The Business of Running a Lab: Computational Research (In Person)

You asked and we listened–this is our 7th annual mini-course designed with future faculty in mind!

This mini-course will address some of your most pressing concerns as you consider the practical aspects of starting your own lab. Each of the four 75-minute sessions will be a moderated panel discussion, structured around questions that each panelist will answer.

Dates: Monday April 4, Wednesday April 6, Monday April 18 & Wednesday April 20, 10:30 – 11:45 AM
Course Capacity: 30
Location: UChicagoGRAD Headquarters – 3rd Floor of the UChicago Bookstore.

Participating Faculty

Stefano Allesina, Ecology & Evolution
John Novembre, Human Genetics
Jennifer (Piper) Below, Medicine, Vanderbilt University
Giulia Galli, Material/Quantum Systems
Aaron Dinner, Chemistry
Junhong Chen, Material Systems
Yuan Ji, Public Health Sciences
Brent Doiron, Statistics & Computational Neuroscience
Ben Zhao, Computer Science


Abby Stayart, myCHOICE Program Director

Session Content

Session 1: Negotiating and budgeting your start-up package
Sample questions from previous years:

  • How do you determine the amount of start-up funding to ask for?
  • What was your strategy for spending start-up funds?

Session 2: Time management and acclimation for the new PI
Sample questions from previous years:

  • What was the greatest difference in your time management strategy as a postdoc and as a new PI?
  • Do you have any implicit or conscious time-management strategy that you feel has been important to your success?
  • How much say do you have about which course/s you teach? What percentage of time do you spend teaching vs researching?
  • Any advice for making a practical career plan?

Session 3: Getting your first grant & grant management
Sample questions from previous years:

  • Do you have a process that you’ve developed that helps you get from writing the first words through to the end?
  • Is there anything proactive you can do when your grant gets rejected?
  • How do you manage the money if you have multiple grants?
  • How do you handle finances when your R01 is up for renewal?

Session 4: Hiring, firing, & lab management
Sample questions from previous years:

  • How many people should you hire at the beginning of your lab? And who should you hire first: grad students, postdocs, or technicians?
  • Do you recommend any formal training in management?
  • Do you have any recommended books for running a lab and managing employees?
  • What informal opportunities can we seek to gain skills in running a lab?

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