Guidelines for Hosting a Conference or Workshop at MCS

These are general guidelines and resources to help you as you plan your MCS conference or workshop.

Conference and Events Services

Conference and Event Services at CMU are a fantastic resource for helping with a meeting. They can help with all levels of the conference from identifying space, managing coffee and catered events, processing registration, coordinating housing and manning on-site registration. They will charge you about 10%-15% of what your conference cost, but in terms of smooth running, you will have a lot fewer headaches during the event. You can contact them through their website .

Conference Services typically will not do your conference website. They also cannot provide computers for rooms, but will provide projectors.

Quantify your Space Needs

At CMU, getting the needed space may be the most difficult part of hosting an event, especially if it occurs during the academic year. Start this as early as possible. A good starting point is to lay out a block agenda of each day of your conference. For example: MENU 2019 Block Agenda [Word Doc]

  • How may participants do you expect?
  • Do you plan to have parallel Sessions? If so, how many, and what do you expect the typical number of people to be in each.
  • Will you have Poster Sessions?
  • Will you have social events?
  • Will you have a conference dinner?
  • You may need space to host your coffee breaks. Setting these up in hallways is generally frowned upon.

Reserve Your Space

Reserve your space as early as you can. Conference Services can do this for you, especially if it is space in the CUC, Tepper or other such buildings. If you are doing space within a department, you will likely want to work with one of the departmental staff on this. Be sure that your space can support the equipment that you will need.

Conference Publicity

Once you have your dates and space confirmed, you want a placeholder website that provides basic details about the event and provides contact information. For the contact information, you may want a burner email account that contains the conference name and forwards to your email. The MCS Associate Dean for Research’s Office can help with this.

Your field may also have services that track workshops and conferences. Getting your event listed on those will minimize the chance that someone else will plan a conference at the same time as yours. Generally, you need the website and a working email. The Associate Dean for Research’s Office can help facilitate your conference website.

Cost Out Your Event

You need to know what your event is going to cost. This will let you have the appropriate registration fee and set goals for sponsored support. Typical costs include equipment charges, coffee, social events and conference Swag. There may also be costs associated with advertising including posters and mailings. You may also want to provide some travel support for participants. The easiest is to waive the conference fee, followed by paying local housing as both of these can be done directly. Paying travel expenses may involve reimbursements, which add a layer of complication. Conference Services can give you accurate cost per participant for many of the conference expenses.

This is also a good time to involve your business manager. They can set up accounts and provide support in minimizing unnecessary overhead on the conference funds. It is important to know if and what you are going to be charged on any conference funds that come in so you can budget appropriately.

Reach Out For Event Sponsorship

In addition to your conference fee, there are other ways to get support for your workshop. Depending on the conference, DOE, NSF and NIH may be able to support things. The best place to find out about this is by talking to your program manager. You may also find National Labs are receptive to providing funding. There may also be corporate sponsorship that you can obtain for your event. The Associate Dean for Research’s Office can provide support on how these work and can help to facilitate your reaching out for sponsorship.

For more information or if you have questions, please contact Curtis Meyer, Associate Dean for Research.