FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

I. Registration

Q. How do I register to attend the conference and what is the registration deadline?

A: The Conference Registration Form will be available at the OMS: https://oms.vef.gov/   until 02/01/2016. Please register by this date if you wish to attend the conference.

Q. If I cannot attend the conference, what should I do?

A: If you cannot attend the conference, please go to the OMS https://oms.vef.gov/ and click on the tab “2016 VEF Conference Registration Form” to let VEF  that you are not able to attend the Conference. Please take care of this right away, or by the latest 02/01/2016.

Q. If I miss the registration deadline, will I still be able to attend the Conference?

A. You will need to email VEFConference@vef.gov to ask whether it is too late. We will respond on a case by case basis based on the availability of hotel rooms and other facilities.

Q. May I register my spouse or child(ren) to attend the Conference?

A. You may register your spouse or another traveling companion to attend the conference on the registration portal on the OMS. The cost for registering a traveling companion 12 years or older is $250.00, which covers the cost of all meals and conference materials. Please do not bring children under 12 to any of the sessions. All children are welcome at the meals if you are willing to pay the cost as described below under “Accommodations and Meals.”

Q. May I register to attend part of the Conference (for example, arrive on March 16 and depart on March 17)?

A. No, you must attend the full Conference and be present at all sessions of the Conference as required by VEF. If you attend only a few sessions at the Conference, VEF will not cover your travel and lodging expenses. Any exceptional circumstances will need to be approved by VEF at the time of registration.

II. Travel and Transportation

Q. Will VEF pay travel expenses for me to attend the conference?

A. VEF will pay for the most economical means of airline travel on U.S. flag carriers following the most direct route from your present residential location, also known as your Home of Record, to Washington, D.C., and return. VEF is subject to U.S. Federal Travel Regulations. The most economical means of travel will be determined by VEF in consultation with the VEF designated travel agent, and will include air, train, and shuttle.

Q.Will VEF reimburse for a rental car if I drive my own car to the Conference?

A. VEF will not provide any funding for the use of a rental car for transportation to and from the Conference. However, Fellows and Scholars may travel in their personal car if such request is approved by VEF. Through the OMS, you may ask for approval to drive your car to the Conference under Deviations. Decisions to approve driving your personal car will be made on a case-by-case basis, based on financial considerations. Reimbursement is made only to the car owner, if other Fellows and Scholars travel with him or her. VEF will not reimburse for gasoline. Reimbursement cannot be more than the cost of the most economical airline ticket to and from the Home of Record.

Q. May I book the air ticket on my own and get the reimbursement from VEF later?

A. No, you cannot. All air travel must be arranged by VEF through a designated travel agent. If you buy the tickets on your own, you will be responsible for the fee.

Q. May I ask for travel deviations?

A. Travel Deviations from the schedule must be approved in advance. The registration form will ask all Fellows and Scholars, who wish to request a deviation, to provide detailed information. Deviations include early arrival to or late departure from Washington, D.C.; arriving from or departing to a location that is not the Home of Record; driving a personal car; and registering a spouse or other traveling companion. The request will be approved or denied, based on cost and professional needs. VEF will inform you of the decision on your deviation request.

Q. Will VEF pay for ground transportation to and from my Home of Record and to and from the airport in Washington?

A. No, VEF will not pay for travel to and from airports; however, you may be reimbursed for these costs through your Personal Development Grant (PDG). Arrangements for reimbursement through the PDG must be arranged through your university.

Q. What if I cancel my registration or change my itinerary after the air ticket is issued?

A. The cheapest available airline tickets (whether refundable or not) will be issued to Fellows and Scholars based on the information provided in the registration document. An airline ticket will be issued that meets your requirements if at all possible, but you must respond immediately if the proposed travel will not work for you. The travel agent will contact you if you have requested a deviation or would like the agency to issue airline tickets for your traveling companions, so that you are aware of any extra costs you will need to pay with your personal credit card. If you cancel your registration or change your travel plans, you will be responsible for reimbursing the cost of the ticket to VEF.

III. Accommodations and Meals

Q. Will VEF cover lodging for me to attend the Conference?

A. VEF will pay for your hotel room at the Hilton Arlington during the nights of March 16, 17, and 18, 2016. Conference participants who wish to arrive earlier or stay later than these dates will be responsible for the extra room charges and must get approval for this deviation in advance, to ensure that a room will be available. VEF will arrange double occupancy rooms for Fellows and single rooms for Visiting Scholars and U.S. Faculty Scholars.

