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CNLS Events

The sponsorship of conferences and meetings is one of the major institutional activities of the Center for Nonlinear Studies. Since the CNLS serves as an interface between mission critical research at LANL and the outside research community, conference and meeting sponsorship is an activity of vital importance for the Center and the Laboratory.

In particular, sponsorship of conferences and meetings accomplishes the following:

  • It enables the CNLS to identify and explore a wide range of nonlinear and complex systems problems.
  • It helps disseminate the latest developments in nonlinear and complex systems science.
  • It helps form and fosters research collaborations between LANL researchers and outside researchers and academia.
  • It helps build new areas of research and refine the direction of existing areas of research.

CNLS Event Sponsorship Description

  • CNLS provides sponsorship in the form of funding, preparatory administrative assistance, onsite administrative assistance, or a combination of two or three.
  • CNLS usually sponsors approximately 10-12 conferences and meetings per year.
  • Most CNLS sponsored conferences and meetings take place in Los Alamos or Santa Fe to maximize the participation of LANL staff and the impact on LANL.
  • CNLS encourages conferences and meetings which fall within the research areas focused on at CNLS.

*** Please be aware that the rules and procedures regarding LANL sponsored or hosted events is changing quickly and dramatically. Please contact us as soon as you know you may want to have an event. We can help guide you and keep you up to date on the current rules. Be aware that the guidelines below may change at any time, whenever the DOE/LANL rules on conferences change.***

Is My Event a Conference?

LANL sponsors different kinds of events of all sizes (a few people to a few hundred). To determine if your event would be considered a conference, please complete the Conference Management Team's form, Is My Event A Conference? (xlsx document). CNLS will assist you with the organization of a conference or a meeting. We do not provide coordination for training events at this time.

CNLS Meeting Sponsorship Policy

Most of the same requirements apply to both CNLS sponsored conferences and meetings. Following are the meeting-specific policies.

  • CNLS recommends a minimum of three months preparation time before the beginning of a meeting. Six months is preferred if advertising is required to gather participants.
  • The LANL meal policy must be followed for all meetings. Except for specific cases, this does not allow LANL to provide any meals at meetings. If food is to be provided, the organizers must have Non-LANL funding (external sponsorship or direct payments by attendees to the vendor) for that expense.
  • All travel reimbursement for speakers and/or participants must be made through LANL's Guest Agreement program. CNLS does not typically do the guest agreements for meetings. The organizers must find admins who will process the Guest Agreement paperwork and reimbursements for the meeting.
  • Approval by the Conference Management Team is not required. Venue and other services will be negotiated by CNLS and paid for with a CNLS P-Card.
  • All other CNLS Conference Sponsorship Policies and Guidelines apply to meetings.

CNLS Conference Sponsorship Policy

  • CNLS recommends a minimum of nine months preparation time before the beginning of a conference. One year is the preferred time for conference preparation.
  • CNLS can provide a portion of the funding for a conference, but conference organizers must find additional sources of funding, either internal or external to LANL.
  • All CNLS sponsorship requests are approved by the CNLS Executive Committee.
  • All CNLS sponsored conferences must abide by all LANL regulations, policies, procedures and limitations.
  • The Organizing Committee must designate a single point of contact (organizer) who will provide direction to the CNLS conference coordinator.

If you are interested in working with CNLS on holding a conference or meeting please fill out the form utilizing this link.

Division of Responsibilities

When CNLS provides preparatory administrative services, there must be a clear division of responsibility between the duties of the CNLS conference coordinator and the organizer. A standard separation of duties is as follows. This can be modified as needed to suit the organizing committee's needs.

The responsibilities of CNLS:

  1. We will ensure that the conference receives formal LANL and DOE approval by submitting and tracking all required LANL forms.
  2. The conference coordinator will work with the CNLS DPR and LANL's Conference Managment Team to make all monetary commitments on behalf of CNLS and the Lab including participant reimbursements, site arrangements, marketing, and food. In addition, we will coordinate directly with the Conference Management Team personnel to ensure each purchase is made in accordance with LANL and DOE policy.
  3. CNLS will be the point-of-contact with all vendors. We will make all requests, arrangements, and other communications with the various vendors which support a conference. Due to LANL policy, we cannot allow organizers to contact the vendors directly.
  4. As the conference coordinator, we will create the formal invitation for invited participants as well as track the responses. We encourage the organizers to informally contact potential speakers prior to the mailing of formal invitations. We also have a centralized email address to track all communication and ensure that essential information and requests are responded to efficiently or forwarded to the correct person.
  5. To ensure a consistent approach, CNLS will maintain the conference website and coordinate the creation of any marketing materials (posters, announcements, emails, etc.). In addition we will distribute the material according to the direction of the conference organizer.
  6. We will help the organizer create an estimate of conference costs. We also will track activity of the conference account budget (U9-code), including expenditures.
  7. CNLS will set the timeline for when specific tasks are to be completed, taking into account both the specific needs of your conference and the other conferences which we are supporting. Please understand that we work on multiple conferences simultaneously and our deadlines take into account the needs of all conferences.

