Road to the Symposium Blog – March 1st 2018

By Maura Beaton

Every year as the annual symposium approaches, we inevitably get a few stunned participants asking “wait… this is free?”.

The answer “Yes!”

Since 2015, the OHDSI symposium has been free! This makes it possible for anyone interested in learning more about OHDSI to attend the symposium with minimal financial constraints (symposium participants are responsible for their own travel and accommodation).

I bet you’re wondering “But how?”

Great question!

In 2015 and 2016 OHDSI’s coordinating center was awarded small conference grants from PCORI to cover the costs of audio/visuals, space rental and conference supplies. While these grants were a great starting point, they didn’t cover all costs necessary to run a successful symposium (tacos don’t pay for themselves).

Each year we’ve relied heavily on sponsors to keep the symposium free. If it weren’t for our generous sponsors, we never would have been able to offer tutorial sessions, pay for coffee and lunch or record all the spectacular presentations from the symposium and tutorials.

This year, we’re hoping to raise $200K in sponsorship funding. This will allow us to keep registration free for up to 500 attendees and pay for A/V, food & drink, WiFi and professional recording fees. To raise the funds, we’re reaching out to the entire OHDSI community and asking potential sponsors for their support to fund this important event.

Sponsors will be invited to provide any amount that is financially feasible for their organization. All sponsors will be recognized on the symposium website and during our welcome session.

Sponsors providing $15,000 or above will have the option of supporting one of the following symposium aspects:

  • Collaborator showcase
  • Tutorials
  • Networking reception
  • Coffee
  • Lunch
  • Wifi

Each element will only have one sponsor. Sponsors can choose which aspect they would like to fund on a first come first served basis. In addition, these sponsors will have their logo displayed online next to symposium and tutorial recordings.

In addition to sponsorship, we’re also working to setup a mechanism to collect optional registration fees. This will allow individuals to support the symposium in the form of registration fees.

So there you have it, unfortunately there really is no such thing as a free lunch, but with the right support there will be tacos.

If you’re interested if sponsoring this year’s symposium, feel free to email me at or check out or symposium website for me details:


Check out Patrick Ryan’s blog entry here: