Highlights from PRIM&R’s 2023 Annual Conference and SBER Conference

As we reflect on the 2023 PRIM&R Annual Conference and SBER Conference that took place December 2023 in Washington, DC, we are immensely grateful to our PRIM&R community for coming together to create such a successful event!  

It was wonderful to reconnect in person, for the first time since 2019, fostering collaboration and meaningful engagement with one another. We were delighted to welcome a significant number of first-time attendees. Additionally, we appreciated the valuable contribution of those who joined us virtually. We extend sincere gratitude to all our attendees, speakers, sponsors, and volunteers whose dedication contributed to the success of these conferences. With the conferences now concluded, let’s reflect on the highlights that have truly defined PRIMR23! 

Welcome Remarks and Opening General Session: What Keeps You Up at Night: Future Frontiers in Research 

PRIMR23 began with welcome remarks from the PRIMR23 Conference Planning Committee Co-Chairs, and a presentation from PRIM&R’s new Executive Director, Ivy Tillman, EdD, MS, CCRC, CIP. Dr. Tillman called for increased engagement, transparency and accountability to help build and maintain public trust in scientific research. 

“The research landscape is ever-evolving as fast-moving technology presents opportunities and ethical challenges that require us to be responsive and sensitive to the needs of our PRIM&R community and the larger public,” Dr. Tillman said in her opening remarks at PRIMR23. “This community is fully aware of the impact of mistrust and misinformation in science and research which undermine public health and the public’s willingness to engage in research.”  

Dr. Tillman emphasized that the PRIM&R community is an “essential component of this trust equation.” 

“The public must know that research ethics professionals exist and that we are partnering with scientists, researchers, and industry to advance the highest ethical standards in science and research,” Dr. Tillman said. “Transparency and accountability are essential components of our commitment to maintaining public trust, and we believe PRIM&R is uniquely positioned to influence public discourse around trust in science and research.” 

Dr. Tillman’s remarks were followed by the Opening General Session: What Keeps You Up at Night: Future Frontiers in Research. A diverse panel of national experts in clinical trials and drug development, artificial intelligence, nonhuman primate research, scientific workforce development, and more gave their perspectives on the research enterprise trajectory and what challenges may lie ahead for the ethics and oversight community.  

For those unable to attend, please carve out time to watch this session, which has been recorded and is available for on-demand access by attendees registered for PRIMR23 on this day (December 4) on the online conference platform and app. Recordings will be available to attendees for 90 days after the conference.  

*Conference recording packages available for purchase here

Service Award Presentation 

PRIM&R took great pleasure in presenting the 2023 PRIM&R Service Award to Mark Barnes, JD, LLM, Partner at Ropes & Gray LLP. The second day of PRIMR23 commenced with opening remarks from Jori Leszczynski, DVM, DACLAM, Chair of PRIM&R’s Board of Directors. Following the remarks, Barbara E. Bierer, MD, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, presented the PRIM&R Service Award to Mark Barnes. Once again, congratulations, Mr. Barnes! 

General Session Keynote Presentation: Intertwined for Societal Benefit: Humans, Other animals, IRBs, and IACUCs 

The General Session Keynote Presentation, “Intertwined for Societal Benefit: Humans, Other Animals, IRBs, and IACUCs”, was given by Allyson J. Bennett, PhD, PRIM&R board member and developmental biopsychologist and Chair of the Psychology Department at University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI. Dr. Bennett discussed how scientific research with humans and other animals is intertwined yet plays fundamentally different roles in producing new knowledge with broad-ranging benefits. Dr. Bennett’s presentation focused on why understanding the relationship between them is key to decisions about scientific studies, ethical consideration, and policy decisions. 

In case you were unable to attend the live session, this event has been recorded and is available for on-demand access by attendees registered for PRIMR23 on this day (December 5) on the online conference platform and app. Recordings will be available to attendees for 90 days after the conference. 

*Conference recording packages available for purchase here

Networking Ribbons 

Our “Networking Ribbons” wall displayed a wide range of vibrant ribbons, each representing different roles from “Nurse” to “IRB Staff”, ensuring a ribbon suited for everyone! We loved seeing layers of ribbons proudly attached to name badges, a visual example of dedication to research ethics and the cross over of departments.

Poster Presentation 

The PRIMR23 Poster Presentation highlighted the exceptional abstract submissions we received. The Poster Presentation promotes interdisciplinary sharing and collaboration, and facilitates the exchange of ideas, information, and practical strategies for the many challenges faced by research professionals. Stay tuned for our PRIMR24 Poster Presentation Program next year!  


We were delighted to witness all the networking that took place at the conferences! PRIM&R is dedicated to fostering an inclusive environment where professionals from diverse backgrounds come together to shape the future of research ethics. These meaningful interactions highlight the strength of our community. 


Last but certainly not least, we truly enjoyed seeing everyone interact with the display walls, selfie frames, and props at the PRIM&R booth! The lively atmosphere around the booth highlighted the sense of community that defines PRIM&R conferences. 


In closing, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to all who attended the PRIM&R Annual Conference and SBER Conference! We look forward to welcoming you to PRIMR24 in the captivating city of Seattle next year. Until then, thank you for your continued support of PRIM&R and our mission—your commitment to advancing ethical research is the cornerstone of our vibrant community. We look forward to seeing you in Seattle November 17-20, 2024!