Organizer Guidelines (PDF Version)

Here are some guidelines that will help you plan who to invite and how to schedule your MBI workshop.

  1. Number of invited participants: The number of workshop invitees is approximately 35.  This number includes speakers and non-speaking participants. 
  2. Timing of invitations: MBI plans to send invitations to speakers and participants about one year before the workshop.
  3. Diversity is very important to both NSF and MBI. Please keep in mind gender, ethnic, geographic, institutional and scientific diversity for invitees. 
    1. The MBI Board of Trustees requires the Director to track diversity in MBI workshops and asks that at least 20% of invited speakers and 20% of invited participants be women and that at least 20% of invited speakers and 20% of invited participants be men.
    2. The Division of Mathematical Sciences at NSF funds MBI.  A primary goal of MBI is to bring together researchers from the math sciences and the biosciences; indeed, most successful MBI meetings have substantial numbers of mathematicians and of life scientists.  To achieve this goal, we count as a mathematician anyone with an appointment in a math sciences department or anyone with a PhD in one of the mathematical sciences.   
  4. Number of talks. Our feedback indicates that fewer talks and longer breaks lead to more interaction and happier participants. Schedules for previous workshops can be found on the MBI website
  5. Length of talks. Typically, workshops have three or four one-hour talks a day, although some workshops have a larger number of shorter talks.
  6. Workshop schedule. Lectures normally begin at 9:00am. A continental breakfast provided each day at 8:30am and the program day ends by 4:30pm or 5:00pm.
  7. Workshop entertainment: Add the following events to your schedule (days are flexible; this is based on a M-F workshop):
    • Monday 5:00pm – 7:00pm: Reception with poster session
    • Thursday 6:00pm – 9:00pm: Workshop Dinner
  8. Poster session. Most workshops offer non-speaking participants the option of a poster presentation at the reception.
  9. Student participants: MBI accepts applications from researchers and students. Partial support is given if funds are available. MBI encourages student participants to display posters, whether or not there is a formal poster session.
  10. Panel sessions and Forward-looking session: Some workshop organizers schedule panel discussions with pre-assigned panelists.  Also, NSF would like workshops to include a session that discusses new developments in the mathematical / statistical / computational sciences that are needed to solve important biological problems.
  11. MBI introduction. At the start of the first day of the workshop please provide for a 10-minute introduction by the MBI Director (starting at 8:50a.m. if that helps).
  12. Tutorials. MBI encourages tutorial lectures before or at the beginning of each workshop. There are many ways this can be carried out.  Look on the web.
  13. Speakers posted on website: MBI posts a list of confirmed speakers and participants on the MBI website as that information becomes available.  We aim to have participants confirmed at least three months in advance since late scheduling often causes travel changes and MBI suffers the fiscal burden.
  14. Schedule posted on website: Please complete your schedule at least three months in advance and email it to April Shelton at She will post it on the MBI website.
  15. Please communicate any late additions or cancellations (both speakers and participants) to Rebecca Martin and Matt Thompson.  This will help the staff avoid surprises and prepare for catering and hotel space.
  16. Hotel policy: Hotel costs for organizers and invited participants will be billed directly to MBI.
  17. Travel reimbursement policy: MBI will provide up to $600 toward domestic travel and up to $1,200 toward international travel for speakers and invited participants. MBI does not provide a per diem or reimburse any meal receipts.  All international travel must be on US Carriers.  MBI will reimburse all reasonable travel expenses for workshop organizers.   
  18. Video recording: Each presentation is video recorded and is broadcast on the web by live video streaming. If permission is given by the speaker, the presentation will also be placed on the MBI website.
  19. After-hours assistance: If you require the assistance of MBI staff after 5:00pm for a special event, please notify us in advance to allow for proper scheduling. MBI offices usually close at 5:00pm each day and the MBI area is locked at that time.
  20. Research stays at MBI: We ask organizers to identify people who would be possible long-term visitors to MBI during the theme year.  We also ask organizers to identify participants who might like to stay at MBI for an extra week to discuss issues that arise in the workshop.  


MBI Staff and their Roles

Feel free to contact them!

Rebecca Martin
Key Workshop Duties: Sends invitations to speakers and participants based on input received from the organizers and the Director

Kyle Johnson
Key Workshop Duties: Provides front desk support, administers travel reimbursement, makes participant packets and materials

Matt Thompson
Key Workshop Duties: Sends emails, processes registration, administers travel reimbursement

Adam Parsons
Key Workshop Duties: Provides IT support for speakers and presentations, prints posters

Alex Kasler
Key Workshop Duties: Makes changes to MBI website, provides support for online application

Will Gehring
Key Workshop Duties: Creates promotional materials, takes photos and video


Organizer Guidelines

Sample Schedule