During the COVID-19 pandemic, the loss of in-person scientific gatherings has been particularly hard. I so thoroughly enjoy opportunities to catch up with old friends, learn about ongoing research and recent findings, and forge new collaborations. Scientific meetings are also an important forum for investigators to learn about NIH and current programs and initiatives relevant to their work. As we wait for in-person gatherings to safely resume, we seek creative ways to stay connected and pursue those same opportunities in a virtual world.
Thus, I am delighted to share information on the 2020 NIH Virtual Seminar on Program Funding and Grants Administration, taking place from October 27-30, 2020 from 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM each day (Eastern Time). This forum provides a unique opportunity to learn about the NIH grants process, programs, and policies – straight from the experts. While NIH has hosted Regional Seminars in the past, this year’s event expands the programming over four days in a virtual environment. Designed for those who are new to the NIH grants process, the event is intended to help demystify the application and review process, clarify federal regulations and policies, and highlight current areas of special interest or concern. This year’s seminar will kick-off with a keynote from Dr. Michael Lauer, NIH Deputy Director for Extramural Research, and will include three tracks of sessions containing live and on-demand videos, live chats with NIH and HHS experts on grants and policies, and downloadable resources to reuse and/or share with others at your institution(s). And for those who are well-versed in the NIH grants process, a few sessions will be designed for participants that are more advanced and focused on in-depth policies and processes. Registrants will have access to the Exhibit Halls beginning at 12:00 PM each day, as well as after-hours conversations beginning at 5:00 PM each day (all times Eastern).
You will be able to find NINDS, the NIH BRAIN Initiative®, and the NIH HEAL Initiative throughout the event! Dr. Avindra Nath, Clinical Director of NINDS, will give a talk on the neurological effects of COVID-19, including both parainfectious manifestations that take place during the acute phase of the virus, as well as post-viral syndromes that manifest after the acute phase. In addition, NINDS program staff will provide overviews of: pain and migraine research initiatives; the development and use of common data elements in research; and health disparities, global health, and clinical trial inclusion. NINDS, BRAIN, and HEAL will have booths in the Exhibit Hall, where you will be able to find resources and tools to help you succeed in working with NIH. These booths will include files, videos, and websites that provide information on program overviews, strategic plans and goals, scientific priorities and future directions, funding opportunities, and job opportunities along with other ways to get involved. Finally, NINDS and BRAIN staff will host Slack chats over the course of the seminar. These live chats will allow you to bring your questions and learn more about programs, initiatives, and resources at the Institute and across NIH.
The 2020 NIH Virtual Seminar is free to attend, and almost 20,000 individuals have registered. If you are unable to attend, all presentations will be available on the NIH Grants YouTube channel by November 20. I want to thank all the NINDS staff who have been hard at work to contribute to this event, and in the midst of the ongoing pandemic, I am looking forward for this opportunity to virtually connect. I hope to “see” you there!