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730 Devine Street, Suite 114
bcrc@mailbox.sc.edu

Q:  What Biostatistics?
A: Biostatistics is the use of statistics for public health, biological, or medical applications. It can be applied to a variety of research topics and fields. The overarching goal is to use appropriate statistical methods to understand better the factors that affect human health.

Q:  What is the Biostatistics Collaborative Research Core?
A: The BCRC is administrated under the Research and Graduate Education, through the Vice President of Research.  A Steering Committee composed of representatives of health science units will provide guidance on policy and services.

Q: What services do you offer?
A: The BCRC provides assistance with statistical consulting, study design, grant preparation, and manuscript preparation. This might range from help with a power or sample size calculation, advice regarding the best way to conduct an analysis, assistance with SAS programming, or guidance writing up the analysis section in a grant proposal or manuscript. We are open to formal collaboration as well.

Q:  How do I get help?
A:  Fill out a request form at http://www.sc.edu/bcrc/form.php or email us at bcrc@mailbox.sc.edu.

Q:  When should I seek help for my project?
A:  The sooner the better. The study design phase is a great time to get in touch because we can help you with the grant proposal and the plan for data analysis. We are trained to devise statistical hypotheses for research questions, while also planning for efficient study design and analysis methods that maximize your power to answer your research questions and get valid results.

Q:  What does "the sooner, the better" mean?
A: For a grant proposal, we suggest 2 months in advance. But if your time frame is shorter than that, don't hesitate to get in touch, and we'll see what we can do to help you.

Q: Who, exactly, will help me?
A: We are composed of participating staff from the Epidemiology and Biostatistics department with expertise in various research topics. In addition, we have a Masters-level Biostatistician on staff. When you make your initial request we will make sure that you are matched with someone who has the appropriate expertise and time to guide you.

Q:  What are the customer rates?
A:  Internal and external hourly rates for the 2012-2013 fiscal year are shown in the following table.  These rates cover salary & fringe expenses.  Please see the rates page for a thorough explanation of the fee schedule and the rates policy. http://www.sc.edu/bcrc/rates.shtml



2013 BCRC Rates

Internal

External

Faculty

$175

$300

Biostatistician

$105

$190

Programmer

$85

$155

Data Entry

$50

$90

Q:  How often are rates changed?  What does this mean for an existing grant?
A:  We will evaluate rates on an annual basis and will change them if necessary at the start of each fiscal year (July 1).  We will bill at the current rates. If our collaboration falls over one fiscal year to the next, we will discuss the rate increase up-front.

Q:  Who will be charged the internal rate?
A:  Internal rates apply to University of South Carolina departments and units.  External rates apply to all others.

Q:  Do you offer any services for free?
A:  If you do not have funding to pay for statistical assistance, you can still submit a request. For small consulting tasks, we will ask participating faculty to consider working with you. Our goal is to develop positive, productive working relationships that result in tangible outcomes.

Q:  How are budgets determined?
A:  They are created in a collaborative manner.  The BCRC director would work with the investigator(s) to establish a scope of work and will budget accordingly.  If there is only a fixed amount of money available, we will discuss what can be accomplished for that amount.

Q:  What does the BCRC need to help a customer?
A:  If the BCRC was assisting with a grant, they would need a description of all available pilot data, proposed study design, an idea of the feasible sample size, and any other relevant information.  If the BCRC is assisting with data analysis, they would need the data (preferably electronically as a SAS file, comma/tab delimited, or Excel).

Q:  How is the BCRC affected when the grant budget is cut by the funding agency?
A:  It is common in today’s world to see entire grant budgets get cut.  If a grant gets cut by 20% then it would be reasonable for the BCRC to be cut by 20%.  Of course, it will be discussed how budget cuts affect the work we can perform.

Q:  What about authorship?
A:  Authorship is completely independent of funding.  If we make a contribution that warrants authorship, then we expect to be listed as an author(s). For specific guidelines on this topic, we look to the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) 1 See our policy page for a full discussion of authorship.

Q:  Who can I call if I have further questions?
A:  Please contact the BCRC Director through the Contact Us page on the website, or by email (BCRC@mailbox.sc.edu).

Q:  What is the difference between consultation and collaboration?
A:  A consultation is normally a relatively simple, one-time project that while important, does not necessitate repeated contact with the researcher, whereas collaboration is a long-term research partnership with funding support through extramural grants and contracts. The biostatistics faculty members are eager to collaborate with other investigators to find solutions for complex scientific problems that affect human health.


References:

  • The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals: Writing and Editing for Biomedical Publication, http://www.icmje.org/, updated February 2006 (accessed December 13, 2006).

 

 

 
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