NORDP Liaison Notes: The 2018 NIH Regional Seminar

Conference Attendee: Jennifer Webster, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Conference: The NIH Regional Seminar on Program Funding and Grants Administration
Date and Location: May 2-4 2018, in Washington, DC

nih-logo-large.pngConference Description from NIH: “These seminars are intended to help demystify the application and review process, clarify Federal regulations and policies, and highlight current areas of special interest or concern. The seminars serve the NIH mission of providing education and training for the next generation of biomedical and behavioral scientist. NIH policy, grants management, review and program staff provide a broad array of expertise and encourage personal interaction between themselves and seminar participants. The seminars are appropriate for grants administrators, researchers new to NIH, and graduate students.”

The purpose of my attendance was threefold:

  1. Meet with program officers to build relationships and clarify questions of specific interest to my faculty and institution;
  2. Represent NORDP in my capacity as NIH Liaison from the Strategic Alliances Committee; and
  3. Attend seminar sessions to maintain my general knowledge about the sponsor.

This is my fourth year (in a row!) attending the NIH Regional Seminar. For the first three years, I organized faculty travel to the event to provided them with a baseline understanding of NIH and to prepare them to meet one-on-one with program officers. This year, I didn’t take any faculty, and I split my time between meeting with program officers and attending sessions of interest.

The sessions this year didn’t reveal any new information about pending initiatives or major changes at NIH, but my time meeting with program officers, even with very loose agendas, was quite productive. I met with program officials in areas of specific interest to my institution and those conversations clarified questions and provided additional information that we have already used to realign some of our ongoing work with faculty and to push forward into new areas. My conversations also revealed awareness of research development (and NORDP) that ranged from puzzled to enthusiastic, which confirmed that there’s a lot more outreach to be done!

I highly recommend the NIH Regional Seminar to NORDP members, especially for the opportunities to meet one-on-one with many program officers from most institutes and centers.

Submitted by Jennifer Webster

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