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ALLSTAT  1999

ALLSTAT 1999

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Subject:

Funding for statistical consultancy - Summary of responses

From:

Paul Seed <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Paul Seed <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 17 Nov 1999 17:20:58 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (94 lines)

The original question was posted to Allstat on Friday, October 15, 1999:

*********************************************************
Up until now, statistical support in GKT School of Medicine (formerly UMDS) 
has been largely covered by a single grant.  There has been no charge for the 
individual projects.  In future, this may have to change.   

I would appreciate any advice on how to charge for statistical advice. How 
do you approach it within your institution?  One approach is to expect the 
cost of statistical advice to be written into any grant proposals.   Is this 
workable?  Is 3% of the total figure reasonable?  More? Less?  If not, 
how can the rates be set?  By size of project (number of subjects, 
number of repeat measurements)? Should we be charging by the hour?  
Any other ideas? 


I received fifteen responses, all from statisticians with experience of UK 
Higher Education & Research Institutes, eleven being explicitly medical. 
These are summarised below.  One further respondent from the University 
of Birmingham dealt with a slightly different question: an advice service 
to two nearly local Hospital Trusts. Statisticians from Dunedin School 
of Medicine, New Zealand and the University of Wisconsin, USA also 
replied.  

All fourteen respondents who mentioned it expected research proposals 
to include statistical funding.  At de Montfort University, the statistician 
writes a mini-proposal.  At Keele University and the Northern General 
Hospital, Sheffield, each project funds one-quarter to one-third of the 
costs of a full-time statistician, spread over the total project time.  In 
this way, three or four projects can fund one statistician.  This allows 
the statistician to contribute to teaching and administration in the 
normal way.  

Funding may be per hour, per month, or a fixed rate for all work on 
a project, agreed in advance.  The rates mentioned were 45 and  
50/hour (twice each) and 300/day.  Other important points included:

 set charges according to the quality of the statistician needed, 
 allow generously for overheads (PHLS allows 29%)
 have an "agent" who deals with all the non-scientific aspects - contracts, 
        pursuit of payments, deadlines, resolution of disputes
 Charge a higher commercial rate (100/day) where appropriate.

Several respondents talked of the difficulty of getting medical researchers 
to accept the cost of statistical support.  Some told anecdotes of strange 
behaviour:
 One medical research team took 2 weeks to produce a flawed analysis 
that was rejected by journal reviewers.  They were then unwilling to 
pay for two days statistical work that lead to the paper being accepted.

 When statistical work took less time than expected, another team 
expected the statisticians to make up the hours with envelope stuffing 
and data entry.

Only one institute (Keele University) mentioned special terms for 
students - 25 per hour instead of 50.  Five offered first 
consultations free, particularly where this formed part of the 
process of drawing up a grant.

Imperial College School of Medicine gave the most detailed account.  
Their Statistical Consultancy Service is described at
http://www.med.ic.ac.uk/df/dfsh/consult.htm.  

They employ six statisticians plus two part-time support workers.  
They receive a partial subsidy, covering accommodation and the 
salaries of the two most senior statisticians.  

ISCM has a very strong statistical base.  The service is 
part of the Department of Medical Statistics and Evaluation, headed by 
Professor Simon Thompson and Professor Patrick Royston, with 22 
other staff. 



Paul T Seed    MSc CStat   ([log in to unmask])     
Department of Public Health Sciences,   
Guy's Kings and St. Thomas' School of Medicine, 
King's College London,

5th Floor, Capital House 42 Weston Street, London SE1 3QD
tel  (+44) (0) 207 848 6621
fax (+44) (0) 207 848 6620
web page (useful Stats handouts): 
http://www-phm.umds.ac.uk/Statinfo/other.htm

Tuesdays only:
Public Health Medicine, 11th Floor, North Wing, 
St Thomas' Hospital, London SE1 7EH
tel (44) (0)171 928 9292 x 1511



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