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Making a Case for Attending SLAS2018

If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you already recognize how you and your organization benefit from SLAS, its conferences, scientific journals and other programs. As the SLAS2018 early bird registration deadline grows nearer (Oct. 31) and you prepare to submit your request for participation, here are some thoughts to help you express the potential value of your participation.

By Scott Atkin

Attending the SLAS International Conference is an investment. Like any proposed investment, your request to attend SLAS2018 should include thoughtful and meaningful rationale that illustrates how your participation will help advance your scientific objectives and your lab’s priorities. Based on feedback from other attendees, here’s some areas to consider how attending may benefit your organization:

  • What current issues have you been struggling with? Do any of the SLAS2018 presentations address these issues? Do any of the exhibitors offer potential solutions?
  • Can you find just one idea that might increase your productivity, elevate experimental data quality, reduce lab process cycle times, or enable experimentation that's otherwise currently impossible?
  • Have you or your laboratory been considering new equipment? One-on-one feedback from front-line product developers and experienced users attending SLAS2018 can greatly inform purchasing decisions.
  • Which of your competitors or industry leaders will be sharing their perspective and achievements at SLAS2018? What can you learn from them?
  • How would your performance improve if your network of professional contacts expanded to include experts from around the world?
  • Are you searching for new talent? SLAS2018 would be a great place to meet candidates from many different backgrounds and at many different levels.

There are a lot of great things to say about SLAS2018 (e.g. 300+ exhibitors, 10 educational tracks, 130+ scientific podium presentations, etc.), but a good rationale will spell out why particular features are important and how they will generate a return on your investment in travel, registration and time away from your lab. Be as specific as possible and keep the focus on spelling out the value to your employer. Here are some more examples of how you might make your case:

  • SLAS2018 will help me to better understand [x] and thus improve our performance at [y].
  • SLAS2018 provides me the opportunity to meet experts and professionals from different parts of the world and different industries, exchange ideas, and learn about different methods and techniques. These experiences will enhance our lab’s scientific goals and priorities in these ways: [x, y, z].
  • SLAS2018 will keep me current with new technology trends and techniques that I will bring back to the lab and share with my co-workers.
  • I will network with others to enhance our lab's profile and gain appreciation for our talent and achievements.
  • Attending SLAS2018 will increase my knowledge of [x]. I will learn about breakthrough research, hear the newest theories and see examples of their applications. I can directly incorporate this knowledge into [y].
  • To be productive, it is necessary to stay current with new technology, applications and ideas. Attending SLAS2018 will allow me to help keep our lab up to date in the areas of [x].

Consider also what matters most to you and your own professional development. If your travel budget is tight this year, you might want to consider offering to use personal time or frequent flier miles to reduce your lab's investment and enable your participation at SLAS2018.

For more ideas and examples, please visit the Justifying Your SLAS2018 Attendance web page. Hope to see you in San Diego!

September 24, 2017