U.S. Particle Accelerator School

Managing Science in Research Laboratories course

Sponsoring University:

Vanderbilt University


Managing Science in Research Laboratories


William Barletta, USPAS/MIT and David McGraw (Ret. LBNL)

Purpose and Audience
Accelerator science and technology is, for the most part, a team enterprise whether conducted in a large (inter)national laboratory, a major research university, or an industrial setting. The successful research manager requires a broad set of technical, organizational, and interpersonal skills to maximize the scientific effectiveness and output of his/her team. The best leaders apply these skills in a context of high standards of scientific ethics and regard for safety and the environment. This course is designed to develop such management skills for principal investigators and first line managers through upper-middle managers.

General familiarity with a research laboratory setting.

To understand the basic aspects of leadership and management of team science in the research laboratory setting. Gain experience with organizational skills such as program planning, interpersonal influence and leadership, and project management.

Instructional Method
Lectures will be given in the mornings. The afternoons will be devoted to “learning by doing” and interactive practice sessions in each of the organizational skills covered. Homework assignments will be given in preparation for the interactive sessions.

Course Content
The lectures will start with a brief description of organizational models followed by discussions of the general measures of the scientific manager. Topics will include a) what defines success? b) what are your resources? c) management tasks, d) leadership. Lectures on resource management include discussion of resource type, total cost of doing business, financial basics, make/buy decisions, and setting priorities. Project Management module will cover a) project purpose, scope, b) project organization & teams, c) project strategy & work plan, d) communication & risk management, e) reporting & lessons learned. The discussion of business plans transitions to the Marketing Science module. This module will include, proposal preparation, scientific presentations, managing reviews, and marketing your staff. Lectures on human resources will cover: a) managing within the law, b) choosing your team: interviewing basics, c) evaluating performance, d) rewarding performance: salary management, and e) succession planning. The lectures will conclude with discussion of ethics in science and ensuring a safe workplace.

Reading Requirements
(to be provided by the USPAS) “Management of Research and Development Organizations: Managing the Unmanageable”, by R.K. Jain and Harry C. Triandis, Second Edition. Wiley Publishing (1996). Additional lecture notes will be provided by the instructor.

Credit Requirements
Students will be evaluated based on performance: final exam (30 % of final grade), homework assignments (35 % of final grade) and in-class assignments (35 % of final grade).