Crusades for saving Grant Money?

Karen Allendoerfer ravena at cco.caltech.edu
Wed Jun 18 11:01:16 EST 1997


In article <6B14B22F5D at bio.tamu.edu>,
Julia Frugoli <JFRUGOLI at BIO.TAMU.EDU> wrote:
>All of this hits home for me-I come from an 'always on the edge of 
>running out of grant money" lab and am collaborating in a "well funded" 
>lab.  I have to admit, coming from one background into the other that 
>some kits are worth their weight in gold.  Some are simply a waste of 
>gold.  

(snip)

>I console
>myself with the fact that the skills I learned in the low-buget lab 
>(making my own reagents, recycling materials) are probably more 
>important in today's job market than we'd like to believe (after all-how 
>are you going to bridge the time between the end of start up funds and 
>that first grant?  With today's funding situation, that time may be 
>getting longer.)

I know a lot of people in this position, and I can only hope to be 
so lucky that I someday too will get a job and have meager start-up
funds to scrimp with.  I've seen both sides of the coin, as Julia
has--in one underfunded lab that I was in there was a postdoc who 
really went overboard saving money (at least to my naive viewpoint)
in that he wouldn't order reagents that he really needed.  He ended
up not getting any papers out of that lab.  

What are concrete things that people do or have seen done that save
money without sacrificing productivity?  It might really be worth
compiling and disseminating a list like that . . . 

So far, I've seen:

1. Weigh out your own agarose
2. Rinse out Falcon tubes
3. Don't throw out expired film

I know in one lab I've seen stuffing pipet tip boxes be someone's
lab chore.  Saving the boxes and buying the tips in bulk saved one
lab I heard about in Australia around $3000 per year.  A postdoc
from that lab said she stuffed pipet tips herself in order to save
enough money to attend international meetings (which, from Australia,
were quite a lot of money).

But there is some line to be drawn somewhere, isn't there?  Time
is money too . . . 

Karen



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