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FAQ - Speakers & convenors

Here you will find a compilation of everything you need to know in detail about speaking and/or convening at the upcoming Ecsite Conference

Speakers & Convenors




What is the role of the convenor?

The convenor of a session is the person who makes sure that the session actually takes place on the given time and day and that all speakers are well briefed, show up on time, etc.

Before the Conference, the convenor is responsible for

  • Keeping all session-related details updated in the online programme (abstract, speakers, contributions, outcomes, etc)
  • Making sure there will be no repetition or overlap between presentations
  • Ensuring coherence between the speakers - each speaker should have an idea of what the others are going to talk about
  • Defining in which order speakers are lined up and informed them

During the session, the convenor will

  • Act as a presenter or moderator, making sure the audience have a great experience in the session
  • Take charge of everything that will make the session flow smoothly: checking that everything is in place before the session (especially if presentations are uploaded in the Upload Room in the venue), reminding participants of social media hashtags, keeping an eye on the time, making sure evaluation forms are filled in…

After the Conference, the convenor will

  • Collect and upload the session's legacy (striking ideas, conclusions, surprises or happenings to be recorded for the future. Include links to resources or presentations stored on external platforms, if applicable).


What is the role of the speaker?

Before the Conference, speakers will

  • Ask the convenor for all needed information, if not provided well on time
  • Add a description of their contributions in the session proposal form.
  • Update their profile information at ecsite.eu (name, job title, organisation) so the online programme shows correct information.
  • Deliver a detailed description of their individual contribution to the session. This detailed information will be available in the online programme on the website.

After the Conference, speakers will

  • Send to the session's convenor all info relevant to build the session's legacy


Do speakers and convenors pay the Conference fee?

Yes, speakers and convenors pay the Conference fee like all Conference participants.


Do I have to be an Ecsite member to submit a session proposal?

No, not at all. The Conference is open to all those engaging others in science and technology!


Can I submit a session proposal alone?

You can, but the Conference is a collaborative event and sessions where multiple people from different organisations and locations (globally) will be given preference.

If you want to speak at the conference but you cannot submit your own session be on the lookout for a call for speakers for the "showcase sessions" we will launch in January 2022. We will host three sessions for participants who want to talk about their touring exhibition, collaborative science engagement project or show their hands-on activities.


How do I submit a session proposal?

View this handy resource to guide you in submitting a proposal!


Are there any criteria/guidelines to help me write a successful proposal?


Your proposal should…

…concentrate on what participants will be getting from the session

No one likes unidirectional sales pitches or project reports. If accepted, your session will be running in parallel with several others: you need to give future attendees a good reason to be there. Start by defining your audience and what they will be getting from the session: take the "outcomes" field in the proposal form very seriously and define the session format that will best deliver them.

…foster peer learning and present honest lessons learnt

The Ecsite Conference is renowned for the quality of exchanges and conversations and the honesty of the stories shared in sessions. Failures are as interesting as successes. You don't need to have all the answers: you can also share ongoing questions, recurring struggles, true dilemmas or embark participants on an adventure you've not tried before… be open about it in your abstract.

…include speakers and convenors from different countries and projects

Several people are needed to deliver an Ecsite Conference session: you really need to work as a team, each bringing a different perspective, case study or skill. Ecsite is an international network and this diversity should be reflected in the composition of each session’s group of speakers. If there is a possibility to include speakers from countries which are usually underrepresented at the Conference, we fully encourage you to take this opportunity.

…include a complete list of speakers

Even if all speakers are not confirmed at the time of submitting the proposal, it is important to include names. Three speakers are expected for a panel session, more for a poster session, and possibly fewer than three for other types of session formats.

…ensure a gender balance

We prefer to avoid sessions where the convenor and speakers are all male or all female.

…involve a committed and experienced convenor

This person is responsible for delivering the session: from shaping the sessions content together with speaker to moderating it during the event. This includes ensuring that your session’s presentations are coherent as a whole in order to produce a session with a clear vision, successfully meeting the aims set out in the abstract. It requires a good deal of communication with your session’s speakers in the months leading up to the Conference.

…be new to the Ecsite Conference

Copy-paste sessions or presentations from previous years don't stand a chance. Not everything needs to be new: a traditional format on an edgy topic will work great, and so might a new format or angle on a usual topic. Check out the session archive.


…is engaging or interactive

Sessions gather dozens of participants, including many professionals who will have insightful questions to raise on the topic at hand, examples of best practice to share, and most importantly a strong urge to take an active part. The best sessions take advantage of this collective expertise and energy, whether by allowing a good amount of time for questions, incorporating an interactive element into presentations, or using one of the interactive format suggestions listed below.

