ISCB-SC:pubs:10rules

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(Nils' and Sarath's changes after Saturday meeting in Cambridge)
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* '''theme/topic'''
* '''theme/topic'''
** general scientific topic but focus on a particular question that students are interested in eg. academia vs. science, future of the field, etc. or pick a particular scientific topic that is just emerging (see BioSysBio)
** general scientific topic but focus on a particular question that students are interested in eg. academia vs. science, future of the field, etc. or pick a particular scientific topic that is just emerging (see BioSysBio)
-
** regular annual conference typically run by large societies  
+
** regular annual conference typically run by large societies???
 +
** make decision whether you want a general conference or an event that focusses on a particular topic - make sure you have a sufficiently wide range of topics in the former case
* '''date and location'''
* '''date and location'''
** either long before or after other major conferences in the field or as part of a major conference
** either long before or after other major conferences in the field or as part of a major conference
** teaming up with a larger event will save the delegates a lot of money
** teaming up with a larger event will save the delegates a lot of money
-
** Locations should not be easy accessible (train and plane, also local public transport)
+
** Locations should be easy accessible (train and plane, also local public transport)
** budget accommodation should be within reasonable distance.
** budget accommodation should be within reasonable distance.
** choose a place where attendees can make of it a holiday
** choose a place where attendees can make of it a holiday
-
 
* '''invited speakers'''
* '''invited speakers'''
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** find a good mix and people that are committed to the student community
** find a good mix and people that are committed to the student community
** Young PIs can give good insight into what it takes to get faculty or postdoc positions
** Young PIs can give good insight into what it takes to get faculty or postdoc positions
-
** Top senior scientists usually have a great overview of the field and can comment on developments that are to be expected in the future and how current topics fit into the bigger picture.
+
** Top senior scientists usually have a great overview of the field and can comment on developments that are to be expected in the future and how current topics fit into the bigger picture
 +
** big names makes your conference more attractive
** Surveys of your target audience can tell you what are the most suitable speakers
** Surveys of your target audience can tell you what are the most suitable speakers
** Panel discussions where keynotes show they personal side are most inspiring to young researchers
** Panel discussions where keynotes show they personal side are most inspiring to young researchers
-
* '''Programme'''
+
* '''Programme/Agenda'''
** Allow a significant proportion of the timetable to submitted, reviewed and accepted material
** Allow a significant proportion of the timetable to submitted, reviewed and accepted material
-
** Give ample time for solcialising during the conference
+
** Give ample time for socialising during the conference
 +
*** allows people to meet their peers
 +
*** colloborations
 +
** confirm keynote speakers very early
 +
*** they are busy so the book out quickly
 +
*** having the names of keynote speakers helps to promote the event
* '''planning time'''
* '''planning time'''
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*** spreading the word (ie. marketing)
*** spreading the word (ie. marketing)
*** fundraising
*** fundraising
-
** give enough time for people to get their visas and book their travel in advance for cheaper fares
+
** give enough time for people to get their visas and book their travel in advance for cheaper fares and accommodation
 +
** get better rates on venues
* '''involve local organizations'''
* '''involve local organizations'''
-
** by inviting a local speaker
+
** by inviting a speaker from the local community
-
** will help to give easier access to venues, local organizing team, etc
+
** by inviting representatives from local companies (you might want to offer one spot for an industry talk as a means to raise money)
-
** Sponsors from the local area might be easier to target.
+
** will help to give easier access to venues, local organizing team/volunteers, etc
 +
** Sponsors from the local area might be easier to target
 +
** local organizations could take over administrative tasks (registration, find accommodation)
* '''organizing and program committee'''
* '''organizing and program committee'''
Line 60: Line 69:
*** evaluation
*** evaluation
*** managing/organisational skills
*** managing/organisational skills
 +
*** local organization
** should be large enough to handle all aspects but not too large
** should be large enough to handle all aspects but not too large
** try to avoid having free loaders on your committees
** try to avoid having free loaders on your committees
Line 75: Line 85:
* '''budget'''
* '''budget'''
 +
** make an estimate of you cost for conference venue, meals,
 +
** make an estimate of how many people you expect
 +
** set registration fee appropriately
* '''incentives'''
* '''incentives'''
Line 80: Line 93:
** awards for outstanding contributions
** awards for outstanding contributions
** publication of abstracts in a journal, etc.
** publication of abstracts in a journal, etc.
 +
 +
 +
* '''evaluation'''
 +
** to improve the focus (if desired) of the conference
 +
** identify issues that you were not aware of - i.e. what people didn't like
== At the Conference ==
== At the Conference ==

Revision as of 16:31, 24 November 2007

Home        Contact        Organization        Activities        Resources        Regional Groups
Don't forget to visit the Student Council Website

ISCB-SC:pubs:10rules

Our experience organizing successful scientific and educational events for students in the bioinformatics community (while operating on a low budget).

Contents

Preamble

More and more scientific career articles [ref Nat Genetics Article] are converging on the need for students and researchers to be able to 'know how' to organise a scientific meeting. Scientific meetings are at the heart of the scientist's professional life, since they provide an invaluable opportunity for learning, networking and brainstorming new ideas. In addition, meetings should be enjoyable experiences that add exciting breaks to the usual routine in the lab.

