Monday, June 25, 2012

The Society of Research Administrators conference can help scientists too

September 29th through October 3rd, the Society of Research Administrators International (SRA) is holding their annual national conference in Orlando, Florida at the Gaylord Palms.  This conference offers a broad range of educational sessions related to the field of research administration (i.e. the people who edit, review, process, and submit your grant applications).  While sessions such as those related to cost principles or OMB circulars may have no relevance to you as a researcher, other sessions may be helpful.  For example, many sessions are designed for pre-award administrators and include topics such as Proposal Budget Development and Subcontracting on Federal Grants.  True, you may not need to understand all of the intricacies involved in, say, sending subcontract funds to researchers in Italy.  However, understanding the processes behind what you are doing and the rules and regulations that bind your research administration staff can help you to plan better proposals and budget more reasonably.  It will also help to prevent those pesky calls from your grants office letting you know that you have misread the instructions and need to cut your budget in half. 

If your department budget allows, consider making the trip to Orlando to participate in this conference.  If you are unable to budget for the trip using work funds, consider incorporating the conference into a trip to nearby amusement parks.  The conference is located in close proximity to Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, and Sea World, as well as many other area attractions.  The weather in Florida in October is typically beautiful.

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