Call for contributions

The Science in Public Conference 2019 will be held in Manchester, UK from Wednesday 10 to Friday 12 July 2019.

Science in Public is an interdisciplinary annual conference addressing how scientific practice, science communication, science policy, and representations of science interact with the wider world. We aim to bring together researchers and practitioners from a variety of fields to explore how activities and understandings in these fields have developed in the past, where they now stand, and how they might develop in future.

Conference theme and aims

This year’s theme is ‘the global and the local’. We are particularly keen to encourage proposals addressing questions such as the following:

  • What lessons can we learn from science communication practice, public engagement, and science policy work that’s built around the needs of local communities or local opportunities?

  • What are the opportunities and pitfalls of scaling up locally successful approaches to address wider audiences?

  • How can the international research community benefit from taking a broader range of global perspectives – in particular, perspectives from the global South – into account?

  • Does the global reach of large online media platforms threaten established approaches to science communication at the national or local level?

  • How has the professed universality of science influenced attempts to speak to multiple audiences, or bring different audiences together? What are the practical limitations of this approach?

Another priority for this year’s conference is to increase engagement between science communication practitioners and the research community. We are offering a number of bursaries (see below) to aid practitioner attendance, and are looking to include the widest possible range of perspectives in the programme content.

Presentation and display formats

This year, we are trialling a variety of formats which we hope will appeal to a wide range of researchers and practitioners:  

Panel discussion. Thematic panels will be given 90 minutes of session time. Panel organisers may propose to distribute this time between speaker presentations, commentary and general discussion as they choose, but we may give priority to proposals that include a larger or more diverse range of contributors. Panel organisers should make their own arrangements for chairing. Larger-scale activities running over two sessions may be possible, but please contact us in advance to discuss what you have in mind.

Individual research presentations. Speakers will be given 15 minutes to present, followed by time for audience questions. Co-presentations with more than one speaker (within the same 15-minute slot) are welcome. Presenters do not need to submit full texts. We will group individual presentations into sessions based, as far as possible, on similarities in theme.

Lightning talks. Speaker will be given 5 minutes to present, as part of a series of talks with audience questions at the end. We are particularly keen to receive lightning talk proposals that showcase the work of a particular project in science communication practice or research.

Scratch demo presentations. We also encourage science communication practitioners to offer demonstrations or informal discussions of practice, open to feedback from the audience. These should work for a seated audience, but can use any presentation approach that’s practical for the venue: bear in mind that presenters will be responsible for marshalling any props into and out of the space with a quick turnaround, and will also have to manage any out-of-the-ordinary risk assessment considerations themselves. The standard time slot will be 15 minutes, but we are open to alternative proposals. If you have a complex or unusual idea, please contact the organisers directly in advance.

Sci-comm Marketplace. We plan to set aside some sessions on the programme for a 'marketplace' of stall-based displays of other participants’ work. These will be in several forms:

  • Conventional academic-style research posters. Presenters should be available to discuss their posters during the marketplace session.

  • Stalls with interactive tabletop activities, showcasing an outreach activity or demonstrating a concept - running on a drop-in basis throughout the session.

  • Stalls presenting information about your project and/or organisation (with interactive elements also welcomed).

  • We are also hoping to set aside space in the marketplace for looping display of videos, with a later session for video creators to discuss their work and take audience questions (assuming sufficiently many videos are submitted).

Marketplace activities will mostly be confined to dedicated session slots, so you will still be able to attend presentations during the rest of the conference. Participants should be prepared to be present on their stall/by their entry for all of the designated marketplace session(s), but should aim to bring multiple participants if possible, or arrange cover, to allow them to visit the other stalls during the session.

Submitting your proposal

Proposals should be submitted using this button.

Proposals for research presentations, lightning talks, scratch demo presentations, stalls and tabletop activities, posters and video presentations should include an abstract or overview of up to 250 words.

Panel proposals, and proposals for larger-scale demo presentations (as arranged in discussion with the conference organisers) should include an abstract/session description of up to 400 words, including brief details of speakers or other contributors and their presentation titles or specific contributions as appropriate. Please make sure that all contributors are committed in principle to attending before including their details.

The deadline for these submissions is 23:00 (GMT) on Friday the 29th March 2019.

We expect to provide notifications of acceptance by 23:00 (GMT) on Friday the 26th April 2019.

Policy on multiple submissions

Our priority is to allow as many attendees as possible to contribute to the conference, and so we will not usually consider more than one proposal per person (including named speakers in panel proposals). However, we also recognise that some collaborative activities may depend on the involvement of participants who also wish to offer individual proposals. For further guidance, please contact us with details in advance of the submission deadline.

In addition to the above statement, we actively encourage attendees to also submit a proposal to the Sci-comm Marketplace, which also offers an opportunity to communicate your session proposal in an alternative format. For example, attendees who are submitting an individual research presentation on the role of virtual reality in science communication might also want to submit a proposal to the Sci-comm marketplace for other delegates to experience the findings of the research.