From our experience in organising the Student Council Symposium [ref Nature Article, ref BMC], a satellite meeting of an ISCB-related mainstream conference [ref PLoS], we ourselves have learnt a great deal of some scientific aspects not so well cared for in the usual academic curricula.

We argue that the experience of organising events by students has immense value for the development of the future scientist. Many skills are exercised, organisational, managerial, team work effort, etc. All of these skills are important assets that may make the difference for a successful scientific career path.

Before the Conference

  • theme/topic
    • general scientific topic but focus on a particular question that students are interested in eg. academia vs. science, future of the field, etc. or pick a particular scientific topic that is just emerging (see BioSysBio)
    • regular annual conference typically run by large societies???
    • make decision whether you want a general conference or an event that focusses on a particular topic - make sure you have a sufficiently wide range of topics in the former case
  • date and location
    • either long before or after other major conferences in the field or as part of a major conference
    • teaming up with a larger event will save the delegates a lot of money
    • Locations should be easy accessible (train and plane, also local public transport)
    • budget accommodation should be within reasonable distance.
    • choose a place where attendees can make of it a holiday
  • invited speakers
    • mix top senior scientists in the field and young PIs
    • find a good mix and people that are committed to the student community
    • Young PIs can give good insight into what it takes to get faculty or postdoc positions
    • Top senior scientists usually have a great overview of the field and can comment on developments that are to be expected in the future and how current topics fit into the bigger picture
    • big names makes your conference more attractive
    • Surveys of your target audience can tell you what are the most suitable speakers
    • Panel discussions where keynotes show they personal side are most inspiring to young researchers
  • Programme/Agenda
    • Allow a significant proportion of the timetable to submitted, reviewed and accepted material
    • Give ample time for socialising during the conference
      • allows people to meet their peers
      • colloborations
    • confirm keynote speakers very early
      • they are busy so the book out quickly
      • having the names of keynote speakers helps to promote the event
  • planning time
    • 9 months to a year because:
      • Submission deadlines need to be considered
      • production deadlines as well
      • confirming invited speakers and other aspects of the agenda
      • spreading the word (ie. marketing)
      • fundraising
    • give enough time for people to get their visas and book their travel in advance for cheaper fares and accommodation
    • get better rates on venues
  • involve local organizations
    • by inviting a speaker from the local community
    • by inviting representatives from local companies (you might want to offer one spot for an industry talk as a means to raise money)
    • will help to give easier access to venues, local organizing team/volunteers, etc
    • Sponsors from the local area might be easier to target
    • local organizations could take over administrative tasks (registration, find accommodation)
  • organizing and program committee
    • Wide set of skills required
      • website and printed materials
      • reviewers from a wide range of areas
      • finances and fundraising
      • organization
      • marketing
      • evaluation
      • managing/organisational skills
      • local organization
    • should be large enough to handle all aspects but not too large
    • try to avoid having free loaders on your committees
  • include social activities and time for networking
  • give credit where credit is due
    • recognize contributions by sponsors, speakers, OC, PC, etc.
  • sponsors
    • approach them early
    • make clear how they will benefit
    • find best matching spnsors to your audience
    • even of this timee your approached sponsor does not support your event, keep the contact for the future
  • budget
    • make an estimate of you cost for conference venue, meals,
    • make an estimate of how many people you expect
    • set registration fee appropriately
  • incentives
    • fellowships for people who could otherwise not come
    • awards for outstanding contributions
    • publication of abstracts in a journal, etc.


  • evaluation
    • to improve the focus (if desired) of the conference
    • identify issues that you were not aware of - i.e. what people didn't like

At the Conference

  • meet everyone from the OC the day before the event
    • inspect the facilities
    • discuss responsibilities if you haven't done so before
      • contact point
      • registration (this needs to happen earlier i guess)
      • speaker liaison
  • have contact information
    • for all relevant 3rd party people
      • caterers
      • building manager
      • main conference organizer if you are having your event as part of another conference

After the Conference

  • wrap up
    • particularly important if you are planning to have a similar event in the future
    • make evaluation publicly accessible
    • submit abstracts to journal
    • upload photos of the event to the website (videos too, if you have any!)
    • post names of winners of awards and travel fellowships on the website
  • send one last email
    • to all delegates informing them about the things that have happened since the conference
    • include announcements for the next event if you are planning one

Acknowledgements

References

  • Eleni M. Tomazou & Gareth T. Powell, Nature Reviews Genetics 8, 724-726 (September 2007)
  • Manuel Corpas, Nature 436, 1204 (August 2005)
  • Nils Gehlenborg, Manuel Corpas, Sarath Chandra Janga, BMC Bioinformatics 2007, 8(Suppl 8):I1 (20 November 2007)
  • Lengauer T, McKay BJM, Rost B (2007) ISMB/ECCB 2007: The Premier Conference on Computational Biology. PLoS Comput Biol 3(5): e96 doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.0030096
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