Learning and connecting in an economic downturn

Posted by Kimberly Hensle Lowrance, Deputy DirectorThe current economic downturn is widely seen as the most serious in decades, and each day’s news reminds us that volatility and uncertainty have become our new reality. For all the challenges this situation presents, we are fortunate to be part of a community filled with strong personal and professional connections, an unwavering commitment to looking out for the best interests of research subjects, and a dedication to striving for the best in all that we do. For 35 years, PRIM&R has been proud to be the home of this community and to play an important role in the research protections field.We must recognize that PRIM&R and the research community at large are not invulnerable to the seismic financial shocks rippling through the world today. Therefore, we will need to act in ways that reflect that reality to assure that we can continue to advance our mission. The economic downturn puts pressure on the revenues that fuel our—and your—annual budgets. In fact, some of you have already expressed concerns about the year ahead and the limits your institutions have placed on professional development activities that are so critical to ensuring that you remain current on the latest ethical issues, regulations, and compliance matters.

We understand these challenges. Therefore, in planning for 2009, we offer three cost-effective ways—with special pricing available to our members—for you to continue learning and connecting:

  1. Webinars – PRIM&R will offer at least six webinars that focus on hot topics facing today’s IRB and IACUC professionals. Special group registration rates are available.
  2. Regional Programs – We are taking our programs—including IRB 101sm, Essentials of IACUC Administration, IBC Basics, and more—to Texas, California, and Massachusetts. We’ve chosen these locations to reach as many people as possible, thereby increasing your access to education, while decreasing your travel costs.
  3. Annual Conferences – Our animal care and use and human subjects meetings offer unprecedented professional connections and important educational opportunities. We want to help as many of you to attend as possible, and therefore, we will not be raising our registration rates from 2008. Additionally, for the 2009 Advancing Ethical Research Conference, special pre-registration is available to those who would like to pay for their registration rates before registration officially opens in August.

Additionally, as we continue to offer you high-quality programs, we will work to bring greater financial discipline to our activities. We are developing new approaches for generating savings and revenue, building on the best practices many others in the non-profit world employ. We welcome your suggestions as well, so please feel free to e-mail me with your comments. Today, perhaps as never before, we need to work collectively to develop approaches and efficiencies that will allow our field—and PRIM&R—to thrive in the years to come. Together, we must continue to advance the priorities that define us.

Thank you for your continued support of PRIM&R and of our shared work.