CRDF Solutions Helps Facilitate Wellesley College Consortium Project in Lake Baikal, Russia
Coordinating the logistics of a research project can feel like a daunting task. Coordinating the logistics of a research project in a country thousands of miles away can feel next-to-impossible. And those feelings are something Dr. Marianne Moore, Associate Professor, Wellesley College, knew all too well. Dr. Moore, like many researchers, was elated when she secured funding for her Russia-based research project, Lake Baikal Responses to Global Change: The Role of Genetic, Functional and Taxonomic Diversity in the Plankton. But that elation quickly turned to uncertainty when Dr. Moore began sorting out the logistics.
“We needed large pieces of equipment: growth chambers that looked like oversized refrigerators, freezers, microwaves, backup generators, vacuum pumps, microscopes. These are big things that cannot be carried in suitcases. It became very clear that I had to purchase these things from a Russian vendor,” she said.
So, Dr. Moore did what nearly anybody would do in her situation – she contacted Russian vendors to procure the equipment. This was a move she thought would be relatively hassle-free.
“But Russian vendors would not sell to me if the equipment cost more than about $2,000 because they would incur a tax liability—an international tax that the Russian government places on them—so they refused to sell to me,” she said.
Dr. Moore had lost her spring-semester sabbatical trying to launch her project, and said she had almost given up hope after experiencing so many roadblocks.
“I was at my wits end to the point where I wasn’t sleeping at night because I could not purchase the equipment necessary for this project. My research team had lost our first winter field season because I couldn’t get this equipment purchased, and it looked like we were going to lose our summer field season, and that would have been catastrophic for us,” she said.
After trying many options, Dr. Moore’s Russian logistical coordinator sent her an e-mail saying that CRDF Global might be able to help.
“I got on the website for CRDF Global, and low and behold, there was this arm called CRDF Solutions that was providing technical services for scientists working in Russia,” she said. “That’s when I got in touch with Eldar [Imanverdiyev] and he literally saved my life.”
Very shortly after Dr. Moore contacted CRDF Solutions' Associate Director for Client Relations, Eldar Imanverdiyev, CRDF Solutions was able to procure the equipment needed for Dr. Moore’s project, as well as coordinate the logistics for transporting the equipment to the remote project site that had no road access. Dr. Moore’s project also involved other personnel from a consortium of universities, including: Michigan State University; University of Texas, Austin; East Tennessee State University; University of California, Santa Barbara; and Irkutsk State University, in Russia. Because of its flexibility, CRDF Solutions was readily equipped to handle the needs of researchers from several universities working on one project.
The data set from Dr. Moore’s project will be available to the public once completed, and the results will be communicated to environmental organizations in Russia and the United States, and to a U.S.-based film team planning an IMAX film about Lake Baikal and freshwater conservation. Dr. Moore and her team are also updating a blog about their research in Lake Baikal, which can be found here.