X-Flash #15

January 29 , 2009


NO User Fees at the Xlab!

After wrestling with the notion of charging user fees for the Xlab, we have been rescued by Dean Rich Lyons of the Haas School of Business.  The Xlab has received a substantial commitment of funds and space from the Haas School, enough that we will not have to charge fees to the UCB community for using the Xlab.  Thank you Dean Lyons!


New Computers:  The Xlab has been closed for the first three weeks of January so that we could install and deploy a complete array of new computers.  Our peerless SysAdmin, Lawrence Sweet, has held the lab’s original computers together for four years.  Now, thanks in part to support from the Haas School of Business, the Xlab has been able to purchase brand-new laptops. In addition to being faster and more reliable, each is equipped with a discreet, high-resolution webcam.


Xlab in the Field:  Using small, hand-held computers from the Xlab, Dr. Omar Galarraga recently conducted a series of field experiments and interviews with male sex workers in Mexico City.  Read Galarraga’s write-up in Xflash #14 at http://xlab.berkeley.edu/xflash/xflash14.htm


Human Subjects:  Among the biggest obstacles to doing experiments are the delays and frustrations the investigators experience in getting approval from the Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects (Berkeley’s Institutional Review Board).  Xlab hopes that we have found a solution to this.  Xlab Director is a now a member of CPHS and Xlab Administrator Brenda Naputi a trained IRB staff reviewer, leading CPHS to delegate significant amount of review responsibility to the Xlab under our Master Protocol.  Much more of the reviewing of research protocols will be done at the Xlab level, and we expect this to lead to a sizeable reduction in the amount of time that investigators will have to wait for CPHS approval.


Grants:  Xlab continues its policy of making small grants available for faculty and graduate student researchers.  See http://xlab.berkeley.edu/researchers_pages/grants.html on the Xlab’s website.


Workshop:  Watch for a separate announcement regarding a special workshop on experimental research in the Xlab.  It will be held over the noon-hour on February 25th


Comments? Send constructive comments to Shachar Kariv <kariv@econ > or Brenda Naputi <naputi@haas>

For more information, check out the Xlab web site at xlab.berkeley.edu