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International Meetings, Conferences, and Symposia

Purpose

International technical and professional meetings, conferences, and symposia provides opportunities for NRCS employees to share technology with colleagues from other countries, and to broaden and increase technical knowledge and professional capability. Conservation of natural resources is a global challenge and NRCS is being called upon with increasing frequency to communicate across national borders.

Program Administration

The International Programs Division (IPD) of NRCS manages the above listed activities.

Nomination Procedures

Nominations are both solicited and unsolicited by IPD. Routinely, individuals are nominated by their supervisors to present a paper, to moderate a session, or to perform a similar role. The employee must submit an International Travel Request Form (ITRF), available from IPD, either electronically or by fax. The ITRF ensures that all necessary information is provided. Each nomination must include:

  • Personal information: name, title, location, telephone numbers, etc.
  • Specific details of meeting: dates, location, topics or issues in program, nominee's participation. Please note if policy issues are to be discussed.
  • Benefits to NRCS: assessment of nominee's effectiveness in carrying out assignments and transferring technology on return.
  • Estimated cost: transportation, lodging, per diem, miscellaneous fees.
  • Funding sources: propose cost sharing, if possible.

Selection Criteria

Nominations (submitted through channels) are selected according to the following criteria:

  • Topic or subject matter must support NRCS mission.
  • Technology will enhance knowledge and skills.
  • Role in planning and implementing meeting.
  • Policy issues on agenda, in addition to technical sessions.
  • Underrepresented geographic area or discipline.
  • Role at meeting--submitting paper or poster.
  • Other factors--affirmative action, cost, number of previous trips, other NRCS staff attending.

Each individual signing the ITRF should be cognizant of the above criteria. It is critical that the proposal has relevance to NRCS program priorities. These may change from time to time, so good judgment must be exercised. The participants must have an active role in the meeting, not just attending to observe. For teams, appropriate diversity must be promoted and maintained. And, of course, sufficient funds must be available.

Responsibilities

Employee:

  • Request an ITRF and other necessary forms from IPD.
  • Complete the ITRF and secure necessary approval of his/her immediate supervisor and second level supervisor.
  • Initiate travel through govtrip.com and send a copy of the itinerary to IPD.
  • Establish and maintain contact with the meeting sponsor.
  • Make all hotel reservations and other travel logistics to support attendance.

IPD:

  • Acknowledge receipt of each nomination and follow-up as needed to request missing information (see "Nominations").
  • Review the nomination against selection criteria.
  • Complete the approval process and advise the participant of the result.
  • Assist with passports, visas, country clearance, travel authorizations and vouchers.
  • Advise the employee of the need for ethics clearance if proposed funded is from a non-Federal source.

Funding

In some instances, partial funding comes from a non-Federal source. In these instances, clearance must be secured from the Department’s ethics officials prior to acceptance of such support. This is the responsibility of the employee.