The Executive Director or the Contracts and Grants Administrator must review all contracts to ensure legality prior to implementation. They determine the appropriateness of obtaining the advice of outside counsel when they deem it necessary. It is the responsibility of the Principal Investigator to provide a copy of the contract to the Executive Director or Contracts and Grants Administrator for review concurrently with the project proposal packet to the Office of Research and Development for processing. The Principal Investigator must allow one business week (5 work days) for initial review. It is the responsibility of the Executive Director or Contracts and Grants Administrator to negotiate the terms of the contract with the contractor, upon consultation with the Principal Investigator. It is the responsibility of the Principal Investigator to determine the budget, however that task may be delegated to the Executive Director or Contracts and Grants Administrator with their approval. In that case, before the final budget is agreed to, the Principal Investigator will be given a chance to review it and comment upon it. SCIRE will prepare any addendum or amendments to the contract, as necessary.
The Board appointed Lecture Series Coordinator shall be responsible for selection of established senior investigators to present monthly research related conferences. The Principal Investigators may make suggestions as to a speaker he/she feels may be appropriate, but the final determination rests with the Lecture Series Coordinator. The lecture series is not to be used as a method to pay travel expenses for invited candidates for VA positions. The Lecture Series Coordinator shall determine the appropriateness and amount of an honorarium. Maximum expenditure amounts for honoraria and travel is established by the Board. Investigators may supplement these expenses, from their own personal non-restricted accounts, at their discretion. Due to the expertise of VALB senior staff members, their participation as speakers is encouraged, with concurrence of the Lecture Series Coordinator.
Small Grant Program
The Board may allocate funds each year to support small grants to provide funds to young investigators with novel ideas to enable them to test their ideas and develop pilot data, which will assist them in seeking larger awards from VA and non-VA sources. The Board shall determine the number of awards and amount of funding available each year. In addition, any funds generated from the Combined Federal Campaign donations will be used for this program. A full proposal packet must be completed and submitted to the Research and Development office for inclusion on the Research and Development Committee agenda, which evaluates the scientific merit of the proposed study and awards the grants. A mentor relationship is important in the development of a young investigator; applicants must designate a research mentor. A one-page letter from the mentor stating his/her support and explaining his/her role in the applicant’s proposed research must be included in the proposal. The funds are used to purchase supplies and may not be used for lab personnel salaries. This program is not open to medical residents.
SCIRE recognizes that staff appointed to committees devote time in support of those committee activities; VA rules prohibit payment to staff for attendance at meetings during his/her regular tour of duty. SCIRE provides a lunch to the attendees of IRB to compensate them for having a meeting during the lunch hour and due to the length of the meetings. SCIRE provides payment to the Community Representatives on the Human Subjects Subcommittee for his/her time in attendance at meetings, as required by the Office of Human Research Protection and office policy.
Maintenance/training on Common-use Equipment
SCIRE reimburses the VA for their employee to train new staff on and maintain common-use equipment located in the research building. Upon request of the Principal Investigators, with approval of the Executive Director and the President, funds may be spent for repairs of non-SCIRE owned common-use equipment (i.e. VA owned common use equipment no longer under warranty).
Information Technology Support
SCIRE funds a Webmaster to manage the content of the organization’s internet presence. The webmaster determines the management needs and requirements for the internet system and works with the director for information, content, design, and presentation aspects of the agency’s internet site.
In some cases, it may be necessary for the Principal Investigator to personally pay for computer support on Macintosh computers and operating systems. These charges will not be paid from SCIRE resources since the VA supports PC based systems, but PI’s may ask for reimbursement.
SCIRE recognizes that researchers must develop high quality slides in support of publications and poster presentations that may have an impact on the workload of Medical Media. The Board allocates salary support for a clerk in Medical Media to assist the VA staff in preparation of slides, posters and other scientific materials. The payment of the clerk in Medical Media does not imply that requests for research related projects will be given higher priority by Medical Media staff.
Human Subjects Program Assistant
The processing of project proposal paperwork required by the Office of Research and Development is supported by salary for an office clerk. The assistant may be required to perform other duties that support researchers, but these duties are only given at the direction of the Executive Director. Any request for special project’s assistance must be made to the Executive Director who will determine the appropriateness of the request and the impact on other office staff.
Biohazard Disposal Services
SCIRE recognizes that biohazard materials are necessary in some research protocols. The Board will determine the amount of funds per year available for disposal. All disposals of biohazard materials must be coordinated with the Biohazard Safety Officer. Training is provided yearly on the proper use and storage of biohazard materials. In no case, is the Principal Investigator or his/her laboratory staff to dispose of the materials on his/her own.