What kind of support does Protocol Labs Research provide for events?
Protocol Labs (PL) Research reviews requests for speakers, branding, and sponsorship at research-focused events. In addition to financial support, we seek to support these events by providing speakers, sending attendees, and promoting them on our website when appropriate.
Note: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have suspended sponsoring and attending in-person events until further notice. You may still request sponsorship and speakers for remote events.
How can I request support for my event?
To request sponsorship for research-oriented events, we ask that you fill out our sponsorship/speaker request form. Please provide as much information as possible (sponsorship tiers, free non-speaker tickets, branding, a table or other space for swag, inclusion in newsletters, etc.) to minimize the need for back-and-forth communication and help streamline our review process.
If you are seeking to invite a PL Research speaker or speakers, please indicate whether you are requesting speakers only, or speakers and sponsorship. Note that we do not sponsor pay-to-speak events (discussed in detail below), and all speaker requests will be considered independently from sponsorship requests.
We ask that all requests are submitted at least two months prior to the date of your event, so we have sufficient time to review the request, make a decision, and finalize logistics. If you have a question about sponsorship that is not covered by the request form, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
When will I receive a response to my request?
From the time of your submission to our response, please allow a minimum of two weeks for us to review your application. However, as a rule, we will typically wait until approximately two months before your event before we give you a final answer. If you have a hard timeline for receiving sponsorship commitments that differs from our standard review timeline, please make a note of this in your application.
How will my request be reviewed?
We have established a set of criteria by which we evaluate sponsorship requests:
- Alignment with Protocol Labs mission and goals: It helps if you can show a relationship between your event and what we strive for at Protocol Labs: building protocols, systems, and tools to improve how the internet works. Specifically, we are focused on breakthroughs in decentralization, networking, security, storage, and resiliency through open-source efforts. We have a set amount of funding every year, and we need to make sure that our dollars are spent on events that support this mission.
- Use of funds: We prioritize sponsorship opportunities in which surplus funds are allocated to support attendance by students or other parties with financial difficulties.
- PL participation: We seek, first and foremost, to sponsor events where members of the Protocol Labs community are participating. These could be attendees, speakers, organizers, recruiters, or participants in some other way, as long as they are at the event in person. Note: If you have no PL personnel involved in your event, we are happy to suggest speakers, attendees, panelists or other participants, but this does NOT guarantee a sponsorship, and the two requests are considered independently.
- No pay-to-speak: We do not pay for sponsored speaking slots or accept speaking slots that are contingent on sponsorship, and we are disinclined to sponsor an event with any sort of pay-to-speak arrangement, even with other (non-PL) sponsoring organizations. We prefer that speakers be invited or accepted on the quality of their presentations and the interest the attendees have in what they have to say, not because someone has paid to put them in front of an audience. We believe this policy:
- is equitable to conference organizers seeking Protocol Labs speakers
- is fair to other speakers who don’t have the means to pay for a speaking opportunity
- helps us gauge interest in the topics and products about which we speak
- maintains the credibility of Protocol Labs speakers
- Budget consideration: In our efforts to use funds wisely, and sponsor as many high-quality research-oriented events as we can, our standard contribution level does not typically exceed $5,000 USD. We will, however, always review the event and its purpose to help us assess if a higher contribution is warranted.
- Submission at least 2 months prior to event date: It takes time to review the requests. Please be considerate regarding this time frame to allow sufficient time for consideration.
- Inclusivity and accessibility: We believe that best solutions are the result of the broadest possible set of inspirations and that technologies that have the strongest positive impact require the input of all groups impacted. We strongly encourage event organizers to make clear efforts toward a diversity of speakers and attendees, particularly as it pertains to underrepresented groups within the STEM community. We require events that we support to not discriminate against anyone and to ensure broad accessibility. We also prefer events that offer scholarship opportunities to those with limited financial means and that allow for remote attendance and engagement.
- Code of conduct: Protocol Labs requires a publicly posted code of conduct for all events we sponsor. A code of conduct should promote open and respectful discourse, with no tolerance for discrimination, harassment, or bullying of any kind for any reason. Some examples can be found here: ACM, IEEE, IPFS, Our Networks, Mozilla.
If you accept our sponsorship, we’ll ask for a post-event report summarizing the key outcomes and metrics, e.g. the strengths and weaknesses of the event, the number of participants, notable presentations, video resources, social media presence, etc. The purpose of this follow-up is to help us track the effectiveness of our sponsorships and make decisions for the future. This is also a great way for us to strengthen the relationship between PL and those we sponsor. Hearing about great events gets us excited about supporting similar events in the future.
To submit a request for sponsorship, click here.