When you walked into your lab today, did you notice your environment? Or did you take for granted the open, airy spaces, floor-to-ceiling windows, fabulous views of the outdoors, art work and potted plants? Or maybe that doesn’t exactly describe the place you work. In either case, the current state-of-the art lab design model advocates environments that are responsive to current and future needs; foster interaction and team-based research; balance the need for open and closed spaces; can accommodate ever more complex technology; and are environmentally sustainable. A tall order to be sure, but one that promises to deliver greater productivity, a happier and more creative workforce, and the ability to attract top talent. “Research scientists and technicians are more productive in labs that are efficient, healthy and inspiring. Improve the workplace, and the work results too will improve,” say the authors of this month’s cover story, “Changing Spaces.” Hopefully that’s the kind of space you’re working in right now.
While the labs featured in our cover story have obviously been created from the ground up with very deep pockets of funding, that is not the case for all research facilities. For those with more constrained budgets, this month’s Lab Design & Furnishings article on page 32 provides two case studies in which existing office spaces were transformed into high-technology laboratories. “Although additional revenue was needed to upgrade the existing office space, it was still less costly than purchasing or leasing new lab space. It can be done. Start with a good plan and an initial study to determine if it is viable for you,” says author Mark Paskanik.
This month’s Perspective On article (page 66) looks at developments in the tools and technologies used in a food testing lab. Author Bernard Tulsi tells us, “There seems to be a general global consensus supporting more testing, evaluation and control, and greater care being taken within food-based facilities.” And Dr. Paul Young, director, chemical analysis operations, Waters Corporation, says, “We are starting to see a significant movement toward mass spectrometric methods because of their ability to generate robust and unequivocal results.” All of which promises improved food safety in the future “once we accomplish our technical mission of creating effective detection and measurement systems—and the legal and regulatory missions.”
Meanwhile, John Borchardt’s article, “The Patent Business,” (page 54) provides a detailed explanation of the various ways and reasons a company can use patents for business purposes. Among those are: to gain clues to competitors’ business strategies; to locate experts to serve as consultants or expert witnesses in patent litigation; to avoid duplicating the research of others; and to avoid infringing on other organizations’ patent rights, to name just a few. “In today’s knowledge-driven economy, effective use of patent information contributes to the success of many companies,” says Borchardt. Good information for anyone looking to stay competitive.
Outside the pages of Lab Manager, our umbrella organization, LabX Media Group, is pleased as punch to have recently purchased The Scientist magazine. We look forward to working with our new sister publication and sharing some of their unique content with the readers of this magazine.
Wishing you a healthy and joyful holiday season!