Partner organisation BNA2023 submission guidelines

Partner Organisations guidelines

These guidelines apply to sessions owned by Partner Organisations.  If you are not submitting on behalf of a partner organisation, please click here instead!

Please make sure you carefully read all the way through these guidelines so that your proposal is eligible for consideration. Sessions which do not meet these requirements will not be considered.

Deadline for submissions = 23:59 BST 31st May 2022


Read below for:

  1. General information
  2. Equity, diversity and inclusion
  3. How to submit a proposal
  4. Selection process
  5. Speaker travel and expenses

General Information

  • Proposals should be submitted on the understanding that organisers have informed speakers of the meeting date and location, and speakers have confirmed they will attend if the proposal is accepted.
  • None of the speakers can have presented a talk at the previous Festival of Neuroscience held online in April 2021* - see list here. This is in order to widen the opportunity to speak at the Festival as much as possible.
  • In addition, any individual can only speak in one session during the 2023 Festival.**
  • New for 2023: speakers will have the option of presenting their talk online instead of in-person, but no more than 50% of speakers in any one session can present online, and those who are online must be able to attend the sessions live to respond to Q&A.
  • Festival Partners or Partner Organisations have ownership of one or more symposia.
  • Although Partners are free to choose topics and speakers for their symposia, they must still follow the requirements stated in these Guidelines and be subject to review by the POC. The POC may request changes to be made to a symposium proposal submitted by a Partner before accepting it for inclusion.
  • Speakers taking part in a Partner symposium receive complimentary registration from the BNA.

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Equity, diversity and inclusion

  • All proposals must align with the BNA’s Policy for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.
  • As well as having a range of career stages represented within each session, it is expected that proposals will provide, as far as possible, representation across ethnicity, gender, geography and sector (academic, commercial, charity and/or clinical).
  • Proposals which are populated exclusively by men will not be considered.

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How to submit a proposal

Firstly, please consider whether the topic of your session would be best suited to be a symposium or a special interest workshop (see below detailed descriptions).

Symposia: Symposia should present a topic that showcases important, relevant, up-to-date neuroscience research or other topics of interest to neuroscientists.

  • Each symposium is 100 minutes in length and consists of four talks; each talk is therefore 20 minutes long followed by 5 minutes for Q&A.
  • The four speakers must be from different institutions/organisations.
  • At least one speaker must be a leader of the field and should be recognised for having made or be making an important contribution to their field. 
  • At least one speaker must be an Early Career Researcher (ECR), where ECR is defined as someone who would be eligible for undergraduate, postgraduate, career starter or ECR membership of the BNA: see definitions at bna.org.uk/about/membership.
  • Two of the four speakers must co-chair the symposium
  • One of these co-chairs must be an ECR
  • Although the symposium organisers can propose a non-speaking Chair, if wished, the non-speaking Chair will not receive a complimentary Festival pass or be entitled to speaker travel expenses.

Workshops: Workshops should focus on topics of wide interest (e.g. policy, careers, science culture, funding, grant-writing, publishing, reproducibility, short courses, neuroethics etc.) 

  • Each workshop is 100 minutes in length. Their format can include presentations, panel Q&A, small group discussion, worked examples, or other formats. Workshop organisers can also provide materials to attendees prior to the session.
  • We particularly welcome workshops that do not consist of solely one-way delivery of presentations, but instead include more interactive and participatory elements.    
  • Workshops typically consist of 3-6 participants including a chairperson, although there is no limit to the number of participants (within reason). 

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Selection process

All proposals will be reviewed by members of the POC, headed by the POC Co-Chairs Professor Sarah Guthrie and Dr Dayne Beccano-Kelly. The POC will consider each proposal on its own merits, as well as the Festival programme as a whole, when deciding whether or not to include. They may also contact the organiser to discuss the proposal before accepting, e.g. to suggest some changes so that it meets the objectives of the meeting more effectively.

Criteria the POC will assess when reviewing proposals include:

  • How well it meets the criteria specified in these guidelines
  • Importance of the neuroscience research covered in the proposal
  • Overlap with other symposia/workshop proposals
  • Interest in the ideas and techniques
  • Quality of the research and the speakers
  • For symposia - relevance and interest level of the topic
  • For workshops – likely level of demand by the neuroscience community
  • They will also look to check for undeclared Conflicts of Interest or inappropriate use of sessions, for example whether the proposal markets a specific product or service.

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Speaker travel and expenses

Travel expenses for speakers in Partner sessions are the responsibility of the Partnering Organisation, not the BNA. If you are submitting a symposium proposal for a Partner Organisation/Festival Partner session, please ensure your speakers know what travel expenses they are entitled to and any rules/policies that will apply to their travel claims.


* There may be some exceptions if, for instance, the reason/purpose for them speaking is very different and nobody else would be able to present on the same topic.

** If an individual’s name appears in more than one proposal, the Programme Organising Committee (POC) will work with the symposium organiser to seek an alternative speaker.

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