June 15, 2021
When the coronavirus pandemic caused the cancellation of all in-person meetings, ORISE’s Peer Review group leaned on virtual meeting capabilities to keep the mission moving forward. Out of necessity, the team built upon and expanded in-house capabilities for hosting reviews in a virtual environment.
“We had to develop a way to meet our customers’ needs while also protecting the health and safety of all those involved,” said ORISE Director of Scientific and Technical Resource Integration Keri Cagle. “We added more tools to our toolbox, intensified virtual meeting training for our staff, and ultimately became very creative at coming up with alternative solutions.”
Fast forward to one year later and Cagle anticipates that scientific meetings will remain in a hybrid model, where some individuals attend in-person while others participate remotely. It’s for that reason that the ORISE Virtual Road Show was created as a way to showcase ORISE’s ability to create integrated virtual experiences.
The road show took place on two separate days—April 1 and April 5, 2021. Customers within DOE were the main target audience, but the event was also available to staff, university/industry partners and other government contractors. More than 100 people registered for the road show.
“During the event, attendees were encouraged to forget traditional definitions of poster sessions, exhibit areas and workshops,” said ORISE Group Manager Angie Lester. “The key is to embrace a new definition of what those activities look like in a virtual setting and then select the right tools to make that vision a reality.”
After an introductory session featuring ORISE’s virtual capabilities and expertise, attendees were encouraged to explore at their own pace and talk with the ORISE team in the various “exit ramps” available. Each exit or pit stop featured details on specific topics, such as FedRamp Meetings and Webinars; Facilitated Discussions and Consensus Tools; and Virtual Poster Session Options. The most popular pit stop was the Virtual Event Integrated Experience, with the Virtual Event or Meeting Websites pit stop coming in a close second.
“In anticipation of a post-pandemic future, ORISE has reimagined our event-marketing strategies to prepare for the hybrid, physical/digital reality,” said Cagle. “Events will be smaller and more localized but with the full-suite of ORISE’s virtual capabilities, our customers can still achieve broad reach and foster the valuable interpersonal collaboration that is necessary for ensuring the most effective use of scientific research funding.”
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.