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Adherence to Timelines

Posted on November 21, 2007

Victoria J. Grochocinski (bio) recommends prioritizing tasks in advance of receiving your NGA.


It’s nice to have a list of all the things that you possibly have to do once you get the money and figure out how long it is going to take you to do those things, and then put them on a timeline in terms of, it will help you make priorities so that if you know that at your institution it takes 3 months just to hire a person, that’s something that you’re going to want to start as soon as you can. If you know that your IRB is going to require 4 submissions before it gets approved, that’s going to hold you back in terms of recruiting your patients, so that’s something that you should think about.

Mostly when you get off track in your timeline, because there’s been a delay in the agency funding, which happens all the time, you just kind of have to be in a holding pattern. It gives you a chance to catch up, because you fell behind in your timeline, because you were writing those papers that will get you your next grant, so it can afford you some extra time.

One of the things that can happen also is that when they release that NGA and you’re waiting, and you’re waiting, and you’re waiting, and finally the NGA comes, they may tell you that the dates of your project actually started 2 or 3 months previously. So now you’re in this position of pretty much having a shortened year. You haven't spent any money, because you didn’t have any for those 3 months. They have backed the dates up, but now you have the same amount of money but only 9 months to spend it in, which can be a blessing in disguise but startup takes a lot of time especially personnel, which has been pointed out.

Personnel is your most expensive part of your project. Perhaps 90%, and if there’s a delay in getting people on board to do the work, there will be a delay in spending money which may account for a carryover at the end of your first year, which you have to write for approval to get if it’s over a certain amount. These are all pretty much we are talking here about federal guidelines. Other sponsors that may be providing funding – pharmaceutical companies, but especially foundations – have a much quicker turnaround so you have less time to really do all that pre-prep before the money comes in so then you are finding yourself scrambling.

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Excerpted from interview with researcher at the 2007 Career Development Institute for Bipolar Disorder in Pittsburgh, PA.


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