OCB-funded scoping and topical workshops should be limited to 50-70 participants to be as focused and effective as possible. Please devise a consistent and transparent system for determining who will participate (e.g., application process, evaluative criteria), and, to the extent possible, encourage external input from and dissemination of workshop ideas to non-participants (e.g., blogs, webinars, social media, stream or record and share talks, post talks on webpage, etc.). Workshop materials (e.g., talk recordings or slide decks) should be made available as soon as possible during or after the meeting via the workshop webpage. Although it is good strategic planning to invite a few key people that you think would contribute to a productive meeting, we strongly discourage an exclusive, ‘invitation only’ approach. Workshop organizers should develop and describe an approach that remains faithful to the OCB model of grassroots community-driven scientific planning.
OCB working groups and other small group activities (synthesis, intercomparison, etc.) are meant to address targeted science goals/questions and yield products and outcomes that benefit and engage the broader OCB community. Small group activities will vary in size, depending on the proposed outcomes and breadth of expertise required. The typical size range for OCB small group activities is ~8-16 people. While some of the members will be invited, we recommend and can help facilitate an open (application) process for bringing on additional members as needed. The working group leadership’s first task is to assess its goals and membership needs. If they pursue an open application process, they should develop application questions and an accompanying rubric for evaluation. They should provide prospective applicants with a general description of the activity’s goals, anticipated time commitments, required meetings (in-person and virtual), and timeline. When considering activities and outcomes of your small group activity, keep in mind what the relevant community needs/gaps are and how to most effectively access your target audience (e.g., target institution types within member group, location of WG activities, types/accessibility and how to disseminate products/outcomes).
Another effective tool for broadening engagement around your small group’s goals is convening some open meetings (open to anyone who is interested) in addition to closed (members only) meetings. For example, your group might hold regular open webinars/meetings to engage broader community input to your team’s knowledge base and process. Some small group activities might culminate in an open community workshop or a product that would benefit from an open review process.
Regardless of your small group activity’s goals, establish a timeline early, with assistance from Project Office Staff, to ensure you meet your goals within the funded time. Set up a regular meeting schedule that includes all WG members and the OCB Project Office staff. Please do not schedule any in person or virtual working group activities without including the Project Office staff. Any in person meeting dates and logistics needs should be determined as soon as possible and be communicated to the OCB administrative/logistics coordinator so they can assist with reservations and local arrangements. Since the annual summer workshop occurs at WHOI, we like to encourage other OCB activities to be distributed around the US, perhaps at/near a WG member/host’s institution (preferable). Some small group OCB activities convene meetings in conjunction with (the week before or days after) the OCB summer workshop. However, please note we cannot support weekend meeting dates at WHOI, so plan accordingly.
WORKSHOP PLANNING & OUTCOMES
You will need to establish a workshop organizing committee to develop evaluation criteria and make final decisions on the participant list. This committee will also be responsible for deciding on a venue and helping with local logistics, contacting and booking potential speakers, developing a workshop agenda, guiding the workshop discussions, and overseeing the generation of science products from the workshop. We recommend monthly web meetings for organizing committee members to plan the meeting, and these can be facilitated by the OCB Project Office. All meetings should include OCB staff to help with logistics, timelines and best practices.
Please maintain a strong emphasis on implementation and the OCB scientific objectives when developing the agenda. In addition to plenary talks, the meeting should provide plenty of opportunities among participants for active discussion and planning of focused research activities. It is hoped that the discussions at the workshop and by the broader research community will stimulate related multi-PI proposals for submission to funding agencies.
In addition, a workshop report and/or product(s) should be submitted within 6 months of the workshop (see style guide). Other workshop products might include peer-reviewed papers, community white papers, special journal volumes, data synthesis, websites, etc. A peer-reviewed paper or white paper that embodies the workshop discussions and recommendations is an acceptable (and encouraged!) substitute for a workshop report. If publishing an outcome from an OCB activity in the peer-reviewed literature or some other format, please contact the OCB Project Office for the appropriate verbiage and funding acknowledgments to use in the text.
