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  • Sorry, not interested

    2 5.88%
  • Interested but cannot afford to do this

    17 50.00%
  • $2000/person

    10 29.41%
  • $4000/person

    4 11.76%
  • more

    1 2.94%
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Thread: Would you be interested in touring the best SCI Research with the Top SCI Scientists?

  1. #1

    Would you be interested in touring the best SCI Research with the Top SCI Scientists?

    Poll Question:

    We have been planning our Rutgers Cure fundraiser for spinal cord injury research in October 2002 in NYC. Since 9/11, we have wanted to get the Cure community together. During the discussions, one innovative idea that seemed feasible was proposed but got a mixed reaction. I would like to see what members of this community think.

    At the fundraiser event, we are considering auctioning travel/hotel packages with guided tours through the best spinal cord injury research at the Society for Neuroscience (SFN). The tours would be led by the top scientists in the field. As some of you know, the Society for Neuroscience is the largest gathering of neuroscientists who present their latest (usually not yet published) research on 8' by 10' posters in football field sized rooms at the convention center. Over 20,000 posters are presented over five days. Almost all spinal cord injury researcher will come to this meetin (I pray that no terrorist would target this meeting). The upcoming SFN meeting will be held in Disneyworld, Orlando in November 2002. In addition, the annual Neurotrauma meeting will be held nearby the week before the SFN meeting. Both of these meetings would contain the latest research on spinal cord injury.

    I of course would volunteer to give such tours but other scientists (I haven't asked them yet but I hope that they would agree) that could give great tours, such as John McDonald (Wash U), Dennis Choi, Michael Beattie (OSU), Geoffrey Raisman (London), Almudena Ramon-Cuetos (Madrid), Paul Reier (UFG), Marie Filbin (Hunter CCNY), and Mary Bunge (Miami), etc. would be able to guide people through the spinal cord injury research that they consider the most significant and important at SFN.

    To give scientists incentive to take on the tour guide job, I suggest that we will pay their airfare and hotel stay at the meeting, as well as 50% of the funds collected from people who choose to tour with them, to support their research. Since most of the scientists have to go and peruse the posters anyway, I don't think that this will interfere with what they normally do. They just have to work hard to explain the science to 5-10 inquisitive people. The tours probably should be limited to 10 people per tour guide per day.

    I am thinking that the package would include first-class airfare and a week's stay at a good Disney hotel per person. We will work hard to get people to donate frequent flyer mileage for the airfare and try to convince Disney to give the lodging for free or at a substantial discount. If I am able to convince five top scientists to do the tour, this means that we may be able to host about 50 people. People who successfully bid for this package would be able to sign up for tours by different scientists on different days, as available.

    If the bids average $4000 per person (which is close to the actual cost), this could bring in as much as $200,000 for spinal cord injury research. There was skeptism that there would be 50 people who would be interested. The actual cost of airfare and hotel probably will exceed $2000 per person. People can do fundraisers in their individual communities to raise the money. I am more worried about the people who fail to get winning bids but would like to come anyway. In such a case, I am thinking that these people may be able to come to the SFN at their own expense and I am thinking of giving people tours if they don't mind.

    Would you be interested in such a package and how much you bid for such a package? Of course, all the proceeds of the auction (which will be held at the fundraiser event but we can allow people to bid over internet) will fund spinal cord injury research. Please add comments, if none of the choices below fit what you would like.

    [This message was edited by Wise Young on Feb 24, 2002 at 02:53 PM.]

  2. #2
    I am sorry, I posted the poll and then changed the choices a bit as I thought through the numbers. Since this is off-topic, I am thinking also of moving this to the Funding Forum. Wise.

    [This message was edited by Wise Young on Feb 24, 2002 at 03:00 PM.]

  3. #3

    I may

    be interested. Timing could work out well with other plans I'm trying to finalize.

    Thanks.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Jeff's Avatar
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    I live in Orlando

    I also think I could prolly understand the posters without the guided tour. So, for me, I can stay at home and give myself a guided tour and save a few grand. OTOH, getting in a tour group with one of those OEG researchers might be a good idea. Hopefully, it would allow us easier access to a clinical trial down the road! Damn, I'm excited! We usually get all the great computer conferences and sometimes disability shows here in Orlando but having SFN is going to be absolutely fantastic.

    Dr. Young, how much for the guided tour if we live in Orlando and don't need the air/hotel?

    ~See you at the SCIWire-used-to-be-paralyzed Reunion ~

  5. #5
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    ...

