Conference Tips

Tips for Making the Most of this Seminar

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Take advantage of these networking and learning opportunities:

Attend a Pre-Seminar Workshop

A variety of optional pre-seminar workshops will be held on Monday, April 20. These workshops are not included in your registration for the 2-day seminar.  To attend the pre-seminar workshops, you should register online here. We highly recommending registering for the pre-optional workshops in advance as they do sell out well in advance of the seminar.

Visit the Exhibitor Area

Take some time to stop by our exhibit area and meet our vendors, partners, NIH exhibitors, and local university Ambassadors. The exhibits open on Tuesday, April 21 at 8:00 am and will remain open until 3:00 pm on Wednesday, April 22.

Schedule a Time to Meet an Expert 1:1

About 2 weeks prior to the seminar, you’ll receive details for registering in advance to talk privately with NIH & HHS experts from Program, Policy, Review and Grants Management. These 20 minutes chats are a great way to get more specific questions answered by our experts.

Share & Learn Using Hashtag #NIHsem

Post on social media about your NIH Regional Seminar experience  and share useful guidance from the sessions using the hashtag #NIHsem. Please also follow the NIH Office of Extramural Research on Twitter and LinkedIn before, during and after the seminar to learn more about NIH grants and connect with other members and seminar attendees.


We suggest you dress in layers. The attire for the NIH Regional Seminars is business casual. We suggest bringing a jacket or sweater since some of the meeting rooms may be cold.


We recommend having snacks and a refillable water bottle on hand. Pick-up nuts, fruit, a protein bar, or dark chocolate ahead of time so you have them when you’re hungry. Participants should expect to purchase food on their own as the registration cost for the NIH Regional Seminars does not include meals. There are numerous restaurants across the street and in the Inner Harbor area to choose from, as well as a dining option on the same floor as the sessions.

General Conference Tips:

Arrive with plenty of time on the first day to pick up your program book and badge. You can occasionally expect a line at registration, even for those who have registered for the seminar in advance. Name badges can be picked-up at the registration desk. Your conference badge should be worn around your neck at all seminar events. You should also orient yourself to the hotel and study the floor plans in the program book or on our digital app.

Figure out which sessions you’d like to attend and who you’d like to meet. Review the full schedule to plan your time during the seminar.

Partner with friends or colleagues to cover sessions happening at the same time. While we do have sessions that repeat, it’s not possible to do everything. Decide in advance who will attend each session and take notes for each other.

Bring an ample supply of business cards. You never know when you’ll have the chance to exchange information with a new industry colleague or to set-up a post-conference opportunity.

Ask questions. Presenters usually reserve time at the end of the session for audience questions. Don’t forget to state your name and your institutional affiliation so other attendees can remember you.

Introduce yourself to the person sitting next to you. A big part of attending events is networking!  Before the session begins is a great time to introduce yourself and make a connection. All workshops and sessions have open seating.

Follow-up with your new contacts. Send an e-mail to those you’ve networked with to follow-up on a question or discussion – or just to say “It was a pleasure meeting you.” Connect with your new contacts on social media and extend your professional network.

Complete the session and post-seminar evaluation surveys. We value your input and consider all feedback when planning for future seminars.