USE OF OCB FUNDS FOR ALL ACTIVITIES
When assembling a budget for a scoping workshop proposal, please consider the following line items:
- Workshop organizing committee travel
- Invited speaker travel
- Early career and/or underrepresented participant travel stipends
- Hotel costs
- Meeting space costs (including meeting rooms, A/V equipment and support, poster boards, etc.)
- Ground transportation between hotels and meeting site if needed
- Workshop supplies
- Collection of registration fees (which OCB Project Office can set up if needed)
Sample funding model for OCB summer workshops
We cover SSC (organizing committee) and invited speaker travel and provide early career/underrepresented participant travel stipends. All other participants (who are not invited speakers) are expected to arrange and pay for their own travel to and from the workshop. We cover hotel costs for ALL participants (OCB office collects check-in and check-out information from participants and provides rooming lists to hotel), catering, and other workshop costs, and we have participants (including organizing committee members) pay a registration fee to offset costs of hotel, catering, and other workshop costs. Only invited speakers have their registration fees waived. We typically offer a reduced registration fee for early career and underrepresented participants. Whatever funding model you choose, it should be clearly communicated to prospective participants by the time the workshop registration opens.
- OCB travel reimbursement instructions and forms – https://www.us-ocb.org/science-support/travel-support/ – we do not reimburse rental cars
- OCB can provide travel support for invited participants outside the US and stipends for participants from developing countries. However, given its US federal agency funding sources, US participants should be prioritized.
- OCB scoping workshop funds cannot be used to cover salary.
WORKSHOP LOGISTICAL TIMELINES
Below are suggested workshop planning time targets. Since the OCB summer workshop takes place in Woods Hole every year, we encourage workshop planners to have their workshops elsewhere around the US, especially at historical Black colleges and universities and other minority-serving institutions to broaden access and engagement in our activities. Typically, the workshop organizing committee oversees the content of the agenda and communications with speakers and panelists, while the OCB office takes the lead on workshop logistics, advertising, and participant communications (in consultation with the workshop organizing committee). However, with workshops taking place at other institutions, the OCB office will need to work closely with the organizing committee member (and an administrative contact if possible) from the host institution to secure local logistics. If you have questions, please contact the OCB Project Office (email@example.com).
BEFORE SUBMITTING A PROPOSAL
- Choose a venue and season (fall, winter, spring, summer) for your activity – we recommend not using WHOI, since we have our annual summer workshop there. It’s best to move OCB activities around the country. Venues that have the capacity to engage broader participation (e.g., minority-serving institutions) are especially encouraged. Obtain quotes for meeting rooms, technical equipment and support, and other meeting setup.
- Obtain hotel quotes (per night) to help you develop a realistic budget and confirm that lodgings are available for the number of participants you expect during the proposed workshop dates (PER DIEM is not a reasonable estimate). Any hotel contracts or block arrangements must be made through the OCB Project Office, as these need to be approved internally at WHOI.
- Obtain catering estimates based on your estimated headcount for your event and include this in your budget request. Per diem rates are much lower than what catering for the meeting will cost on a per person basis. Plan for breakfasts, lunch, two breaks with coffee and snacks daily. Most workshops also include one catered or group dinner and a reception with hors d’oeuvres and drinks* (*funds for alcohol must come from unrestricted registration fees or other donations, not the workshop budget funded by OCB).
- Depending on the distance between the meeting venue and hotel options, get an estimate for local shuttle/reserved bus transportation between lodging and meeting spaces, and include this in your proposed budget.
- Budget for travel of invited speakers, organizing committee members, and travel stipends (early career and underrepresented participants and/or participants from developing countries). Transportation costs are rising, so we advise that you try to obtain realistic estimates for your venue/time of year. If OCB staff attend, their travel will not come from your activity budget.
- Aim for equitable and transparent use of travel and hotel funding for participants
- OCB provides travel support for non-US participants, including speakers and participants from developing countries. However, please remember that OCB is a US federal agency-funded program (NSF, NASA), so US participant support should be prioritized.
- Unless non-US participants are invited speakers or they are coming from a developing country, they should be required to provide the same level of self-support as US-based participants.
