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Justifying Your SLAS2018 Attendance

With travel and training budgets scarce and often difficult to justify, making a case to management to attend an event like SLAS2018 can be a challenge. Rather than just submitting a request, consider making your case by adding context and explaining the extent of benefits — for both you and your organization — you will receive by participating

Even though SLAS2018 registration fees are very competitive, be sure to focus first on the benefits and anticipated ROI, rather than the cost. Keep your employer's priorities in focus, and do not presume that your employer will intuitively recognize what appears to you as high value. Be as specific as possible, and give examples.

Here are some helpful tips to consider when making your business case to attend SLAS2018.

Consider what matters to your employer:

  • What current issues have your lab, department or organization been struggling with? Do any of the SLAS2018 presentations or exhibits address these issues? Do any of the exhibitors offer potential solutions?
  • Can you find just one idea in the SLAS2018 program that might increase productivity, elevate experimental data quality, reduce lab process cycle times, or enable experimentation that's otherwise currently impossible?
  • Has your employer been considering new equipment? One-on-one feedback from front-line product developers and experienced users attending SLAS2018 can greatly inform your purchasing decision.
  • How does your employer compare to similar organizations? Which of your competitors or industry leaders will be sharing their perspective and achievements at SLAS2018? What can your organization learn from them?
  • How would your performance improve and how would your organization benefit if your network of professional contacts included access to the global audience of life sciences professionals attending SLAS2018?
  • Is your organization looking to hire new talent? Do SLAS2018 attendees and exhibitors offer the resources your employer is interested in recruiting?

Examples of Appropriate Rationales

  • SLAS2018 will help me to better understand [x] and thus improve our company's 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 company's current mission and goals in these ways: [x, y, z].
  • SLAS2018 will keep me current with new technology trends and techniques that I will bring back to the organization and share with my co-workers.
  • I will network with others to enhance our organization’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 the application of new technologies. 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 ensure our company is up to date in the areas of [x].

Sample Request Memo

From February 3-7, more than 6,000 life sciences researchers and technologists will convene in San Diego, CA, for SLAS2018. I have carefully evaluated the conference agenda as well as the list exhibiting companies, and feel that — if given the opportunity to attend — I can learn a great deal and make lasting connections that will significantly benefit our organization.

I believe this program content would be of particular interest and value to our organization and priorities:

[Insert list of tracks presentations here, and note how each may relate to a current or upcoming project at your organization. Three sample tracks appear below; the complete program will be published on SLAS2018.org by October 2017]:

  • Automation and High-Throughput Technologies
  • Assay Development and Screening
  • Cellular Technologies

Personal contact with technology providers exhibiting at SLAS2018 would allow hands-on access to their latest technology and one-on-one discussions with the product developers.

[Insert your list of exhibitors here, and note why contact with each may be of interest. The list of current exhibitors can be seen here — here.]

  • Company A, Company B, Company C — explore alternatives to current pipette tips
  • Company D, Company E, Company F — compare LIMS reporting accessories
  • Company G — talk with staff scientists about our validation challenges with their equipment

Including applicable registration discounts and travel assistance programs from SLAS, I estimate the total cost for participation to be [$ amount]. This is based on round-trip coach airfare, [#] hotel nights, transportation to and from airports, conference registration, and a [$ amount] per diem for [#] days.

I am highly motivated by this opportunity, and hope you will agree that it promises a meaningful return on our investment. I will follow up with you next week to further discuss the possibility of my participation at SLAS2018.

In the meantime, more details are available at www.SLAS2018.org. Thank you for considering this request.


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