…is linked to one or more of Ecsite’s Strategic Commitments

These are the global and societal issues the European science engagement community connected by Ecsite wants to commit in the first order. They are declared in the Ecsite Strategic plan. These are: 

  • Climate and biodiversity crisis
  • Misinformation and trust in science
  • 21st century skills
  • Inclusion and equity
  • Health and wellbeing

…is relevant to science engagement field experience of the Covid-19 pandemic

The 2022 Ecsite Conference comes after difficult years for the world and our field. Sessions reflecting on our communities’ experience of the pandemic and lessons learned are more than welcome this year.

…brings new, unusual or younger faces to the Conference

The Conference relies on fresh perspectives. Having at least one speaker who is new to the Ecsite Annual Conference or from a different professional background makes your chances higher. Use the Conference Forum to get in touch with peers from around the globe – discuss topics and find speakers and convenors for your sessions!


What are the most successful session formats?

Previous Ecsite Conference participants have been very clear in their feedback: they like interactive session formats, hands-on sessions, workshops and other types of sessions where they can actively contribute and debate. The ACPC will give priority to new and interactive session formats. Don’t hesitate to suggest a format which is not listed below.

Panel session

In a panel session, the convenor introduces the speakers who then each present their views to the audience. The session can have a maximum of four speakers and one convenor (the convenor should not be a speaker) to provide enough time for discussion (at least 20 minutes at the end of the session). We encourage proposals that offer different perspectives on a topic to promote more constructive critique and debate.

Reverse session

In this session type, the speakers each provide a very short introduction on the topic at hand. With the help of the convenor, they then will guide an open discussion. Most of the session’s time is dedicated to an active discussion between the audience and the speakers.

Interactive session / workshop

This type of session is structured to enable in-depth exploration of one topic. The session should be practical, interactive and actively involve all participants. For instance, a workshop can be a science demonstration, a game, a show or a short training course. Participants are encouraged to submit additional formats such as world cafés, PechaKuchas, roundtable sessions, “speed-dating” sessions …

In depth

This is a session format that allows for a deeper discussion or more concrete learning during the conference.  These sessions will have 2 session slots blocked for them (2x 75 minutes, with a break in between). We will accept a very small number of these sessions so make sure yours is extra relevant and uses a mix of methods to engage participants.

Pre-Conference workshop

Whole-day session on the Wednesday before the Conference, for a much smaller group of participants. These training sessions or workshops allow participants to dig deeper into specific topics. At proposal stage, concentrate on the "why" and the "who" of your pre-Conference workshop and give a broad outline of the "how" (the different steps or stages of the workshop: highlights are enough at this stage). If your proposal is accepted, you'll have more time to put together a detailed schedule. If you've not organised a pre-Conference workshop before, we recommend you have a quick chat with the Events team at the Ecsite office before putting a proposal together: we'll tell you more about this specific format. Get in touch at wgajewski@ecsite.eu.


How long is a typical session?

The duration of a typical session is 75 minutes.


What are the 'In depth' sessions?

This is a session format that allows for a deeper discussion or more concrete learning during the Conference. These sessions will have 2 session slots blocked for them (2 x 75 minutes). We will only accept a very small number of these sessions so make sure yours is extra relevant and uses a mix of methods to engage participants.


Help! I cannot add a speaker (and/or convenor) to my session.

You can find speakers and convenors by typing their first or last name in the dedicated search field of the session. If the person you’re trying to add doesn't appear in the drop-down list, it can be one of two possibilities. Either that person isn't registered as a user on our website (see next question) or that person used a different first or last name that you aren't aware of. Contact them and ask for more details.

How to add a speaker (or convenor) who isn’t registered yet?

Speakers and convenors need to be registered to be added to session proposals. Please urge them to sign in.

Can I create an account for another user?

An account is personal and subject to privacy policies. If you cannot get a hold of your speaker, worry not - add their name, job title and organisation to the proposal abstract, together with their contribution to the session. If your session gets accepted, contact the Ecsite Office for help with this speakers' account.


Where can I find my session(s)?

All your sessions are listed under your Ecsite account profile, click here to check it! You can also take a look at the Conference programme.


I want to prepare my presentation, is there a template? 

Yes, a template will be provided in the coming months. But feel also free to use your own slides if you prefer. 


I didn't find my question in this FAQ section…

Don’t worry! Please email wgajewski@ecsite.eu with your question and the communications team will happily answer your question (and perhaps add it to the FAQs!)



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