- Airfare costs are on the rise. If you have funds leftover (after covering your organizing committee and invited speakers), we recommend offering a partial travel stipend to early career/underrepresented participants to help offset their travel costs. This provides more predictability for your budget and also spreads limited travel funds across more participants. It’s entirely appropriate to ask participants to do a bit of legwork on their behalf to secure other sources of financial support (institution, advisor, etc.) to help cover their participation. If there are speakers or organizing committee members who would like to cover their own travel costs to free up travel support for other participants, that is fine too.
- Registration fees: If participants are paying a registration fee to attend your workshop, those funds should help cover items such as ground transportation (meeting shuttles), catering, hotel room, etc. Registration fees are unrestricted funds that can help cover things like honoraria, beer/wine at a mixer/reception. If you are streaming or hosting a hybrid workshop, we recommend tiered registration fees. One example breakdown: 1) in person $250; 2a) streaming/chat only $0 unrestricted attendance, OR 2b) if fully hybrid with hosted remote interactions, breakouts etc., have a reasonable but significantly lower than in person registration fee for remote attendees.
- Remote participation: In the vein of broadening participation, please consider live streaming at least the plenary presentations during your workshop. Be sure to budget for ample A/V support, especially if you are live streaming. Also funds to cover the A/V person to edit the recordings to reasonable lengths (session/talk) for posting online. If you are aiming to conduct a fully hybrid workshop, this really requires a dedicated person to handle the A/V and often another person/SOC member/OCB staff to support remote participant engagement.
6+ MONTHS BEFORE WORKSHOP
Workshop content (workshop organizing committee)
- Assemble small (5-6) workshop organizing committee if you haven’t already done so
- Establish and set up a standing meeting time for your organizing committee – monthly meetings, moving to weekly or biweekly in the two months before the event OCB can set up and support these meetings on Zoom. Please make sure OCB staff are included in your meetings! Assign deadlines to the logistical timeline based on your activity dates.
- Begin refining the scientific goals and target participants for your workshop. Determine how you will seek out and encourage a diverse group of participants.
- Start identifying topics and potential speakers and reaching out to speakers
Workshop logistics (OCB staff)
- Identify a local administrative contact with knowledge about the venue and nearby hotels, catering, etc. to work with the OCB office
- Finalize your workshop dates and venue: Work with OCB Project Office to secure necessary meeting venue arrangements (space for plenary sessions, breakouts, poster sessions, receptions, AV support, laptops, microphones, streaming capabilities you expect to use during your meeting)
- Work with OCB and local administrative contact to start identifying and obtaining quotes from potential hotels and caterers (price comparisons, menus, etc.) – a good starting point for catering is to plan on a minimum of breakfast, lunch, and 2 coffee breaks/day, and add in a welcome reception (first night) and a workshop dinner if your budget allows – note that the OCB Project Office cannot pay for alcohol
- Set up a budget spreadsheet to track your expenses
- Consider your carbon footprint: In what ways can you lessen the carbon footprint of your workshop? Accommodating remote speakers or participants, encourage lower carbon forms of travel or purchase of carbon offsets, consider tracking this information, gear towards a more vegetarian and local catering menu, request caterers use compostable or even better, reusable plates/utensils/cups, create a paperless meeting, be creative!
Workshop communications (OCB staff)
- Work with OCB to build a meeting webpage that includes workshop background, goals, organizing committee information and contacts, and link to the original workshop proposal to OCB – logistical information, workshop agenda, and other materials can be added as the workshop gets closer
- Send out a save-the-date announcement via OCB communication channels (website, eNewsletter, Twitter) and share with relevant OCB partner programs to distribute to their networks – encourage organizing committee members also to help get the word out via their networks
4 MONTHS BEFORE WORKSHOP
Workshop content (workshop organizing committee)
- Build a registration/application form (google forms or something comparable is fine) to collect the participant information you need (include questions to assess diversity, career stage and other demographic and scientific interest information to inform decisions about participant balance), if your workshop will include posters, collect necessary information (title, author(s), affil, we don’t collect full abstracts), logotics-relevant questions on special accommodations and/or dietary allergies/preferences, childcare considerations, etc. OCB can provide examples of previous meeting registration forms as a starting point.
