U.S. Particle Accelerator School

Strategic Management of Research Labs

Sponsoring University:

Old Dominion University

Course Name:

Strategic Management of Research Labs


William Barletta, USPAS/MIT and Luisella Lari, Fermilab

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 executive skills to maximize the scientific effectiveness and output of his/her team.  This course is designed to develop strategic management skills for principal investigators and first line managers through upper-middle managers.

At least three years of graduate training in physical, chemical or biosciences. Some supervisory experience in a research laboratory setting (either government, industry or university) is preferred.

It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that he or she meets the course prerequisites or has equivalent experience.

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

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) measures of a scientific manager (b) business environment for research organizations (c) leadership in scientific organizations (d) forecasting and risk. Lectures on resource management include discussion of resource type, total cost of doing business, financial basics, make/buy decisions and setting priorities.  The discussion of strategic plans and business plans transitions to the strategic marketing module. This module will include, proposal preparation, scientific presentations, managing reviews and marketing your staff.  The course emphasizes skill in communicating the strategic vision and implementation plans to staff, funding agencies, and the general public.

Reading Requirements
(to be provided by the USPAS) "The Execution Premium: Linking Strategy to Operations for Competitive Advantage" by Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton, Harvard Business School Press (2008) and lecture notes provided by the instructors.

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).

Old Dominion University course number:
Phys 696, "Special Topics in Accelerator Physics"
Indiana University course number: Physics 671, "Advanced Topics in Accelerator Physics"
Michigan State University course number: PHY 963, "U.S. Particle Accelerator School"
MIT course number: 8.790, "Accelerator Physics"