Category Archive: Budget

  1. Do you want to upgrade your research with 3D Cell Culture matrices?

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    We give you 4 tips on how to minimise your costs.

    3D cell culture is one of the rapidly growing segments in the life science space due to its importance in a considerable range of applications including cancer research, cell-based assays, and regenerative medicine. The global 3D cell culture market can be segmented based on product type, application, end-user, and region. In terms of product type, the market can be divided into scaffold-based 3D cell culture (hydrogels /ECM analogs, micropatternedsurfaces, and solid scaffolds), scaffold-free 3D cell culture (low adhesion microplates, 3D Petri dishes, 3D bioreactors, and hanging drop plates), microfluidics-based 3D cell culture, magnetic levitation, and 3D bioprinting. Based on application, the global 3D cell culture market can be classified into drug discovery and toxicology, cancer and stem cell research, and tissue engineering & regenerative medicine. Concerning the end-user, the market can be categorized into pharmaceutical & biotechnology companies and research laboratories and institutes.

    If you are reading this article, there is a high probability you are one of these end-users. You want to conduct innovative research, but at the same time ensure you and spend your hard-earned funding/ tightly-controlled budget wisely. The variety of the 3D cell culture matrices available on the market make your decision-making process more challenging. The suppliers tell you a technology story, list product benefits, and offer materials at very similar prices. They seem identical at least. In reality, your costs will differ by product because of the ‘hidden’ costs. Hidden costs are expenses that are generally not included in the purchase price, e.g., delivery, training, technical support, inconsistency in product quality, and additional reagents/equipment you must buy to effectively utilise the purchased products. With this in mind, we give you 4 tips on how to minimise or indeed avoid these costs all together.

    1. Be aware of the quantity discount.

    Suppliers in the 3D Cell Culture market set fix prices. However, most of them offer a quantity discount. Considering the wide range of applicability of such products, if you work in a big organisation, it maybe possible for you to easily find a colleague who is also keen to buy 3D cell matrices. Reach out to them, establish a buyer group, contact the supplier and enjoy a higher discount on your orders.

    The other option is to purchase a product with a long shelf life. There are 3D Cell Culture matrices on the market which have three to four months’ shelf life, while their competitors can be stored for a year. Ordering a product which gives you one-year extended applicability can save you money on the purchase order. You can focus on your research without wasting time with future shopping, price hunting, and waiting for delivery.

    Another, perhaps obvious, point is that ensuring the most effective utilization of your chosen 3D material will result in less waste which automatically can save money for you…

    2. Learn the product specification and preparation protocols

    When you buy 3D cell culture matrices, you must consider the “added extras” needed for the chosen product’s application. If your 3D Cell Culture requires support reagents(s) and/or unique environment to make it work, you must calculate these cumulative costs. In your calculations, the product protocols are your best friends. They help you understand the overall picture regarding the chosen product and define the final costs. It can be a time-consuming job, but it is worth it. The good news is that there are 3D Cell Culture matrices on the market, which provide you simplicity with no temperature and pH requirement. These products do not need additional ingredients. Hence, they simplify your budget calculation and make your financial situation crystal clear.

    3. Request information about the support/training opportunities

    Cell culture technology companies provide preparation and how-to-use guidelines to educate you about their product application. However, only a few of them can offer personal training and continued support to you free of charge. With the collaboration of the supplier’s scientist team, you effectively gain an extra pair of hands. You can make sure to apply the purchased product accurately, enabling success with your 3D cell culture matrices more quickly, and reducing the number of unpredicted failures which could generate product waste. As such,, you will not need to increase your expenditure by placing a new purchase order.

    4. Be curious about the supplier’s quality management system.

    The 3D cell culture market is filled with start-up and early-stage organisations. They are ambitious, innovative and resilient. All of them have promising products which are worth discovering. An important question to ask is, which of these companies will be able to provide consistency in product quality in the long-runby developing stringent process controls.