- If using a workshop application process, work with OCB office and organizing committee to develop a consistent rubric for evaluating applications
- If collecting a registration fee, OCB staff will set up a separate registration fee collection form for accepted, confirmed participants
- Finalize the list of speakers and make sure they’ve all been invited and confirmed their participation
- If developing breakout sessions, discuss the purpose and desired outcomes of those sessions and start identifying potential breakout leaders (these discussions can help inform the development of the workshop products), notetakers (engage ECR participants)
Workshop logistics (OCB staff)
- Select and secure hotel blocks as needed (any contracts must be arranged and approved through OCB Office)
- Select caterer and start looking at catering menus and select options
- Determine your A/V needs and capabilities of the venue, particularly, your capacity to support remote participation and speakers
- Determine poster space set-up and board dimensions, printer poster size restrictions
- Start researching shuttle options if needed
- Update workshop website with whatever logistical details are available (hotel name/address, local airport(s), how to get between them (bus, public transit), and the start and end times each day so people can plan their travel early)
Workshop communications (OCB staff)
- Send invitation letters to invited speakers with guidelines for their talk and also logistics information on what expenses are covered and how to get reimbursed
- Add skeletal agenda (or list of workshop topics) and list of confirmed speakers to workshop website (before opening registration/application)
- Send announcement (OCB eNews, website, Twitter, partner networks) officially launching registration/application and keep application/registration form open for ~3-5 weeks (send reminders as registration/application deadline approaches)
- Use social media to share the meeting more broadly – tag OCB (Twitter @us_ocb) and set up meeting hashtag – Tweet out reminders to register/apply 2-3 times before the deadline
2 MONTHS BEFORE WORKSHOP
Workshop content (workshop organizing committee)
- Finalize agenda, post on website asap for people planning travel/childcare, etc.
- Plan out breakout sessions and assign leaders (from confirmed participant list)
- Communicate with each session speaker group on the topics/questions the talks should cover, breakouts plan and roles, find a time for the group to meet online/phone once or twice for introductions and coordinating content (incl idea/talk flow), share the session schedule and times with the session group.
Workshop logistics (OCB staff)
- Determine what is needed in the meeting rooms: Smart screen or projector, pointer, specific wireless access, laptop on which to load presentations, microphone (podium, clip-ons, and how many hand-helds), tables/chairs, poster display boards, easels, etc., and make any necessary equipment reservations
- Reserve an A/V technician to help out, especially at beginning of meeting to make sure everything kicks off well – let them know if you plan to live stream the workshop
- Reserve a shuttle between hotel and meeting site (if necessary)
- Respond to any requests for special accommodations, dietary needs, etc. and make arrangements to meet these
- Compile poster submissions from registration/application data and plan for required space/poster boards
Workshop communications (OCB staff)
- Flesh out your workshop website with detailed workshop agenda, poster list (authors and title) and instructions (size limits on dimensions, landscape vs. portrait orientation, etc.), logistics information, and also prepare participant list (available upon request, we no longer post these on website)
- Send out notification letters to workshop registrants/applicants with instructions on what they need to do to prepare (travel arrangements, hotel reservations, etc.) and point them to workshop website – bear in mind that participants attending from outside the US may need time to acquire a visa (and may require letter of invitation, which OCB office can provide)
- Set up email list of confirmed participants – Add all participants, organizers and OCB staff to a workshop listserv, send a welcome message with links to the webpage, share a draft agenda, Twitter #hashtag, and any deadlines (poster submission) and dates of expected information release (poster presentation assignments, full agenda, etc.)
- Send out any travel stipend notifications (early career, participants from developing countries and/or underrepresented groups)
1 MONTH BEFORE WORKSHOP
- Finalize catering arrangements (provide final agenda to caterers)
- Verify reservations of key workshop services (caterers, A/V support, ground transportation to/from meeting site, etc.)
- Verify that all travelers you are supporting have arranged their travel
- Set up a communal drive (Google, OneDrive) to collect presentations and share this with your speakers, along with deadlines for submitting presentations and any details they should know about the projector, venue, etc.
- Don’t forget to communicate with your workshop attendees to reiterate deadlines for hotel blocks, poster PDFs, per-workshop tasks, or travel/local information.
