Conference 2017

URMA 2017

Brown University
Providence, Rhode Island

Registration is now closed. If you have a conference-related question, contact  Brown’s URMA host Noel Rubinton at


Providence has been hailed for its cultural and educational renaissance in recent years, while retaining the historic character that includes extraordinary architecture. Bring your appetite — Providence is rated one of the best foodie cities in America. And it is just a half hour from ocean beaches, seaside Newport, and more.

Come learn from expert researchers and fellow communicators. Confirmed speakers include:

-David Corcoran, long-time Science Times editor at the New York Times and now Associate Director of the Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT and senior editor of its new, unconventional Undark online science magazine

-Meera Subramanian, science writer/journalist, author of A River Runs Again: India’s Natural World in Crisis; writer for The New Yorker and other magazines; and current Knight Science Fellow at MIT

-Kenneth Miller, Brown University biologist and a leading science advocate. Miller is author of two books, one on how faith can coexist with science, and another on the battle between evolution and intelligent design

Conference topics include data visualization, the role of political activism in the research world today (including where research communicators fit in), and social media. The conference will continue its popular “Fire Hose” series of short talks from URMA members, and introduce a new feature, “Nuts and Bolts,” a freewheeling session aimed at sharing and solving some of the thorniest challenges that plague many research communicators.

Our opening reception on Wednesday, August 2 will be at the Institute for Computational and Experimental Research in Mathematics, one of only eight mathematical institutes supported by the National Science Foundation. ICERM’s offices offer spectacular views of the Rhode Island area, as well as a powerful look into the future of mathematics and science.

On Thursday, August 3, we’ll gather at the historic deco-style Avon Theater for the first ever URMA Research Film Festival. To have your video considered for the festival, members should send a link to your short (1- to 10-minute) film to Noel Rubinton at Brown University (noel_rubinton at brown dot edu).

Optional activities will include a visit the historic Ladd Observatory, a meticulously preserved Victorian-era observatory; a gathering of URMA’s book club to discuss the acclaimed “When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalanithi; and a trip to Providence’s top karaoke lounge.

See our full conference program.

Hotel information

Hampton Inn


A block of rooms has been reserved for URMA members at the Hampton Inn & Suites Providence Downtown. This comfortable hotel is just a few minutes walk from all conference activities. A limited number of rooms are available at a discounted rate (including a full daily breakfast).

Click here to book your room.


Travel Arrangements

By Air

Providence is served by T.F. Green Airport, which is 10 miles from Providence. The major airlines serving it are Southwest, American, Delta, and United, along with several others.

Conference participants staying at the Hampton Inn can contact the hotel to reserve round-trip shuttle transportation for the airport for $10, which is well below rates for taxis or Lyft/Uber. A car will not be needed during the conference.

By Train or Bus

Amtrak stops in downtown Providence, only a few minutes walk from the Hampton Inn and other conference sites. A wide range of long distance bus lines, including Greyhound, Peter Pan, Megabus, and Go Buses, also stop in downtown Providence.

Providence is located approximately:

180 miles northeast of New York City

100 miles northeast of New Haven

50 miles southwest of Boston

Have questions?

Contact Brown’s URMA host Noel Rubinton at