    Could we get Dr. Carl Kao and Albert Bohbot to be present? I think it would be very important to get a mixed set of voices.

    Eric Texley

  6. #6
    Eric, the point is not for people to present their own work but rather what they consider to be good work by others.

    Jeff, this is a fundraising mechanism. See above for what I said about people who don't get winning bids.

    Wise.

    [This message was edited by Wise Young on Feb 24, 2002 at 07:55 PM.]

  7. #7
    This is an excellent idea, I'll definitely be there! But I'm confused, if the purpose is to raise money to bring in scientists to lead tours, the money will be spent on them, right, not on SCI research?

  8. #8
    seneca,

    It is a way of raising research funds. I am attracted by the idea because it gives a way for scientists to help raise money for research.

    At fundraising events, they are always auctioning off trips to southern France, skyboxes in Yankee stadiums... by the way, people bid as much as $20,000 for a box of 10 people... or $2000 for a dinner for two at some fancy restaurant... these items are usually donated by people who have some connection to the place or service. People obviously are bidding more than the value of the item because they want to support research.

    Here is how it might work. Say that I donate and try to convince other people that I know to donate frequent flyer miles to an event to buy a couple airplane tickets. Maybe we can swing some kind of deal with Disney to give us hotel rooms. This way, the costs of the trip would be covered. What I don't know is whether I would be able to convince busy researchers to take a couple of afternoons off at a neuroscience meeting to guide people around. That is why I am toying around with incentives. Say, a popular and well-known scientist leads 10 people on tour during the meeting. If people paid $4000 apiece, that could potentially raise $40,000. If we decide (and this depends on what people consider this to be worth) to give half of the amount to fund spinal cord injury research in that scientist's laboratory, the scientist would be able to get $20,000 for spinal cord injury research in his/her lab.

    The advantage is that people who donate the frequent flyer miles would get a tax deduction. The people who buy would be able to get a tax deduction of the value of the bid above the value of the airfare and hotel. At the same time, these people would get a trip to Disney that they would probably end up paying several thousand for anyway (if they are flying there and staying in a hotel), get a guided tour of research at the Society for Neuroscience, and have some fun.

    By the way, some people may not understand the concept of posters... Many people think that a poster is just something hanging on a wall. At SFN, the scientists who authored the poster can be there at the poster to explain their work. The scientist guiding the tour would select the poster that he/she thinks are the best, contact the authors of the poster, and ask them to be there at a given time. This way, people can hear about the latest work directly from the mouth of the scientists, postdoctoral fellows, or students who made the poster. This is something that money cannot easily buy. Christopher Reeve got such a tour of the SFN about two years ago by Dennis Choi who was the President of the SFN at the time. I think that Christopher was really impressed by the work that was going on and asked a lot of questions of the students who presented the posters.

    We obviously would not want to offer such packages for the auction, if nobody would bid for it or it would not bring in much funds, because it takes a lot of hard work to to arrange such packages.

    Wise.

    [This message was edited by Wise Young on Feb 24, 2002 at 09:46 PM.]

  9. #9
    Senior Member Jeff's Avatar
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    Seneca

    The idea is to offer a competitive value to those wishing to attend. By securing airfare for bidders using donated frequent flyer miles and using donated hotel rooms, the bids can be used to fund research with only a small portion used to finance the costs for researchers who will be giving tours.

    I think this is a fantastic idea. Not only will it involve the community in the latest research but it will involve today's researchers in the community. What a stroke of genius. I think providing air/hotel for the researchers doing the tours is a great way to show them our appreciation. And hopefully it will engender good will that will extend beyond SFN. Maybe they will even be more likely to maintain ties to the community and possibly come and answer questions on our forums.

    Dr. Young has graciously offered to tour those of us at the conference who do not bid on the package. I think any of us in this category should give a nominal $100 to help with the effort.

    I love ideas like this. I wish we had 15,000 members here instead of 1,500. I think it would make it easier to make these things come to fruition. It does, however, give me great hope for the incredible things we'll be able to do as we go forward. The possibilities are endless.

    ~See you at the SCIWire-used-to-be-paralyzed Reunion ~

  10. #10
    Super Moderator Sue Pendleton's Avatar
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    I'm with Jeff except I don't live in Orlando. We would drive because of the hassles of flying--even first class (and the in-laws live near by). So how about offering a hotel/tour package along with flight/hotel and tour? But yes, I'd definetely bid. I'll even help nag the other scientists into doing the tours.

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