- Set up a ride sharing spreadsheet for your participants to coordinate rides to/from airport (be sure to also include bus/mass transit information on logistics page b/c OCB does not cover the cost of rental cars)
1-2 WEEKS BEFORE WORKSHOP
- Work with OCB Project Office to print name tags and arrange lanyards, name tag inserts, and any other meeting supplies you need (these supplies may need to be shipped, so plan accordingly)
- Order signage to direct participants to parking and around meeting site if necessary
- Acquire parking permits for participants
- Plan room set-up, visit the room the week before and meet with the A/V people to confirm the set up, what is needed for A/V support (people, microphones, laptops, etc.)
- Print any necessary signs for meeting area (including wifi password, where is bathroom, where to fill water)
- Verify tables/chairs for check-in and meeting areas, poster display boards, and rooms/supplies/setup for breakout sessions
- Request all speakers upload talks the night before to load on laptop (don’t run them from google drive, download all slide decks to meeting laptop)
- Send final agenda to caterer with a final count and any special requests (e.g., vegetarians, vegans, food allergies, etc.), confirm menu or emphasis on mostly vegetarian with meat as sides for example. Make sure the vegans have more than fruit or salad to eat for each meal.
- Print out large format copies of the agenda to post on a wall, along with a copy of breakout assignments or other info people need to find easily during the workshop.
- Determine for each session who is moderating, introducing speakers, running mics for audience questions, and keeping the agenda *on time*
1-2 DAYS BEFORE WORKSHOP
- Visit the venue and make sure meeting area is set up with chairs/tables/poster boards/easels and catering tables
- Set up registration table for laying out workshop materials (folders, nametags, swag, etc.)
- Set up poster session with assigned spaces and necessary poster hanging materials (Velcro, long push pins, tape) and signage
- Pick up presentation laptop and load talks that were sent ahead (and monitor throughout meeting – e.g., take it home at night). Also gather extension cords, power strips, laser (or stick) pointers, extra batteries for laser pointer, and microphones
- Pick up necessary room keys
- Make a list of breakout rooms for planning purposes, and be sure you know the locations
- Bring nametags, paper, pens, bell, and anything else needed for workshop welcome/registration table to workshop site
- Post all necessary signs in/around meeting area
DURING THE WORKSHOP
- Come early to set up registration area (put out name tags, pens/paper if providing, bell or something to make noise to bring people back into meeting room)
- Work with catering staff to make sure they have what they need – alert them if the agenda runs more than 10 mins over any point so they can adjust if needed
- Work with A/V person to check wifi function, set up laptop, get microphone working, get live stream (if applicable) working, etc.
- Check in with other workshop leaders/planners – if you have the person-power, it is wise to assign a point person to answer participants’ logistical questions (travel, hotel, local points of interest, etc.) and perhaps an additional point person to be a ‘runner’ who can acquire forgotten items and attend to last-minute requests; also good to have a person focused on remote participants if applicable – i.e. relaying remote participant Qs, helping with connection issues and/or quality, etc.
- Set a time to take a group photo, also a few action/speaker/breakout photos (smartphone quality is fine) during the workshop
AFTER THE WORKSHOP
- Create and share a post-workshop survey (OCB can help!) to share on the last day of the workshop or as soon as possible after it ends.
- Share any recordings with OCB Project Office for editing (if the venue A/V services have not done so) so they can be widely shared via the OCB YouTube Channel and workshop website.
- Write a 1-2 paragraph summary of the workshop and send this to OCB Project Office along with a group or other photo from the event for the OCB eNewsletter
- Set a meeting with workshop organizers and Project Office Staff to begin outlining the report / products that have been developed during the workshop. Set writing assignments and a timeline for this product. OCB Project Office staff will help you to refine/edit, format, and design the final document(s), and assist with obtaining a DOI, and distributing the product. Think about what is the ideal release time (related events or conference sessions) and allow 4-6 weeks for final edits and design.
- Take care of all billing after meeting (work with OCB office to pay vendors)
- Assemble final budget
- Make sure all talks have been posted on website
- Begin to assemble workshop report (see style guide). Once the report is complete submit to the Project Office for review, and document design, staff will obtain a doi and distribute the final report to the community.