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Symposium on Laboratory Lifecycle Management report published

July 25, 2023

The Symposium on Laboratory Lifecycle Management, held in the winter of 2022, brought together researchers, facilities experts, real estate professionals and design and construction experts from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and local industry to discuss strategies for innovative, long-term lab management at the university and in the region. Through panels and discussion, attendees identified key themes impacting the efficiency and effectiveness of laboratory management strategies and developed actionable solutions to streamline laboratory processes.

Recently, the Symposium on Laboratory Lifecycle Management report was published. The report is available online. It captures the event proceedings, outlines key themes and recommends future steps and strategies to manage labs to maximize research and scientific productivity across UW–Madison.

The recommendations encompass a wide range of aspects, including:

  • Improving stewardship of existing infrastructure;
  • Strengthening relationships with industry and government agencies; and
  • Improving university systems and culture to support researchers.


In the short term, the Lab Symposium event itself catalyzed valuable new relationships and provided practical information to practitioners who were able to implement recommendations right away.

“This event was a useful opportunity to connect with researchers and peers to advance our lab delivery program across the university,” says Randi J. Smith, manager of the Research Lab Delivery Program housed in the Division of Facilities, Planning & Management. “At the symposium, we solidified the need to build a framework for a lab pre-design stage during which architects and engineers can collect existing condition data to best assess lab space limitations and identify lab space potentials when renovating labs.”

In addition, since the Lab Symposium events, the university has started implementing lessons learned.  Notably, the recommendations have been informing ongoing concept design development for the West Campus District Plan, ensuring that future infrastructure initiatives align with the needs and goals identified during the symposium.

UW Finance & Administration leadership, including the Division of Business Services, is prioritizing continued improvement to reduce administrative burden as one significant aspect of the report’s recommendations. Recognizing the administrative hurdles researchers often face, Business Services has increased the amount of assistance available for travel and, in a joint effort with the units, is continuously looking to streamline both the expense and purchasing requirements. This includes the introduction of “travel concierge” services and leveraging technology to simplify workflows.

“It is great to put the recommendations from the symposium into action and integrate them into various initiatives across the university,” Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Rob Cramer says. “By implementing these measures, we can foster a more conducive environment for groundbreaking research and innovation, while addressing inefficiencies in our practices.”

The publication helps serve as a learning tool for future initiatives, ensuring that UW–Madison remains at the forefront of cutting-edge research and scientific advancement.

Visit the Symposium on Laboratory Lifecycle Management webpage to read the report.
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