In my experience the key thing delaying the start of research projects is staff availability – whether you have access to the people you need or if you need to recruit.
Remember: if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.
Recruiting staff can be a pretty volatile process, depending on how much experience you have of recruitment, how prepared you are to recruit, how qualified your applicants need to be, what the job market’s like, and how unique they should be – can you use someone with a generic skill set who can be managed/supervised, or do you need someone with more extensive specialist skills or experience?
How long does it take to recruit research and project staff?
It depends on two things:
- how long a contract do you have to offer?
- how specialist do your staff need to be?
The more specialist the staff you need the longer you may have to wait to either a) identify the right people or b) get them in post. Researchers with generic skills are relatively easy to find – scientists with particular skills can be difficult, particularly if your salary isn’t particularly inspiring or the contract you are offering isn’t going to last for very long.