URMA 2019 will be held at the University of Houston from July 23-26.

Our annual conference offers a mix of hands-on exploration, provocative presentation, interactive discussion and camaraderie. Participants will find insights, discover resources and leave with renewed creative energy. 

Conference Registration:

Three-Day Conference, July 24-26: $275

  • The 3-day conference includes sessions on the public perception of science, pitching to the media, preparing for the big announcement (internal/external communications), storytelling, podcasting and engaging faculty in science outreach.
  • Keeping with tradition, the conference will also include Nuts & Bolts and Firehose sessions as well as the extremely popular annual URMA film festival!
  • For the first time ever, the conference will organize a speed networking event so that you have the opportunity to speak to your peers about issues you face day-to-day in your job.

Four-Day Conference, July 23-26, including NASA trip: $300

  • The 4-day option includes an excursion aimed at visiting an institution charged with making research exciting for the public. This option also provides extra time to get to know and learn from your URMA colleagues.
  • Our pre-conference trip is tentatively scheduled to NASA Johnson Space Center during the historic 50th anniversary of the lunar landing. While an exciting time to be at NASA, it will be a very busy time for the public relations and events teams there. They are working with us on a tentative plan for a visit. If plans fall through, we will organized a pre-conference trip to one or more of the other fabulous institutions in the Houston area.

Conference Program


Andrew Cassel, social media content strategist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, will explain how to work with faculty to better tell the story of your institution.

John Lienhard, Ph.D., author and voice of NPR’s Engines of Our Ingenuity, will address the role of storytelling in our communications.

Adam Ruben, Ph.D., science comedian and molecular biologist at John’s Hopkins University, will discuss the public perception of science and lessons learned from taking a humorous approach to science.

Alex Stuckey, NASA, science and environment reporter for the Houston Chronicle, will cover strategies for pitching to the media and finding placement for your stories.

Travel Information


Our host hotel is the Hilton Americas in downtown Houston. URMA attendees can book a room in our block for $149 per night. You can register online or call 1-800-236-2905 and use the group code 1UR to receive the conference rate.

Travel by Air

Houston is served by Bush Intercontinental Airport (20 miles north of downtown Houston) and William Hobby Airport (10 miles south of downtown Houston). All major and many alternative airlines fly in and out of Houston.

Upon arriving to Houston, you can take a taxi, Uber/Lyft or catch a SuperShuttle to the hotel. The SuperShuttle from the airport is a ride-share shuttle service.

It is cheaper than a taxi or Uber service, but will have multiple stops, taking longer to arrive. Approximate taxi fares from Bush International Airport to downtown Houston is $45. From Hobby Airport, rates are around $22.

Travel by Bus or Car

There is a Greyhound Bus Terminal in downtown Houston. Greenlink Buses offer free transportation in downtown Houston.

Getting Around Town

Greenlink Buses offer free transportation in downtown Houston.

A shuttle will transport conference attendees between the hotel and the University of Houston.


Contact Lindsay Lewis for information about parking on the UH campus.

Want to learn more about previous conferences? View previous conference program archives.