In this era of doing more with less in the lab, you may be familiar with the many services CROs can provide to support researchers. CROs offer a wide array of research support from animal studies to assay development, but many scientists consider CROs as a short term arrangement to help with the occasional burdensome workload.
For long-term projects, a CRO can become a formidable research partner and can greatly enhance your lab’s technical capabilities and productivity. What should you consider if you want to transform your relationship with a CRO from being just a service provider to a research partner?
1. What are your long term needs?
Do you need to develop a set of novel assays and have them validated for clinical use? Are you then planning to use these validated assays for a series of clinical studies? A CRO would be an efficient and effective partner for these needs and could provide critical research planning and regulatory guidance throughout the duration of your research study.
2. Do you need technical expertise without the headaches of a collaboration?
Research collaborations can be mutually beneficial arrangements under the right conditions. Unfortunately, collaborations usually result in unequal divisions of labor and tenuous negotiations for authorship on research papers. How can you avoid these pitfalls? Partnering with a CRO can offer you many of the rewards of a research collaboration with the added benefit of having a formal business arrangement between you and the CRO that spells out the nitty gritty details of who does what and who gets credit for the work.
3. Do you need to assure that your assays are reproducible?
Much attention is being brought to the reproducibility of biomedical research experiments. You may have worked tirelessly on developing a novel assay that could be of great use to the research community, but you fear that the assay results may not be reproduced in another scientist’s hands. A CRO is a powerful partner for backing up your research labors and working out the details of an assay in such a way to assure reproducibility through the development of a robust protocol.
The next time you think about your long term research plans, consider how a CRO can be a powerful partner.