SETI have spent millions of dollars in “research” over the last 40 years. To this day, they have succeded in only one thing: Spend money.
Assuming how far behind schedule we are in the cosmic evolution compaired to potential ET civilizations, I think it is quite pretentious to claim we are the one who will make contact. Scientists are indeed needed, but when it comes to ET life, their failing attempts to analyse and interpret is really only based on what they are mentally able to comprehend. What would have said any scientist, even just one hundred and fifty years ago, to someone who claimed possible the sending and receiving of data (being either text, photograph, film or sound) anywhere in the world in a matter of seconds? So, regarding the time it would take to traverse the distances between the stars, it is really up to the technology implied. None of the Phds, who spend more time writing books than actually genuinely researching anything, have a clue.