Sponsor a Conference


Sponsorship of non-DOE events is generally discouraged by DOE. The Laboratory may sponsor external events in limited circumstances.


Divisions must request approval to sponsor an external event:

  • Costs to sponsor an external event may not be incurred until approval is received.
  • If approval is not obtained, the sponsorship is not allowed.


Due to the complexity of interpreting DOE requirements, Divisions must request approval to cover participation costs so that Conference Services can evaluate the request against DOE requirements. Submit a Request for Participation Support.


What is Sponsorship of an External Event?


  • Sponsorship of an external event occurs if the Laboratory:
  • Contributes funds from a DOE funding source: contributing DOE-provided funds, including indirect funds, of any amount for an event, which includes funding to help plan, promote, or implement the event. Examples include purchasing "sponsorship" packages for a conference or providing funding to rent a conference venue.
  • Authorizes use of the Laboratory or DOE logo: authorizing the use of a DOE seal, logo, or trademark, including any of the Laboratory’s logos, to promote an event. Examples include the use of the Laboratory logo on a conference’s website, brochures, and programs. For more information, see the Use of Berkeley Lab Name, Logo, Letterhead, and Brand policy.


Providing funds to an event host to cover participation costs may be exempt from DOE approval requirements if the funds are:

  • To cover conference participation costs for non-DOE/non-Laboratory attendees (e.g., students, retirees, or speakers) and
  • The total amount provided to the sponsor does not exceed $10,000
  • Consideration should be given to the expected benefit to the Laboratory when using this exemption.
  • Participation Support requests should be submitted through the Attend Event Request (AER) system


What’s Not Considered Sponsorship?


  • Laboratory staff participation*, specifically:
    • Serving as an honorary chairperson
    • Participating in planning committees, review panels, or panel discussions
    • Use of the Laboratory name to denote the employer of conference attendees (including committee and review panel participants)
    • Speaking or presenting at a conference and the related use of DOE/Laboratory logos on material created for presentations and papers distributed at the event
  • Booth rental and the related use of DOE/Laboratory logos on booths and in material created for booths
  • Contribution of non-DOE funds (Strategic Partnership Programs (SPP)) to an event host. In this instance, the Laboratory may not authorize the use of DOE or Laboratory logos.
  • Transferring excess registration fees to future conference hosts


*Participation is subject to approval requirements enumerated in the “Attending an Event” portion of the Events & Meals policy.


Sponsorship Approval Process

Divisions must not incur costs or make financial commitments to sponsor an event, nor authorize the use of DOE/Laboratory logos, until they have received Conference Services’ approval. Conference Services will provide the Division’s POC with confirmation or denial of approval. Questions about approval status should be directed to the Division POC.


Process for Submitting Request:


The Division must provide the following information for (a) the sponsorship request or (b) funds provided to event hosts to cover event participation costs:

  • Conference name
  • Conference start and end dates
  • Conference description
  • Conference location (city, state, and country)
  • Conference website — this is helpful for obtaining the most accurate information about the conference
  • Purpose of sponsorship funds (e.g., purchase of sponsorship package, rental of event venue, and conference participation costs for non-DOE/non-Laboratory attendees)
  • Sponsorship amount
  • Justification documenting the benefit to the Laboratory


Requests must be approved by the Division Director or his/her designee.


Requests must be made through the Division POC, who will coordinate with Conference Services to manage submission of the request to DOE.

Conference Services

Conference Services will determine the applicable approval steps based on whether the sponsorship is related to a DOE- or non-DOE-hosted event.


If approval is not required, Conference Services will provide the Division’s Point of Contact (POC) with direction to notify the Division that it is OK to proceed.


If approval is required, Conference Services will coordinate approval with DOE.


Approval Process


Sponsorship Provided to a DOE-Hosted Event

No approval is required for sponsorship of DOE-hosted conferences. However, participation is subject to approval requirements enumerated in the “Attending an Event” portion of the Events & Meals policy.


Sponsorship Provided to a Non-DOE-Hosted Event

Sponsorships to a non-DOE-hosted event will only be considered when:

  • No DOE funds have been provided as "sponsorship," either directly from DOE or from a DOE contractor
  • No use of an official DOE or DOE contractor seal/logo has been authorized


Conference Services submits the sponsorship request to DOE for preliminary approval. If preliminary approval is obtained, Conference Services then needs to validate with other DOE contractor sites that no DOE funds have been expended. Only when both of the conditions are met will the sponsorship be approved.


Approval to Sponsor an External Event


Once Conference Services has received DOE approval for the sponsorship, Conference Services provides the Division’s POC with confirmation of approval.


Conference Services will send written instructions to the hosting organization stating that the sponsorship funds are only to be used for specifically designated allowable costs subject to validation and/or audit.


Disapproval of Request


If DOE denies the sponsorship request, Conference Services will notify the Division’s POC of the disapproval.


Making the Sponsorship Payment


Once sponsorship is approved, the Division should prepare and submit a Request for Issuance of Check (eRFIC). The eRFIC request must include documentation from the event host supporting the disbursement (e.g., an invoice or sponsorship agreement). For more information, see the Request for Issuance of Check policy.