About Us

URMA promotes excellence and professionalism among those who write, edit, design, and produce print and online magazines, e-newsletters, social media, videos, and other communications about the research and scholarly activities of a university, nonprofit research center, governmental funding agency, or institute. These publications — aimed at general audiences with an interest in higher education — offer the inside story on a range of disciplines, from music and medicine to Earth sciences and engineering.

2024 URMA Conference Attendees

Who we are

Since the early 1980s, URMA has been known as the University Research Magazine Association. URMA quickly grew due to the need for a peer group focused on best practices and challenges in institutional research magazine production. This small, active group of professionals became such a great source of information, professional growth and camaraderie that many research communicators started joining the group, even those without research magazines.

Over the years, URMA broadened to cover topics beyond magazine production, including digital and social media, websites, e-magazines, media relations, internal/organizational research communications and more. To more fully represent our membership and maintain our commitment to all URMAns who are part of our URMANity, we became simply URMA.

Our Goals

  1. Promote public understanding of academic research and creative activity.
  2. Promote excellence and professionalism among those who communicate through both print and electronic channels to the general public and other audiences about scientific research and scholarship at a university, non-profit research center, agency or institute.
  3. Provide professional development opportunities for professionals working in the field.

Our Members

URMA’s members currently represent more than 145 institutions in the U.S. and internationally.

Explore our world map to see the various institutions whose research is promoted by URMA members.


URMA is classified as a nonprofit educational organization. It is run by volunteers and has no paid employees.

Tracey Bryant, University of Delaware

Katherine Baillie, University of Pennsylvania

Kathryn Jepsen, SLAC/FermiLab

Gail McCormick, Penn State University

Christina Dierkes, Ohio Sea Grant

David Pacchioli, Penn State University

Dave Barczak, University of Delaware

Lindsay Lewis, Baylor College of Medicine

2575 Sand Hill Road, MS 58
Menlo Park, CA 94025

EIN: 20-0197323

Our Humble Beginnings

URMA also published a parody magazine from 2013-2014 known as “DANG!”

URMA traces its beginnings to July 1981 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. A dozen editors of the then-new and growing field of university research magazines created an informal organization to share knowledge and support. William Kell, then magazine editor for the Graduate School at the University of Minnesota, organized the meeting. He believed that magazines reporting on research from universities and research institutions required an organization focused on needs specific to this medium. The 12 in attendance concurred and coined the acronym “URMA.”

Those attending were Jean Akhtar (University of Wisconsin, Madison), Harlan Berger (Penn State), Robert Fauteux (University of Minnesota), Carol Hatfield (University of Texas at Austin), Mary Jones (Rutgers), Leslie Lin (University of Michigan), Joan Marionni (University of Maryland), David Mathis (Virginia Commonwealth University), Eric Rosenthal (Drexel), Alan Swatek (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee), and Robert Toomey (University of Delaware).

Until 1997, URMA members met in conjunction with the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) meetings entitled “Communicating University Research” and, in 1995 and 1996, at the “New Horizons in Science” briefings of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing (CASW).

The First Conference

In January 1997, URMA members gathered for the organization’s first independent meeting in Tucson, Arizona, on the campus of the University of Arizona. URMA annual meetings have continued. Conferences are hosted by a member of the organization.

URMA and the Pandemic

URMA kept research communicators connected during the pandemic by launching monthly programming to support one another: URMA Live!

The Evolution of Our Name

In 2022, the University Research Magazine Association became simply URMA. With commitment to its rich history, the branded acronym URMA was conserved and its expansion was dropped to better reflect the growing number of members across the research community: those with research magazines and those without.


Our Identity

The University Research Magazine Association established the bold design of our acronym, URMA. The logo, designed by Michael Hagelberg, graphic artist (retired) at Arizona State University, is an enduring symbol of our organization.

Past Presidents


Lindsay Lewis
University of Houston/
Baylor College of Medicine


Catherine Zandonella
Princeton University


Joe Kays
University of Florida


Rachel Coker
Binghamton University