Drop Date: February 2024
Beyond Your Award Letter: Insights on the Logistics of Salivary Bioscience Studies
In This Drop: Beyond Your Award Letter: Insights on the Logistics of Salivary Bioscience Studies
Thoughts by Douglas A. Granger
Among the best times in academic life is the moment when you learn that a grant proposal was funded. Likely, you have worked for years to train and then develop ideas and express the plan of approach clearly. A decision to fund is an external affirmation by experts and peers that your ideas are innovative, timely, and significant.
The first time this occurs, it is also a developmental milestone signaling that you have matured into an independent investigator.
It is a big deal on so many levels.
Over the past 30 years, I have been fortunate to mentor many who have had this experience. It never gets old when I get the call. The voice on the phone is usually full of excitement and often expresses disbelief.
Somewhat sadly, but understandably, so very much in academia is driven by whether a principal investigator (PI) is externally funded or not.
It matters, and it matters a lot.
When I get the call these days, I emphasize that it is important for the awardee to step back, reflect, celebrate, and enjoy the moment. I have noticed, however, that the celebration is often short relative to the time it took to achieve this accomplishment. The celebratory feelings are quickly, sometimes in the same call, followed by somewhat of a panic. “Wait…. What did I actually propose?” “How am I going to do that project?” “How will I recruit enough participants?” “How do I hire project personnel?” “I just got the award notice, and I already feel behind on my timeline.” “I got the award, but they cut my budget by 15%, how can I do the study without sufficient funds?”
These are understandable feelings and worries.
Most of us in the academy are creative idea-generating people, few are trained in project management, and on the whole the most creative among us are not often the best at executing details or even supervising people to execute the details. We would rather start thinking about the next idea.
Some investigators are in departments that have outstanding resources to help with the practical, business, and logistics involved in the execution of a large study. Surprisingly, many departments do not, and the logistical and practical details have to be managed by the PI entirely. This is even more so now post-pandemic. With campus-wide budget cuts, most departments and schools have had to significantly tighten their belts and no longer have the physical and personnel resources that specialize in the practical aspects of fielding a study that involves salivary bioscience.
Salimetrics Supporting Role
That is where Salimetrics comes in. We have always believed that the most innovative, impactful, and significant studies are accomplished by team science. The approach to pursuing answers to complex research questions requires teamwork. The creators and innovators need to do what they do best, and other members of the team need to do what they do best (i.e., data collection, supervision of staff, kiting of protocol, creation of standard operating procedures). Collectively, big projects get done effectively and efficiently when they are run by teams. Can you imagine how ineffective the process would be if every person had to play every position on the soccer pitch? Would there ever be a goal scored?
Salimetrics was created to play an important specific supporting role on your scientific team. We are the method detail experts. Our experts are versed in sample collection, sampling handling, cold chain management, kiting, protocol design and implementation, laboratory analyses, data prep, and salivary bioscience analytical tactics and strategy. We also offer biorepository services for ultra-cold sample storage during your project period and extended storage beyond your project period for qualified studies.
As an independent investigator, our support and involvement on your team enables you to focus your attention on your science not the gritty details of operations. In the post-pandemic academic world, Universities are changing. Back in the day, every PI had access to a wet lab or access to a campus core lab. Outsourcing these resources is the new normal.
Let Salimetrics logistic support team help you. You have better things to do with your time. You know as soon as you set your newly funded project up in the field and things are running smoothly you are already thinking about the next grant deadline and working out the ideas for your next grant. That is exactly what you should be doing.
Significant Other Contributors
Did you know that Salimetrics experts are available to represent salivary bioscience expertise on your grant proposals? If you are sending samples to Salimetrics for assay or using Salimetrics kits or collection supplies in your proposal our key opinion leaders are available to serve on your scientific team. Your choice. Often, we participate as team members in NIH proposals as “Significant other contributors without salary”. This is an official NIH-
designated role that enables you to show that you have the expertise on your team and does not impact your budget. If you are interested in this type of support do not hesitate to reach out and ask.
Without the shackles of responsibility for the logistics, you are free to discover, innovate, present, conference, explore, and advance your scholarship to the next level.
REFERENCES & RELATED RESEARCH
*Note: Salimetrics provides this information for research use only (RUO). Information is not provided to promote off-label use of medical devices. Please consult the full-text article.