Participation in Virtual Meetings Organized by Foreign Entities

  1. What is this new DOE requirement on attending virtual conferences?
  2. Does the guidance apply to Princeton University students / collaborators / subcontractors that may attend the virtual conferences while representing PPPL?
  3. What type of events require DOE approval before I can agree to participate?
  4. Are there any events that are exempt from this guidance?
  5. There is no registration fee for the event I want to attend, can I register first before submitting my request to DOE?
  6. How do I submit my request?
  7. When should I submit my request?
  8. What information is required to be submitted?
  9. How would I know if the DOE has approved my request?
  10. The Travel Office has notified me of DOE approval on my participation request, what do I do next?

 

What is this new DOE requirement on attending virtual conferences?

New guidance has been issued requiring approval for any attendance/participation at virtual meetings and/or conferences organized by foreign entities.

With travel likely to be restricted through much of FY 2021, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science (SC) recognizes that there is an increasing number of opportunities for researchers to participate in virtual scientific conferences, workshops, seminars, and similar activities. Some of these events are organized by individuals or institutions in foreign countries.

DOE-SC approval must be obtained before any invitations to participate are accepted or registration is completed. 

The SC program office will apply the same assessments that would be used for official foreign travel requests – typically participation in these types of virtual meetings will be limited to individuals with invited presentations. However, for virtual formats, the SC program office may approve additional participation for other laboratory staff without invited talks for personal development and strategic reasons. Requests for participation in meetings sponsored/organized by institutions in sensitive countries will receive extra scrutiny and will require more time for a decision.


 

Does the guidance apply to Princeton University students / collaborators / subcontractors that may attend the virtual conferences while representing PPPL?

This guidance applies to all individuals funded by SC program dollars that are working under a PPPL project and/or are representing PPPL at a conference.


 

What type of events require DOE approval before I can agree to participate?

This specific guidance pertains to any foreign entity sponsored/hosted conferences/seminars that individuals are invited to attend or speak at or for individuals who want to attend.  This includes any events that are held 100% virtually, or hybrid events that you wish to attend virtually.


 

Are there any events that are exempt from this guidance?

  • DOE-SC Approval is not needed for participation in domestic sponsored/organized meetings.
  • Normal, programmatic meetings that are part of official collaborations under formal DOE HQ or other U.S. government international agreements are excluded from the approval requirement.

 

There is no registration fee for the event I want to attend, can I register first before submitting my request to DOE?

No, DOE-SC approval is required before commitment to participate is made.


 

How do I submit my request?

Please complete and submit the Virtual Conference form to the Travel Office, and the Travel Office will submit the request to DOE-SC for approval.



 

When should I submit my request?

You should submit the Virtual Conference form to the Travel Office a minimum of 30 days in advance of invitation acceptance or registration due dates.  This will provide sufficient time for the PPPL Travel Office to compile the documentation, notify internal management, and send it to DOE-SC for approval, as required. 



 

What information is required to be submitted?

  • Name, dates, and webpage of the meeting
  • Organization/country sponsoring/organizing the meeting
  • Nature of participation (e.g. invited talk, contributed talk, attendee)
  • Justification: Brief statement of the benefit of attendance to the staff member, the laboratory, and SC

 

How would I know if the DOE has approved my request?

Once DOE-SC approval is received, the Travel Office will notify you via email with a copy to your Department Head.


 

The Travel Office has notified me of DOE approval on my participation request, what do I do next?

If the event does not have any registration fee, you can go ahead and register on the event website, or formally accept the invitation to participate. 

If the event has a registration fee, you should reach out to your departmental admin for registration assistance.  Registration for virtual conferences / workshops should be paid for by the department's PCard.