The PI's Business of Research Boot Camp: Ins and Outs of Budgets, Personnel and Project Management

July 15-16, 2024 | Livestream, virtual training

PI's Business of Research Boot Camp

Registration is open! Join us for the next PI's Business of Research Boot Camp on July 15-16, 2024. 

The PI's Business of Research Boot Camp will equip research group leaders with concepts and strategies in personnel, project, time, and budget management for effective research programs that advance publishing, funding, and productivity goals for career success. 


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Jump to: Overview | Audience & Requirements | Instructors | Scholarships | Location | Testimonials | Registration Fees | Additional Information

Boot Camp Overview

Summer 2024 dates: Livestream, online training July 15-16, 2024; 10am ET - ~5:30pm ET

This two-day intensive boot camp challenges participants to think about their research group as a business and to implement strategies for effective and efficient teamwork and (research and career) goal attainment that fosters success to maximize your impact. Hands-on activities will engage you to identify your current strategies for personnel, project, and time management, learn new strategies, and plan to implement those strategies for a more effective research group business. Additional instructions will empower you with a foundational understanding of budgeting (e.g. NIH, NSF, and DOD).

By the end of the workshop, participants will be familiar with the following topics:

  • The importance of setting and attaining goals
  • Developing a program vision and culture
  • Hiring (and firing) the right person
  • Strategies for effective research group meetings
  • Budgeting basics for NIH, DOD, and NSF
  • Managing time and energy and avoiding procrastination
  • When to say no, when to say yes
  • Moving projects forward
  • Knowing when to drop a project
  • Understanding how to keep your team motivated

Audience and Requirements

This boot camp is targeted for faculty who are in the process of establishing or growing their research group. PIs and/or those with a group leader appointment at any university, hospital, institution, or other research organization are welcome to attend. There are no prerequisites to attend the PI's Business of Research Boot Camp. This boot camp is not applicable to students, and there is a limited number of seats for postdocs and trainees.

What's the difference between the PI's Business of Research Boot Camp and the PI Crash Course?

The SHARP Program offers two professional development programs geared towards PIs: PI's Business of Research Boot Camp and the PI Crash Course. PI Crash Course is for transitioning into a faculty position and navigating the first years of this position. PI Crash Course is about obtaining key skills to successfully start your research group whereas PI’s Business of Research is for those leading more established research groups and more focused on day-to-day operation of that group almost as a ‘business’. PI Crash Course includes negotiation skills, determining your leadership style, and how to build a colleague network to support you as a junior faculty member, whereas PI's Business of Research Boot Camp looks at the group you are leading with budgeting, setting up team meetings and a deeper dive into project management, and internal workings of the team. There is some overlapping themes between the two trainings, but PI Crash Course is core career development skills for the individual, and PI's Business of Research Boot Camp is more operational/management skills for the group you lead.


Jessica K. Lerch, PhD, Co-Founder, CareerVolt; Founder, Significance, Innovation, Impact. Dr. Lerch earned her PhD in Neuroscience at Case Western. She then completed postdoctoral training at the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis at the University of Miami and went to a Research Assistant and then a tenure-track Assistant Professor appointment in the Department of Neuroscience at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. In late 2017, Jessica moved to a science consulting role with Eva Garland Consulting, helping small biotechnology companies and researchers across the world strategize their science to achieve over $37 million in grant funding for their R&D and early-phase clinical trial projects. Jessica started her first company, Significance, Innovation, Impact, in 2018 as a grant-writing consultant. In 2019, Jessica joined with long-time friend and colleague Dr. Sheila Cherry to launch CareerVolt, born of their shared desire to help scientists succeed in their career paths by filling skills gaps and supporting attainment of professional goals.

Sarah Bronson, PhD, Research Leadership and Success Consultant, CareerVolt. Dr. Bronson received her PhD in Biomedical Sciences from Washington University in Saint Louis, Missouri, and was a postdoctoral trainee with Oliver Smithies, DPhil at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Sarah spent her entire faculty career at the Penn State College of Medicine where she was a researcher, educator, and administrator. She is now an emeritus associate professor and associate dean. She was the co-director (2010-2020) of the nationally recognized Junior Faculty Development Program where she developed a holistic program that teased out the steps to scholarly project development as well as the path toward a sustainable and rewarding career. She was also a co-director for the Grants Academy, with a more specific focus on grant proposal development. As Director of Research Development (2014-2023) she implemented the internal awards program and the limited submission process.


There will be additional individuals experienced with NIH, DOD, and NSF budgets for a Q&A session.


Training scholarships are available for the PI's Business of Research Boot Camp.


Summer 2024: The PI's Business of Research Boot Camp will be a livestream, remote training that takes place over live, online video on July 15-16, 2024 from 10am ET - ~5:30pm ET. Please note this training is not a self-paced, pre-recorded online training.


"This workshop was wonderful because it actually focused on tangible strategies we can use to improve how we work, which is not easy to come by. I appreciated the knowledge level of the instructors, who were able to speak to being academic researchers, but also experts in the business/management side." - Faculty member at Penn Nursing, 2023

"The PI's Business of Research Boot Camp provided an extremely fantastic, comprehensive and deep review of important knowledge, skills, and action steps required to successfully manage the PI's time and energy and for the PI to succesfully manage and lead a team or lab of any size." - Faculty member at Columbia University, 2023

"This course had a lot of nuggets of wisdom that I can apply straight away, as well as leaving me with a lot of food for thought to go through carefully over the next few months, which may impact the way I run my lab down the line." - Faculty member at UTHealth Houston, 2023

"I would strongly recommend this training to any incoming faculty member. In my opinion, this should be essential required training for all faculty members." - Faculty member at Stanford University, 2023

Registration Fees

  Early-bird Rate (through 5/10/24) Regular Rate (5/11/24 - 7/8/24) Columbia Discount*
Postdoc/Trainee $995 $1,195 10%
Faculty/Academic Staff/Non-Profit Organizations/Government Agencies $1,195 $1,395 10%
For-Profit Organizations $1,395 $1,595 NA


*Columbia Discount: This discount is valid for any active postdoc, staff, or faculty at Columbia University. If paying by credit card, use your Columbia email address during the registration process to automatically have the discount applied. If paying by internal transfer within Columbia, submit this Columbia Internal Transfer Request form to receive further instructions. Please note: filling out this form is not the same as registering for a training and does not guarantee a training seat.  

Invoice Payment: If you would prefer to pay by invoice/check, please submit this Invoice Request form to receive further instructions. Please note: filling out this form is not the same as registering for a training and does not guarantee a training seat.

Registration Fee: This fee includes course material, which will be made available to all participants both during and after the conclusion of the training.

Cancellations: Cancellation notices must be received via email at least 30 days prior to the training start date in order to receive a full refund, minus a $75 administrative fee. Cancellation notices received via email 14-29 days prior to the training will receive a 75% refund, minus a $75 administrative fee. Please email your cancellation notice to Due to workshop capacity and preparation, we regret that we are unable to refund registration fees for cancellations <14days prior to the training.

If you are unable to attend the training, we encourage you to send a substitute within the same registration category. Please inform us of the substitute via email at least one week prior to the training to include them on attendee communications, updated registration forms, and materials. Should the substitute fall within a different registration category your credit card will be credited/charged respectively. Please email substitute inquiries to In the event Columbia must cancel the event, your registration fee will be fully refunded.

Additional Information

The PI's Business of Research Boot Camp is hosted by Columbia University's SHARP Program in the Mailman School of Public Health.

Jump to: Overview | Audience & Requirements | Instructors | Scholarships | Location | Testimonials | Registration Fees | Additional Information