Essential Lab Etiquette for Research Scientists in a Shared Biotechnology Incubator 

In this dynamic environment, it’s crucial to maintain professionalism and courtesy to ensure a productive and harmonious atmosphere. Drawing upon the experience of Dr Anesu Conrad Moyo, Laboratory Manager at UVU Bio Labs, Africa’s pioneering shared biotechnology laboratory, we present practical guidelines to help scientists thrive in this collaborative setting.  


Respect Personal Space and Equipment: 


One of the cornerstones of lab etiquette is respecting personal space and equipment. Maintaining respect for personal boundaries and equipment is paramount in a shared lab space. Keep your workstation organised and clean, and refrain from using equipment without permission. Return borrowed items promptly and handle others’ belongings with care. By fostering an atmosphere of respect, scientists can create an environment where everyone feels valued and can work efficiently. 


Effective Communication and Planning: 


Clear and proactive communication is key to successful collaboration in shared lab spaces. Before starting a project or experiment, communicate your plans with colleagues. Discuss timelines, anticipated equipment usage, and any potential disruptions that might impact others. This coordination allows for a smooth workflow and minimises conflicts. 


Prioritize Lab Safety: 


Lab safety should always be a top priority. Familiarise yourself with the safety protocols established by the laboratory manager and strictly adhere to them. Report any safety concerns or incidents promptly to maintain a secure working environment for all. Keep your workspace clean and organized, store hazardous materials appropriately, and promote a culture of safety awareness among your peers. 


Minimize Noise and Distractions: 


Creating a focused work environment is essential for productivity in a shared lab space. Minimize noise and distractions by refraining from loud conversations and using headphones when listening to audio. Be mindful of alarms and notifications on electronic devices, ensuring they are not disruptive to others. By minimizing distractions, scientists can maintain their concentration and maximize their research output. 


Collaborate with the Laboratory Manager: 


The laboratory manager plays a crucial role in facilitating the smooth operation of shared lab space. Engage with them regularly, seeking their guidance on equipment usage, lab protocols, and best practices. Keep them informed about any concerns or suggestions you may have. By building a cooperative relationship, scientists can benefit from the expertise of the laboratory manager and enhance the overall efficiency of the lab. 


As research scientists working in a shared biotechnology incubator, adhering to proper lab etiquette is essential for a productive and collaborative environment. By respecting personal space and equipment, practising effective communication, prioritizing lab safety, minimizing distractions, and collaborating with the laboratory manager, scientists can create a workspace that fosters innovation and scientific excellence. Let us embrace these principles and contribute to the success of shared lab spaces, propelling advancements in biotechnology research.