The NIH Research Festival is a celebration of intramural science and was hosted this year from September 12-14, 2018. The Office of Research Service divisions participated in the exhibition portion of Resources for Intramural Research. There were impressive displays from the Division of Radiation Safety (DRS), the Division of Mail Management Services (DMMS), the Division of Library Sciences (DLS), the Division of International Services (DIS), the Division of Veterinary Resources (DVS), and the ORS/ORF Green Team. Below are a few highlights:
- DRS hosted a table to showcase radiation monitoring. DRS had radiation detection meters and some unregulated consumer products containing radioactive material as well as a large diagram of a mock research lab with contamination planted, so visitors could try their hand at finding/measuring the radiation levels. DRS also had handouts and pamphlets describing services available to the researchers and basic facts about natural background levels of radiation.
- DMMS provided information on NIH Mail Management guidelines pertaining to Mail Customer Service and Mail Center Operations. This pertinent information assisted customers in preparing outgoing mailings, Mail Stop Code (MSC) requests, NIH Address Change Notifications, and educated customers on the importance of NIH NED profile updates. DMMS staff also provided information on the functions of the mail operations as it pertains to mail security screening and the sortation and delivery of incoming mail to NIH offices throughout the Bethesda, Gaithersburg and Rockville areas.
- The NIH Library coordinated with the Virtual and Augmented Reality Interest Group (VARIG) and others currently involved in Virtual Reality (VR) at NIH to explore and demonstrate how VR is being used in biomedical research. The Library provided 8 different VR demonstration stations throughout the Library and in the Building 10 South Lobby. The demonstrations were offered by the NIH Library, NEI, NHGRI, NICHD, NINDS, NLM DMRC, VARIG, and Arivis virtual reality. An estimated 200 people came to try out VR, with several attending multiple times, frequently bringing their friends and colleagues with them the second time. Response was overwhelmingly positive, as the demonstrations showcased a variety of ways that VR is already being used to support biomedical research. Several attendees commented that they were inspired to think about how they might use VR in the future, and many made appointments with DLS to return for additional personalized demonstrations using the Library's VR equipment.
- As in previous years, DIS set up a large display table with signage and offered reference documentation regarding various immigration services.
- DVR staff answered questions about DVR services.
- The ORS/ORF Green Team participation in the NIH Research Festival consisted of the team manning an exhibit/table for the purpose of informing the public about the Green Teams mission and current project. The team’s goal was to better educate customers on the proper disposal of trash and recyclables in the appropriate cafeteria receptacles. The team utilized information retrieved from the NIH Waste and Resource Recovery Branch (WRRB) which stated that improper disposal of compostable silverware in the cafeteria is a problem and estimates that 90% of the recyclables taken from the cafeteria are contaminated with non-recyclable products.