How to build up a new lab in less than 6 months

Once you start your own lab there is a series of events that you need to do in the right order or you will loose a tremendous amount of time.

It is common sense that it takes at least a year to build up a running lab. Why that? Why should it take such a long time? Then you are only left with 4 years to prove yourself. Couldnt that go faster? Of course it can, if you do things in the right order. And if you get into the right mindset.

When you are promoted from Post Doc to PI you need to understand that your job profile completely changes. You are a leader now with your own business, your lab. And you need to think as a leader not solely as a scientist.

What is your top-most highest priority while building up a lab? Hiring people !Β Hiring awsome people that are a perfect fit for your lab. Where do you get them from? Well, thats a marketing strategy. You can download my 6-step recruitment process on the left side.

You usually get a funding if you open your first lab. Use that funding right away form day 1 to hire helping hands. You must be stupid doing everything by yourself in the beginning. You have the money! Hire people! If you want to know how click here. There is an easy strategy that doesnt take much of your time because I automated most of the process. πŸ™‚


What is definetely the wrong thing to do while starting your lab?

  • Doing experiments yourself - better hire a Post Doc or train a student. Training a student is an investment into your future. It will save you lots of time in the longrun.
  • Writing the non-finished paper from your Post Doc lab – better wait 6 months till your own lab is running. Anyway you dont need anymore first author papers. So dont screw your new position for your old story!
  • Writing animal protocols over months – better copy paste it from your collegues, you can change it anytime later on. Once you start discussing ideas with your students the project direction will anyway change. You cannot oversee 5 years from your desk. So first hire the students with whom you can discuss.
  • Writing grants to get additional funding – better wait 6 months till your own lab is running. There will be many more grant opportunities coming.
  • Attending meeting after meeting – better learn to say NO.
  • Ordering lab equipment – better hire a technician to do that.


I know whats on your mind now: But for ME its different ..., but I cannot ..., but I first need to ..., but there is an opportunity now...

Well, sorry, that attitude will make the difference later on. Stop thinking (only) like a scientist but like a leader. I know, you were not trained for that. But you have to face it, sooner or later. Dont choose the hard way. Thats why I am building up this coaching class. πŸ™‚ So you can go the easy way.

During the 6-step recruitment we talked about A-, B- and C-Employees. A is pulling your lab, B is working 9 to 5 and C is hindering the whole team.

As the PI your major task is to build up a phenomenal team that consists only of A-Employees. People who are standing behind your ideas, who are pushing experiments, who have great ideas and know the topic better than you do. Take your time to find these people. I can show you the fast track if you want. But if you choose to do it yourself, I just want you to understand that this is your main task to do. Nothing else. Nevertheless, this often runs at the side.

Once you hire them you need to train them as quick as possible. Thats the time you are allowed to go back to the bench. Train them well! They will run your lab or ruin you! I believe that every A-Employee can be trained to work at the level of a Post Doc. Everyone, also the technicians and the students. If we train them properly, give them responsibilities and trust them they will do magic for you. And your team will love you for that approach.


Why shouldnt you do some little experiments at the beginning, or write a little grant or order some equipment ... It cannot be that bad after all. YES, it is! Because you loose a tremendous amount of time and you are actually doing the job that your people are supposed to do. But nobody does your job! Nobody will hire people if you dont do it. Nobody will build up a great team or train anyone. And then, after 6 months you are still sitting in an empty lab ...