Become an URMA Conference Host

There are lots of benefits to serving as a conference host — from showcasing your university or institution to our association of communications experts from across the U.S. and around the globe, to strengthening ties with communicators and researchers right on your own campus.

URMA 2023 Conference Photo

Why host the URMA annual conference?

URMA is the world’s only association dedicated to the success of professionals who communicate about university and institutional research. Organizing the URMA conference means hosting communications experts from top research institutions – giving you the opportunity to highlight your university or institution and its research profile.

URMA conferences are truly special. Few conferences offer the ability to connect with so many professionals who experience the same challenges and the same joys inherent in communicating about research at an institution. This is your chance to share your creativity and passion for research communications with your colleagues on a broader scale.

Hosting the URMA conference enables you to develop deeper relationships with other research institutions in your region. We encourage you to invite communicators from your own institution, as well as from nearby institutions. Building these relationships is beneficial when your institutions collaborate on research projects.

What does hosting entail?

As host, you’ll develop the conference agenda in consultation with the URMA board and in response to member feedback from the 2023 post-conference survey. You may feature your institution’s faculty and staff, as well as bring renowned outside journalists, communications professionals, and other speakers to your campus.

URMA conferences typically run from Tuesday – Friday, with Tuesday featuring a field trip to a nearby research facility or institution for a tour and conversation with the facility’s communicators. Over the years, for example, we’ve traveled to Oak Ridge National Laboratory, NASA’s Johnson Space Center, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. We’ve also been to museums, aquariums, river tours – anywhere that people communicate about research.

Typical attendance at an URMA conference is in the range of 30–60 people. The host contributes an amount ranging from $5,000 to $20,000, depending on variables such as speakers’ fees and catering and transportation costs. URMA pays for up to 50% of the total conference cost, depending on the number of registrations and travel grant recipients. URMA sets the conference registration (typically around $300 per member) and collects registrations.

The host is responsible for creating the agenda, marketing the conference, selecting the hotel and venues, arranging transportation to research facilities and tours, and hosting a reception. Often, the reception begins with a welcome by the institution’s top research officer, such as the Vice President of Research.

When is the proposal due?

The URMA Board is accepting proposals through Friday, August 25, 2023. Please follow the guidelines on the next tab.

Proposal Guidelines


Maximum length:

Four pages

Suggested Content:

• An introduction highlighting what makes your research institution unique, including major strengths/programs.

• A sample conference agenda, Tuesday through Friday, briefly mapping out possible presentations, tours and other activities that might be offered each day. This agenda is not meant to be “set in stone,” but is designed to provide the board with greater insight into your campus experts and other potential speakers, research facilities and local tour opportunities. Be sure to review the FAQs below for more background.

• Your institution’s financial commitment to the event (this amount has ranged from $5,000 to $20,000).

• Conference location, hotel accommodations, and access to the conference venue from major airports, etc.


Please list all URMA members at the institution who will be involved in the planning and organization of the conference if awarded.

Submission Details:

The URMA Board is accepting proposals through Friday, August 25. Send proposals to or to any board member. We look forward to receiving your proposal!

Accepting proposals through Friday, August 25

Frequently Asked Questions


What are the benefits of hosting the URMA conference?

Hosting the URMA conference raises the profile of your institution by increasing awareness among the research communications offices of institutions in this country and abroad as well as by bringing journalists, professors, communications professionals, and other speakers to your campus. Previous meetings have resulted in collaborations between institutions and even in an occasional national story about the institution. The meeting can also serve as great professional development for on-campus staff members who might not normally be able to attend such a meeting.


What kind of financial investment does hosting entail?

That varies from institution to institution. It can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000, depending upon what your institution wants to do and hopes to get out of the conference. The money goes to such things as a welcome reception, lunches with researchers, and speaker fees and travel. URMA pays for parts of the conference, including the hospitality suite.


How do we get financial support from our institution?

That varies widely. Some institutions use cost-sharing among units to spread out the costs. Other institutions procure funding from one unit.


Accepting proposals through Friday, August 25

Past Conferences

To find out what types of things we cover at our conferences, check out our previous conference information by clicking on a conference graphic. Session videos and slides are available on our Member Resources page.