Commentaries on Viewpoint: The academic biomedical research laboratory as a “small business”: “Partnering small businesses” for success

Jarrod A. Call, Sarah M. Greising

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)744
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
TO THE EDITOR: Seals (1) presents one exceptional and successful model of the laboratory as a small business. Together, we contend that in the economic sector small businesses rarely exist in isolation and one alternative successful model is seeking partnerships and relying on a “community of small businesses.” For example, the local sandwich shop depends on the bread baker for success: they cohesively manage schedules and supply chain demands for their shared and individual growth. Small businesses and startup companies will often use a strategy called strategic alliance which is an arrangement to pursue a mutually beneficial project while maintaining independence. Junior faculty laboratories (essentially startup companies) can benefit from strategic alliances too! Such arrangements minimize risk (e.g., wasted time/resources perfecting immunohistochemistry) and maximize the probability of success by leveraging each laboratory’s core competencies (i.e., partnering laboratory excels in immunohistochemistry). Academically, funding agencies support strategic alliances exemplified by multi-or partnering-principal investigator awards for the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense, respectively. We agree with Hamilton and Miller (2) that these partnerships require a level of selflessness, respect, and trust, and these attributes and the concept of group success are worthy pursuits when mentoring early career scientists. Like the bread baker and the sandwich maker, our experience is that success has been much greater shared, and we have addressed knowledge gaps better together than we could have on our own. Perhaps the future is a less isolated tower and more teams of laboratories and communities can address complex physiologic questions and drive long-term sustainability.

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