Research Days 2021 will be a multi-day, multi-platform virtual experience held March 23-25, 2021. Participant registration is open through January 29, 2021.

Iowa State Research Days 2021 Registration Now Open

By Dan Kirkpatrick, Iowa State University Office of the Vice President for Research

After a one-year pandemic-related hiatus, Iowa State University’s annual Research Day event will return in spring 2021 as Research Days, a multi-day, multi-platform virtual program.

Back for its fourth year, the event — hosted by the Office of the Vice President for Research — will once again invite university researchers and scholars to collaborate across disciplines and celebrate institution discoveries, but in a new, innovative online format. After informally kicking off with a virtual presentation from science comedian Brian Malow on Oct. 30, Research Days 2021 will take place March 23-25, 2021.

Registration for presenting in this year’s program is now available and will remain open until Jan. 29, 2021, or until all event participant time slots – in Lightning Talks, for instance – are filled.

“The necessary cancellation of last year’s Research Day was just one of the many sad realities of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Interim Vice President for Research Guru Rao. “Collaboration is the lifeblood of a thriving research community. Our Research Days Planning Committee has developed a great program that will again provide our research faculty and staff with the opportunity to network virtually, learn from each other, and exchange ideas that can lead to bold solutions for the challenges facing our society.”

New for Research Days 2021 is an iPoster virtual poster session. The iPoster platform allows presenters to go beyond static text and images to create dynamic online posters that can incorporate audio and video files, as well as interactive communications tools. Sample multimedia iPoster presentations can be found here. Individuals interested in presenting a virtual poster during Research Days 2021 can also visit an actual poster session gallery that the National Institute of Antimicrobial Resistance Research and Education (NIAMRRE) created and hosted earlier this year for the Midwest Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Consortium. Presenters may submit up to two iPoster presentations for this year’s event.

Lightning Talks will return to Research Days 2021 in the form of four-minute-long, pre-recorded presentations designed to explain research projects rapidly. This year’s virtual format enables presenters to incorporate slides, images, and even video, as long as the content does not exceed the four-minute limit. Lightning Talk speaking slots are limited in number and will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis. Individuals who register to deliver a Lightning Talk will need to provide a final title, a head shot, and the final recorded presentation no later than March 5, 2021. Representatives from the Research Days Planning Committee will reach out at a later date with details on how to prepare presentations.

Networking has traditionally been one of the most crucial and valuable aspects of past Research Day events. While it has historically occurred spontaneously, Research Days 2021 will debut a structured virtual networking session built around Iowa State’s Grand Challenge themes. Over the lunch hour of each of the three Research Days, the online networking event – moderated by a faculty peer – will give attendees an opportunity to explore potential collaborations in the Grand Challenge themes, as well as two additional topic areas:

  • Promoting healthy lives;
  • Building sustainable human and natural ecosystems;
  • Designing next-generation materials and manufacturing technologies;
  • Enabling data-driven discovery and secure cyber systems;
  • Developing global citizens and vibrant societies;
  • Entrepreneurship and Innovation; and
  • Discover. Create. Together.

Research Days 2021 will also include virtual versions of the event’s familiar favorites, the Resource Fair and Story Collider talks. Participants can learn more about research resources available to university faculty and students through the Resource Fair. This year’s Story Collider talks – modeled after the popular Story Collider podcast series – will provide the opportunity to experience the real-world impact of research and scholarship through pre-recorded stories shared by Iowa State research peers and colleagues.

Registration for non-participating attendees and additional information about Research Days 2021 will be shared early in the spring semester.

“Since they were first introduced five years ago, our Research Day events have truly come to represent who we are as a research institution,” Rao said. “It’s innovation and it’s collaboration. Whether it’s in-person or through virtual platforms, it’s critical to remove ourselves from our disciplinary silos and come together so that we can learn from each other and explore new opportunities to better ourselves as a research community, while also strengthening our position as one of the nation’s leading land-grant institutions.”