The National Institutes of Health (NIH) supports more than 300,000 scientists in universities and research institutions across the United States and abroad. The NIH Office of Extramural Research (OER) provides assistance to scientists applying for research funding — an essential step to achieving medical discovery. The process through which funding is attained is built on numerous federal policies and procedures. Each year, OER hosts two NIH Regional Seminars on Program Funding and Grants Administration. At each seminar, in the course of three days, more than 30 NIH and HHS staff members are brought to a central location to educate, share and listen to hundreds of administrators, graduate students, and anyone interested in the grants administration process.
The seminar serves as a venue to demystify the funding application process and clarify federal regulations and policies. Since 2008, Ripple Effect has provided project management and coordination support for five NIH Regional Seminars.
Ripple Effect utilized our comprehensive event management approach to coordinate all of the moving pieces of these events. The four phased approach involves:
• Phase 1: Development – Initial concept design; define purpose, objectives, format and overall vision for the event. Develop event specifications guide.
• Phase 2: Pre-Event Coordination – Agenda development, budget creation, site research and selection, website development, speaker management, communication/outreach, and materials design and printing.
• Phase 3: On-site Coordination – Venue set-up, vendor/exhibitor set-up, registration/information desk, program execution, volunteer coordination and dismantle process.
• Phase 4: Post-Event Coordination – Budget reconciliation; distribute thank you letters, final report and evaluation.
We identified OER’s operational and programmatic objectives, and gathered the event specifications. With this information we were able to create an event work plan, including the event time line and tasks list, to achieve the event objectives. We held regular planning meetings with OER leadership, and coordinated logistics and communications with speakers, exhibitors, volunteers, and attendees.
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