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Measuring Up conference looks outside the box

In early May, UCAR’s Measuring Up conference brought more than 150 attendees to Center Green. This year’s theme was “Outside the Box! Why Innovation Is More Crucial in Challenging Times.”

Held every other year since 2006, Measuring Up explores best practices for federally funded environments. The goal is to help participants—who hail mainly from the management and administration ranks at national labs—develop opportunities and create success in the federal and nonprofit sectors, from innovating while staying within budget to fostering new ideas around regulation and compliance. Topics include contracts and sponsored programs; human resources; facilities and sustainability; risk management; information technology; legal issues; and finance.

The 2012 agenda featured three keynote speakers:

  • Arin Reeves (pictured at left), president, Nextions, “The Next IQ:  The Next Level of Intelligence for 21st Century Leaders”

  • Shaifali Puri, executive director, Scientists Without Borders, “When Times are Tough, Keep Your Eyes on the Prize”

  • Susan Damour, regional administrator, General Services Administration, “The Workplace of the 21st Century”

Breakout sessions covered everything from the multigenerational workplace to energy management and healthcare reform. For example, a panel on technology transfer brought in commercialization experts from three national laboratories and Colorado State University. Many organizations have stepped up their tech-transfer activities—CSU has nearly doubled its income from product licensing over the last five years—but the panelists agreed that it's still a challenge to get some promising innovations to the point where they're market-ready.

Measuring Up evolved out of F&A’s desire for a conference geared specifically for Federally Funded Research and Development Centers. “FFRDCs have a set of rules and criteria that is totally different from universities,” says Kristen Alipit (F&A), who administers the meeting. “We would attend university conferences and try to put things together piecemeal. This made us decide to create a conference for our own environment.”