Note from the Editor | Giving Thought to What We Are Facing Today
Often when imagining what the world will look like in the future, we think about flying cars, walkways that move, computers that read minds, space travel, living in biospheres, robot maids, maybe we think about the Jetsons. But I doubt that any of us have given much thought to what we are facing today. March 2020 has begun with a relatively rapid global spread of COVID-19 (aka the Coronavirus). In the world of science, research, and innovation, many functions of research administration have involved responding to the threat at hand. Travel bans instituted by research institutions across the globe will have future implications on meetings, conferences and possibly even research itself. In the short-term there is foreseeable pressure on research administrators to deal with the financial and contractual repercussions that may result from heightened safety precautions. Implications on human subjects’ research are also anticipated making researchers anxious about not being able to meet planned deadlines. Many research units may be called upon to create a Research Continuity Plan. This includes an accounting of essential functions and personnel, chains of delegation of authority, contingency plans if personnel are quarantined, dependencies on external vendors and supply requirements, etc. The responsibilities that fall on the research administrator may particularly at this time seem overwhelming.
In this day and age, we are fortunate to have the technology to support collaborative teams and many of us can continue productivity remotely- which may be both a blessing and a curse. As the field of research administration continues to utilize technologies as it grows, work and non-work life for some have become highly inter-meshed. Work processes are so advanced technologically, that work happens wherever you are. Meetings quite literally pop-up, no screen or meeting room necessary – work becomes a virtual reality. Ad hoc meetings happen on the fly, and those with whom you work, support, or provide a service may never meet you in person. It is all the more important for you to implement a healthy work–life balance today. Recent events are teaching us to be more conscious of a strict hygiene routine, to reflect on what’s important in life; to appreciate family, friends, and colleagues more; and become even more skilled conducting business online. We encourage you to take advantage of the webinars being offered this month.
The SRAI Catalyst is committed to keep the information flowing and providing support for each other. As we have done any number of times in the past, we will get through this together!
For updated information on the Coronavirus, the CDC is sharing comprehensive information about COVID-19 here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
Until next month…good health and good reads.
Authored by Seema Dhindaw
Assistant Director of Radiology Research Operations
New York University Langone Medical Center