Best-Practice Guidelines for Conference Convenors


Best-Practice Guidelines for Conference Conveners

Timeline IFTR

Months -36 to -24:     Proposal phase
Personnel: Academic team

  • Letter of intent sent to ExCom, 36 months prior to conference
  • Proposal to IFTR after encouragement of ExCom to pursuit the planning, 26 months prior to conference
  • Formal approval of proposal by ExCom, no later than 18 month prior to conference

Months -22 to -18:     Planning, phase 1
Personnel: Academic team

  • First meeting with Organizing Committee, distribution of tasks/areas of responsibilities
    (Personnel: Academic lead and sub-team)
  • Rough draft of schedule, timeslots, need of rooms etc.
  • Schedule venues for large events (Farewell party, opening, closing, ExCom meetings, in case of World Congress also: general assembly)
  • First ideas on Social Programme
  • Applications for financial support from research foundations, public institutions
  • Workshop with former conference coordinators from IFTR
  • Site visit of IFTR president

Months -18 to -12:     Planning, phase 2, preparation for launch at conference
Personnel: Academic team, designer, presenters at conference

  • Creation of graphic profile, logo, promotional materials for launch at conference preceding own conference
  • Launch at conference preceding own conference
  • Launch of website in cooperation with IFTR communications officer and start of conference updates on IFTR's Facebook site and Twitter channel
  • Contact potential keynote speakers
  • Transfer of seed money from IFTR to conference conveners

Months -12 to -6:      Planning, phase 3, call for papers and abstract submission
Personnel: Academic team, communications team

  • Workshop with last year’s conference conveners at your site
  • Finalizing call for papers
  • Creating form for abstract submission at Cambridge Journals Online
  • Release of call for papers and opening of abstract submission 10 months prior to conference
  • Communication with Working Group conveners and WG sub-committee concerning the individual call for papers of WGs, 10 months prior to conference
  • Communication with Bursary sub-committee and NSF sub-committee, 8 months prior to conference
  • Negotiating conditions for accommodation, sponsoring, book stands
  • Recruiting volunteers and on-site coordinator
  • Continually updating website, Facebook and Twitter
  • By month -8 (Nov./Dec.) at the very latest this information needs to be on the website:

o   The venue

o   Places to stay (including discounts from individual hotels)

o   Bursaries

o   Registration

o   Abstract submission

o   Social & cultural Programme

o   Keynote speakers

o   Contact email address

Months -6 to -1:        Planning, phase 4, realizing the conference
Personnel: Academic team, Administrator/on-site co-ordinator, communications team, Volunteer lead, Editing team

  • Administrator/onsite coordinator in post
  • Closing of submission of abstracts
  • Communication with CJO on conference registration and ticket booking
  • Send abstract proposals to WG conveners, with deadline for decision on acceptance/rejection, 4 month prior to conference (rejected WG abstract proposals can be reconsidered for GP, but should not be sent to NSF!)
  • Send abstract proposals to NSF sub-committee, with deadline for decision on acceptance/rejection, 4 month prior to conference
  • Call in of selection committee for general conference proposals.
  • Send out acceptance/rejection letters to all delegates after communication with selection committee for GP, WG conveners and NSF sub-committee, 3 months prior to conference, copy in conveners in communications
  • Send regular news letter to conference delegates
  • Creation of conference program
  • Production of book of abstracts, program book
  • Finalizing info on website (Conference book, Book of abstracts, Sponsors and publishers)

Months -1 to 0:          Hot phase before conference
Personnel: Academic team, Administrator/on-site co-ordinator, communications team, Volunteer team

  • Online registration closing 5 weeks prior to conference
  • Program book sent to print after online registration has closed to be able to include latest changes
  • Order conference bags and info materials
  • Creation of practical info for conference delegates on transportation, venues, technical setup of rooms etc.
  • Sending mail to conference chairs regarding best practices of chairing a panel, share contact info of panelists from their sessions

Month 0:                    Conference phase
Personnel: Academic team, Administrator/on-site co-ordinator, Volunteer team

  • Working schedule for volunteers and organizing team
  • Provide emergency info kit for volunteers and organizing team
  • Provide info desk with online access and credit card machines
  • Conference registration

Months 0 to +2:         Post-conference phase
Personnel: Academic team

  • Submission of report and bills to IFTR

Accessibility Requirements

The following accessibility requirements must be met:

  • An accessibility Plan to be included in conference proposals
  • Selection of conference accommodation to include accessible rooms/hotel options
  • A point of contact to be included in the conference organising team (i.e. someone who can be contacted for information regarding access issues and to advise on and help find solutions to meet specific needs)
  • A quiet room to be designated during the conference

Accessibility initiatives beyond these requirements are very much encouraged and can be proposed to and discussed with IFTR’s Executive Committee.  

General suggestions

  • Conference conveners should be provided with

o   emergency phone contact at CJO

o   emergency phone contact at IFTR (one of the former organisers)

  • Insertion of 'check-in' points with IFTR and CJO to liaise with the hosts to ensure milestones are met or on track
  • Book of Abstracts and Program Book should be available in digital form at least one week before the conference
  • Program Book should be printed and made available on site at check-in
  • Panel planning for general conference program

o   International groups make panels more interesting

o   A mix of junior and senior scholars in one panel is preferable

o   Curated panels from WGs should not be scheduled in parallel sessions

  • If a second conference language is chosen translations (simultaneous, in print) should be considered
  • Some WGs require specific working spaces, please take contact at an early stage
  • General deadlines:

o   First week of December, Bursary applications to IFTR sub-committee

o   First week of January, Abstract Submissions

o   First week of February, WGs and IFTR sub-committee for NSF send list of accepted proposals

o   First week of March, Acceptance letter to conference delegates (GP, WG, NSF)

  • General IFTR policy does not allow any Skype talk to replace a paper presentation
  • Cancellation policy needs to be decided by conference conveners

GDPR Compliance

IFTR is strictly compliant with GDPR protocols. Article 5.0 of the Cambridge University Press’ Privacy Notice ( [] states that IFTR members’ data will be distributed to third parties. Third parties include, but are not limited to, conference organisers, and members of the Executive Committee (data processors). Data processors should only collect necessary data. Data processors must ensure that all data stored on digital devices is password protected. You are required to have a password that is only known to those who need specific access to the file. The same password cannot be replicated or be applicable to other files on any digital device. The password must be lengthy and complex, and it must include numbers, letters and symbols. Data processors are not entitled to distribute this data to any other third parties whatsoever. IFTR members are allowed to request erasure (‘right to be forgotten’) at any time. All data must be deleted from all electronic devices immediately after the data is no longer needed and/or it has expired. For more information, please contact the Secretary General, Communications, directly.

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