscience GmbH will be tested in a clinical trial sponsored by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). The vaccine, developed by Themis, is based on a standard measles vaccine as a vaccination vector and hence offers an excellent safety profile. It already showed high seroconversion rates in the preceding Phase I clinical trial: 100 percent of
Agenda Released for Superbugs USA: PAHO/WHO, NIH, AstraZeneca, Pfizer and BARDA …
SMi have announced that a brochure has been released for Superbugs & Superdrugs USA, taking place on November 14th & 15th 2016 in Iselin, New Jersey. Aiming to provide solutions in funding drug development projects, as well as guidance on antibiotic alternatives and updates on global initiatives to fight infectious diseases, the agenda will look to arm attendees with an effective toolkit of ideas to fight the global attack against bacteria's
BARDA, NIH and Janssen to Present on Antimicrobial Resistance at Superbugs USA t …
SMi are delighted to announce the expansion of their antimicrobial portfolio of events across the Atlantic with the release of Superbugs & Superdrugs USA, complementing the Group’s Superbugs & Superdrugs European conference which has been running for the past 18 years. With pending confirmations from PAHO/WHO and Astra Zeneca, SMi Group have worked closely with a panel of speakers to present an agenda that will look to address key issues
Dr. James Gulley - NCI, NIH to speak at the Cancer Immunotherapy Congress in Bos …
Dr. James Gulley, an internationally recognized expert in cancer immunotherapy has joined the speaker panel for the Cancer Immunotherapy Congress organized by Markets and Markets Conferences. The congress scheduled for 19th – 20th May 2016 in Boston, USA, will gather scientists, academicians and professionals from Pharmaceutical, Bio-pharmaceutical, Bio-technology companies and Research institutes working in Drug Discovery, Drug Screening, Oncology R&D, Cancer Immunotherapy/ Immuno-oncology and Immunotherapy R&D. Dr. Gulley serves within