• Question: how long does it normally take for you to plan a new experiment?

    Asked by keira on 28 Nov 2023.
    • Photo: removed scientist

      removed scientist answered on 28 Nov 2023:

      It will depend on many factors. We start by having a theoretical issue we want to explore. We then think about the best way to answer that question. Sometimes it is quite quick to come up with the testing but it can take a long time to sort out things like ethics, funding and even setting it up (especially if computer programming is needed)

    • Photo: David McGonigle

      David McGonigle answered on 30 Nov 2023:

      Wow….it’s like ‘how long is a piece of string?!’. Sometimes a new piece of kit – scientific equipment – comes along and we all go ‘aha! that’s going to allow me to study X in a way I could never before…’; and the experiment almost writes itself. But a lot of the time it can be really hard going: there are ideas i’ve had 10 years ago that are 80% ready to turn into experiments…but there’s just one little issue that i can’t seem to solve…

      An important point to make, though, is that planning and designing experiments is a really creative process, and a nice example that science doesn’t have to be a dull and grey career choice!

    • Photo: Berengere Digard

      Berengere Digard answered on 30 Nov 2023:

      it depends on loads of things. A quick experiment can be designed in 3 weeks if you can work on it full time, but if you need to also apply for ethics, and do all the admin and set up, it can take several weeks more.

    • Photo: Emma Sullivan

      Emma Sullivan answered on 11 Dec 2023:

      It usually takes several months to plan a new experiment. It can be longer depending on how long it takes to get the materials ready. For example, in one of my PhD studies, I designed a VR world and that took me about a year to do!