Q. May I choose my roommate?

A. Yes, you may choose a specific Fellow as a roommate by providing the proposed roommate’s full name and U.S. institution name on the VEF online Conference registration form at the OMS. Importantly, the person you choose must also choose you as a roommate on his or her Conference registration form at the OMS and both Fellows must agree to be roommates. Visiting Scholars and U.S. Faculty Scholars do not need to pay extra if they invite a spouse or traveling companion to accompany them.

Q. How do I pay the lodging fee for my traveling companions who are not VEF Fellows or Scholars if they share a room with me?

A.  Please register your traveling companions in the Conference registration form and indicate that they will share room with you. The hotel’s discounted room rate is $226 + tax per night for double occupancy, breakfast included. Up to 2 people may stay in one double-occupancy room, but the third and fourth room occupants, who are 12 years or older, will need to pay $20.00 each, which covers breakfast. You will be responsible for paying the 50% of the standard room charge and any additional charges made to your room when you check out of the hotel.

Q. I would like to bring my traveling companions to the Conference Closing Dinner on March 18, 2016. How much will this cost and how do I pay?

A. You will be able to register traveling companions for the dinner on March 18 through the OMS Conference Registration Portal. The cost of the dinner will be added to your room charge and a voucher for the dinner will be provided when you check into the hotel. The cost for adults and children aged 12 or more is $53.68 ($40.00 + 22% service charge and 10% tax per person). For children 2 to 11 you must pay $28.18 ($21.00 + 22% service charge + 10% tax per person). Children under 2 will not be charged for the dinner. You will need to bring food for them or order something from the menu, which will be charged to your room.

Q. May my spouse or children participate in the lunches on March 17 and 18, or the dinner on March 17?

A. Yes. The cost for the dinner on March 17 is the same as the cost for the final dinner (see above). The cost for lunches for adults and children aged 12 or more is $38.92 ($29.00 + 22% service charge and 10% tax per person). For children 2 to 11 you must pay $20.13 ($15.00 + 22% service charge + 10% tax per person. Children under 2 will not be charged for the lunch. You will need to bring food or order something else for them from the menu, which will be charged to your room.

Q. May my spouse and children attend the VIP Reception on the evening of March 16?

A. No. There will not be enough space to accommodate extra guests at the opening reception. Only registered conference participants may attend the reception.

IV. Poster Session

Q. How do I register to present a poster?

A. The registration form includes a button that asks whether or not you will submit a poster. If you did not click that button before or have decided that you would like to present a poster, click on the link from the conference web site or from the registration portal to access the Poster Session Announcement and the form required to submit an abstract for a poster. The Poster Session page will describe the maximum poster dimensions and the review criteria and will specify the format for submitting a poster abstract.

Q. Will VEF reimburse the cost of printing the poster?

A. VEF is unable to reimburse this cost. You could claim this cost through your Professional Development Grant (PDF) at your university. Arrangements for reimbursement through the PDG must be arranged through your university.

Q. May I present a poster that I have previously presented?

A. Yes.

Q. What is the purpose of displaying a poster at the VIP Reception if the posters will not be judged?

A. VEF would like to show off the accomplishments of Fellows to the VIPs. You still may be asked questions about the posters, but these will not necessarily be the kind of questions you would be asked by scientists.

Q. I understand that you request permission to publish my abstract in the program book and to post it on the conference web site. What if I don’t want to have my abstract published or posted yet?

A. The form for submitting an abstract will provide boxes you can check to request that your abstract not be published or posted.

V. Reimbursement

Q. What will VEF reimburse after I attend the Conference?

A. VEF will pay for airfare, hotel, and all meals at the conference. Reimbursements after the conference may be made for:

#

Reimbursement Item

Note

1

Mileage and parking for a personal vehicle, if a deviation is approved; mileage and parking cannot exceed the cost of an airline ticket.

Provide a Google map demonstrating the distance from your Home of Record to the Conference Hotel and retain parking receipts. Submit these requests for reimbursement by March 25, 2016.

2

Mileage and parking for personal vehicle, approved in advance for participants who live within 50 miles of the Washington, D.C. area.

Provide a Google map demonstrating the distance from your Home of Record to the Conference Hotel and retain any receipts for parking. Submit these requests for reimbursement by March 25, 2016.

 
Q. Whom and when should I contact for reimbursement?

A. Please contact Dr. Margaret Petrochenkov, Program Officer, at margaretpetrochenkov@vef.gov to ask for the reimbursement form and instructions. If no request for reimbursement is received by March 31, 2016, VEF will not process the reimbursement request.

Q. How long does it take for me to be reimbursed after I submit all the required paperwork to VEF?

A. Payment into your bank account by Electronic Fund Transfer may take several weeks, but should be received within 6 weeks.

VI. Other questions

If you have further questions, please contact VEF by emailing: VEFConference@vef.gov