Centralized or Distributed R&D Facilities

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Centralized or Distributed R&D Facilities

Postby Don Juan on July 4th, 2019, 11:24 am 

In 2014, I began a small molecular biology laboratory in our Division, the first to have in our Center. The Center has several divisions housed in separate building-laboratories, and one of these is a laboratory services division. I took the effort to explain to the management the importance and future projects of the laboratory for exploring our biological resources and solving problems in relation to postharvest pest and diseases. Realizing the importance of a molecular laboratory, the laboratory services division built their own lab and trained their personnel on basic molecular biology techniques for servicing in 2016. In 2018, we have our ISO certifications for quality, environment and safety. This year however, the laboratory services division proposes a central laboratory in which all of the laboratories including ours will be pooled for the reasons of cost-effectiveness and higher standards under their control. Our Division's molecular lab was established to pursue its research on our specialized problem, but for the sake of maximizing its use and raising standards further there's a threat it will be relocated to a central lab in which we will have access but not control, in short it will now serve the purpose of servicing for research. Labs of other Divisions specializing on other problems such as bioprocessing will become affected too once the proposal is approved. The question then is, what is really advantageous for research: a central lab or distributed labs? Can anyone provide me with references about such situation? Thanks.
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Re: Centralized or Distributed R&D Facilities

Postby Serpent on July 4th, 2019, 2:18 pm 

I don't have a handy reference, but will always advocate for decentralization, especially of facilities that may be vulnerable to power-outage, weather events, computer hacking, sabotage or bio-hazard/contamination.
Any problem or failure is easier to contain and easier to correct, in a self-contained, specialized unit than a large integrated one. Not to mention that unmentionable vulnerability: administrative error.
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Re: Centralized or Distributed R&D Facilities

Postby Dave_C on July 7th, 2019, 6:11 pm 

I'm not in a biology field, I'm a machinery engineer but I suspect there are parallels between your work and mine that may be applicable. I work on reciprocating compressors, others here work on centrifugal compressors and expanders while others work on specification of other companies equipment for use on company projects. Our department can't develop or specialize in all types of compression machinery of course. But we do have considerable interaction such as working on projects where various machinery engineers work on one system. We consider ourselves a 'machinery community' and get together for talks, presentations and even week long symposiums. Our company even brings together people in different countries to the larger symposiums.

I think there's considerable benefit to having a 'community' within a corporation regardless of whether it's centralized in a single location or sprinkled around on a larger campus or distributed throughout the country/world. Only problem with the far flung community is the problem of getting together or working together. I see considerable benefit to tapping the abilities of other experts even when they're not necessarily expert in your particular field. Even if you only rarely work with others, simply finding out about other's work can be beneficial such as finding out what the research needs of others are.
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Re: Centralized or Distributed R&D Facilities

Postby Biosapien on September 17th, 2019, 12:25 am 

We too experienced same kind of situation, even though our department has good infrastructure, the equipment bought under our projects has been placed in the central facility rather in our department. These are due to politics in science and such kind of problem is never ending process unless we persuade the corporate mind of higher authority / administration. On the other had the good aspects of centralization is, it becomes accessible to all other department which means you don't have to rely on outsource for DNA isolation,PCR and so on.
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