The responsibilities of the organizer/organizing committee:

  1. Obtain CNLS Executive Committee approval for your conference as well as obtaining funding from any contributing organizations and establishing registration fees, if desired. This includes crafting any required justifications for specific sources of money such as LDRD and non-LANL grants or sponsorships. The conference coordinator will be responsible for staying within budget and determining budget limitations with assistance from CNLS. The organizer will be asked to determine if reimbursements are to be made, and if so, what will be reimbursed and for whom.
  2. To ensure that the conference is as envisioned by the organizer, please be prepared to discuss suggested dates, location preferences, and meeting space requirements (poster room, banquet facility, number of anticipated participants, etc.) during your first meeting with the conference coordinator.
  3. All conference items which would require LANL purchasing such as: conference location and food, off-site meals, shuttles, etc., must be discussed eight months prior to the conference dates to allow for sufficient time to create and process the approvals.
  4. CNLS requires images and content for the website, a list of marketing material that you will require (mailings, proceedings, etc.), and a rough-draft agenda. It is essential that you provide these in a timely fashion. The preceding information is required before formal invitations can be sent.
  5. One of your first priorities will be to provide the coordinator with a list of contact information for each person who will receive an invitation. In addition, the coordinator will need contact information for any marketing material you would like distributed. Meetings with CNLS should start at least two months prior to when you'd like the first formal speaker invitations to be received.
  6. You must meet all deadlines set by the CNLS coordinator as well as provide all required information in as complete a form as possible and in a timely manner.

Following are some more specific guidelines to help minimize time and effort as well as creating a positive experience for you and your conference participants. Our intention is to be flexible to the specific needs of your conference while staying within LANL regulations. If you would like something other than what is listed, please ask. We want to be as accommodating as possible. As always, the CNLS Office is available to help you as an organizer.

Specific Guidelines


  • CNLS must create and send the official invitation letters to ensure that all LANL requirements and regulations are sufficiently explained. The organizer should make an informal invitation requesting that a place be held in the speaker's schedule. The organizer cannot commit to any reimbursement of expenses.
  • The organizer must provide CNLS with a list of contact information for each person who will receive an invitation. If that person should be offered a reimbursement, that information must be provided at the same time.
  • The organizer may review any official correspondence sent to the invitees.


  • CNLS will create and host a conference website including an overview, agenda, local information, and registration. Other features may be possible to add upon request. If an organizer desires more creative control, they may create their own website images and text and then transfer ownership of it to CNLS for formatting and maintenance. The organizer may maintain the agenda page.
  • It is the organizer's responsibility to provide images and content, including a rough draft agenda, in a timely manner. CNLS will not create the website or formal invitations until images and content are received.
  • The organizer must ensure that LANL and CNLS have the appropriate usage rights for all images given to CNLS. CNLS will use the images in an artistic manner which may not maintain the scientific integrity of the images.
  • CNLS can create additional marketing materials such as posters, mailings, programs, etc.
  • CNLS produced marketing will be submitted for LA-UR review and receive an LA-UR number. Due to this, there can be no changes to marketing, particularly conference programs, less than three weeks before such marketing is to be distributed.


  • Approved reimbursable expenses are reimbursed after the participant submits to the CNLS office the proper receipts. Receipts are required if a reimbursement to be made.
  • The CNLS reimbursement process fully complies with corresponding DOE regulations and LANL reimbursement policy.
  • CNLS only processes the paperwork and submits the request to the LANL CFO office, which reviews the request and issues the check. CNLS does not issue checks. The check is then sent directly to the participant. Since this is a lengthy process, taking 8 weeks or more, the participant is advised to submit receipts without delay after completion of the visit. Reimbursement requests must be received within 3 months of the end of the conference.

Unallowable Expenses

     Some common conference elements (receptions, wine with dinner, give-away gifts, awards, etc.) are considered unallowable expenses under DOE policy. LANL cannot pay for these elements of a conference. If you are interested in having elements such as these, you will need to obtain outside sponsorship to cover the associated costs.

Most important to the success of your conference will be direct communication between the organizers and the coordinator. We will establish regular meetings, but we also encourage additional communication whenever it is needed. CNLS looks forward to working together with you to make decisions and meet the deadlines required to make your conference successful. We will use our experience and resources to ensure that your event is professional, enjoyable, and run according to LANL policy.

Thank you for partnering with CNLS on your upcoming event.

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