    The quality management system secures the consistency of the product’s quality. It considers potential risks in the production line and develops a contingency plan in case abreakdown/disaster occurs. Why is it important to you? The answer is easy! You conduct research which can take anything from a few months to several years to develop, and you want to make sure your results will not be compromised by the quality of the ‘raw’ materials. You want consistency, reproducibility, and control to achieve a result which can arguably change the world. Any changes in the quality of your preferred 3D cell culture matrices will directly impact your research. You want to avoid wasting your time and increasing your costs by recruiting new supplier and evaluating new products.


    Get more tips: 

    Spend the budget wisely: how to get returns on your expenditure

    De-risk the 3D switch: A guide to Biogelx’s Discovery Kit

    Not all 3D Cultures are Created Equally – Which is the best one for you?


  2. Spend the budget wisely: how to get returns on your expenditure

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    When planning a research project, the potentially competing concerns of quality, speed and cost must be considered and carefully managed. In both academic and industrial laboratories, the quality of research must not be compromised, as robust results are essential for publication, commercialisation, or as the foundation for future projects. In a similar vein, the speed with which these results are achieved may give the edge over competitors in the race to publish academic papers or apply for patents, and this drives the demand to move swiftly from the inception of a project through to its (hopefully) successful conclusion. With these two concerns standing paramount in the researcher’s mind, it is no surprise to learn that the performance of novel research is an expensive pursuit. However, by following some simple guidelines, a canny scientist can mitigate the costs of research without compromising the quality or speed of their work.

    Scale your experiments appropriately

    In the early stages of your project, and especially during the discovery and optimisation of experimental conditions, there is no need to work on a large scale. To avoid consumption of large quantities of expensive materials, early experiments should be scaled based on the analysis method which is needed to assess their success. Working on a small scale also allows the researcher to set up panels of parallel experiments, each testing slightly different conditions; this not only reduces the cost of each experiment, but shortens the time spent on optimisation. When a successful set of conditions have been found, the researcher may then scale up their experiment safe in the knowledge that they are not wasting precious budget by performing experiments which use sub-optimal conditions. Companies including Biogelx offer Discovery kits for just such an application. These kits comprise a range of functionalised materials to facilitate the rapid screening of different experimental conditions prior to scale up.

    Look for collaboration

    Particularly in academia, the opportunities for collaboration are abundant, thanks to the geographical proximity of groups who are housed in the same institution yet pursue diverse research interests. Beyond your home institution, collaboration opportunities abound through the extended network of researchers that can be connected through conferences and seminars. In industry, collaborations between groups with complementary strengths can also be mutually beneficial, whether these are with academic or industrial partners. In particular, industry/academic collaborations are important to generate key application data which provide evidence of the successful application of a commercial product in the hands of an academic researcher. Through collaboration it is possible to spread the risk and cost of a research project, while benefitting from the research experience of each participating partner, giving the opportunity to reach the best research outcome at a minimised cost.

    Make contact with your suppliers

    In addition to seeking full collaboration on a research project, contact with industrial partners who supply key materials can be beneficial in other ways. Many companies will provide academic discounts to researchers interested in incorporating their materials into new projects, or will be happy to provide additional technical support where their materials are being used in a novel way. If your research project is likely to use the same supplier for future orders, this is another opportunity to secure discounted rates as a returning customer. Furthermore, by establishing a connection with your supplier you will be best placed to benefit from introductory offers on products which are new to the market. Making connections between academia and industry can be beneficial for both parties and as there is no cost to sending an email, this approach can be rewarding to the forthright researcher who is willing to reach out.

    In summary, there are multiple ways to minimise the expenditure associated with a research project. These include adopting practical working practices and making the most of connections within academia and industry to foster collaboration and mutually beneficial partnerships. Performing novel research is inherently risky, but by minimising cost and making connections with those who have useful expertise, you can give yourself the best opportunity to get returns on your expenditure.