As the coronavirus pandemic spread across the globe, the need to create virtual alternatives for scientific peer review and various other meetings became a priority for ORISE and its U.S. Department of Energy customers. To date, ORISE has supported several online events—each of which sought to recreate the interpersonal communication that is so critical for independently reviewing and evaluating federally funded scientific research. Below are some examples of recent virtual events as well as some of the comments received from ORISE’s customers.
National Virtual Biotechnology Laboratory Symposium
The National Virtual Biotechnology Laboratory Symposium was held to highlight the impact of DOE’s National Virtual Biotechnology Laboratory (NVBL) on utilizing the unique capabilities of DOE to tackle the science and technology challenges associated with COVID-19. DOE Office of Science Director Chris Fall and National Nuclear Security Administration Principal Deputy Administrator William A. Bookless were among the featured speakers. ORISE provided logistical and technical support prior to and during the symposium. Afterwards, DOE Office of Science Deputy Director for Science Programs Harriet Kung had this to say:
“A big thank-you to Katie and the ORISE team for the logistics support…”
Earth System Model Development E³SM Principle Investigator (PI) Meeting
The DOE Office of Science hosted the Earth System Model Development E³SM Principle Investigator (PI) Meeting. The E³SM, which stands for Energy Exascale Earth System Model, is an Earth system modeling, simulation, and prediction project that optimizes DOE laboratory resources to betterunderstand changes in interacting subsystems, explore the influence of human activities, and identify possible future changes.
The virtual meeting enabled DOE and PIs to review progress, share knowledge and best practices, identify opportunities and challenges, and facilitate collaboration on the project. The ORISE team created the meeting website; collected and organized abstracts; collected and published posters to the website; created a survey for attendees to vote for best poster; and set up and hosted the Zoom sessions, which included a plenary and 13 breakout sessions. DOE Earth System Model Development Program Manager Xujing Jia Davis recognized the success of the four-day meeting by saying to ORISE:
“I want to thank you for your excellent and professional assistance of the ESMD/E3SM PI meeting! I know you have been juggling among multiple tasks recently and I greatly appreciate your magic making everything work!”
Building Technologies Office 2020 Peer PReview
The DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Building Technologies Office (BTO) hosted the 2020 PReview, a virtual and free series of interactive plenaries that was held in lieu of their annual in-person peer review.
With more than 900 attendees, this was the first wide-scale virtual event hosted by BTO. The three-day event included six plenary sessions, 40 Zoom breakout rooms, and the first-ever Better Know the BTO Quiz Show to facilitate a virtual social hour. ORISE staff ensured the event ran smoothly by facilitating multiple dress rehearsals and queueing up speakers ahead of their presentations. Ultimately BTO leadership expressed their satisfaction with the event’s success and the role ORISE played in supporting it.
"Hi all—it’s been a crazy few days, but I wanted to say a big THANK YOU to everyone involved for making this quiz show come to life! I thought it was great and people liked it so I think we can chalk this one up as a “Win!”
DOE EERE Building Technologies Office
“Thank you for the hard work and for bearing with day of needs and for helping make the event successful."
DOE EERE Building Technologies Office
SC User Facilities Roundtable
Another virtual event supported by ORISE was the SC User Facilities Roundtable, sponsored by the DOE Office of Science (SC), over the course of three separate days. The event recognized the impacts COVID-19 had on many SC user facilities—cancelling in-person user experiences and altering research to a virtual experience, to name a few—and asked participants to share insight on six different topic areas.
ORISE provided logistical support for three different plenary sessions. ORISE meeting support staff also scheduled and supported three planning meetings for the six different topic area panels during the two week timeframe.
At the event’s conclusion, SC Deputy Director for Science Programs Harriet Kung expressed her thanks to all organizers of the roundtable, including ORISE. DOE Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Facilities Division Director Ben Brown also commented:
“Natalia did incredible work behind the scenes, and Katie Runkles who’s in the background and Julie Webber at ORISE… I am amazed at the level of attention to detail in the midst of everything else going on. So I know each of you contributed mightily but I just wanted call you out in an understated way. Thank you so much for being the glue the held this entire ship together.”
The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) asset that is dedicated to enabling critical scientific, research, and health initiatives of the department and its laboratory system by providing world class expertise in STEM workforce development, scientific and technical reviews, and the evaluation of radiation exposure and environmental contamination.
ORISE is managed by ORAU, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and federal contractor, for DOE’s Office of Science. The single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, the Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.osti.gov.