Session submission guidelines

The BNA2025 Programme Organising Committee welcomes symposia and workshop submissions for the International Festival of Neuroscience, which will be held in Liverpool, 27-30 April 2025. 

Please read the below requirements before submitting proposals. If you have any queries, please contact [email protected]

Deadline for submissions = 23:59 BST 31st May 2024

General information
Format for symposia
Format for workshops
Speaker selection
Speaker travel and expenses
Submission process
Review and Selection process

General information

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

We particularly welcome proposals in the following areas: 

  1. Aging and Neurodegeneration
  2. Behavioural neuroscience
  3. Brain repair and regeneration
  4. Brain/Body interactions
  5. Computational and theoretical neuroscience
  6. Human cognitive neuroscience
  7. Neurodevelopment, stem cells and associated disorders
  8. Neurons & Glia: physiology, cell-cell communication and plasticity
  9. Neuropharmacology
  10. Neurotechnology & AI
  11. Novel methods and technology development
  12. Other (history of neuroscience, PPIE etc)
  13. Other neurological and genetic disorders
  14. Psychiatry & Mental Health
  15. Training & Education
  16. Treatments & Translational Neuroscience

All sessions will be considered by the BNA2025 Programme Organising Committee, who will pay particular attention to: 

  • Content that will have a broad appeal across the BNA membership, attract non-members to attend and encourage exhibitors to the conference. 
  • Inclusion of talks that present a broad overview across the sector (i.e. preclinical, clinical and industrial perspectives)  
  • Inclusion of both high-profile prominent speakers and outstanding early career researchers 


Format for Symposia 

Each symposium is 105 minutes in length and consists of four talks; each talk is therefore 20 minutes long followed by up to 5 minutes for Q&A. 

Chair(s) introduction 

2-3 min 

Speaker 1 presentation and Q&A 

25 min 

Speaker 2 presentation and Q&A 

25 min 

Speaker 3 presentation and Q&A 

25 min 

Speaker 4 presentation and Q&A 

25 min 

Chair(s) closing remarks 

2-3 min 

  • The four speakers must be from different institutions/organisations. 
  • At least one speaker must be an Early Career Researcher (ECR) (within 5 years of their highest degree qualification) 
  • Each session must have 2 co-chairs (these may also be speakers), one of which must be an ECR 
  • If required, up to 50% of symposium speakers may present their talk online instead of in-person. Online speakers must be able to attend the sessions live to respond to Q&A. 
  • You may propose a non-speaking Chair, however please note that the non-speaking Chair will not receive a complimentary Festival pass or be entitled to speaker travel expenses.


Format for Workshops 

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

  • Each workshop is 105 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. 
  • Workshops must not consist of solely one-way delivery of presentations, but instead include more interactive and participatory elements. 


Speaker selection 

  • To support a diverse programme, we encourage you to select speakers who have not recently presented at a BNA Festival or event. Likewise, speakers should contribute to no more than 2 symposia/workshops during the Festival. You may be notified if one of your selected speakers is involved in multiple sessions and may be asked to source an alternative speaker.  
  • While we seek to secure high profile speakers within each symposium, we are mindful of our responsibilities to promote equality of opportunity and asks submitters to adopt a broad understanding of diversity, examples of which may include demographic differences, geography, and sector (academic, commercial, charity and/or clinical). As part of the application process, we will ask you to outline how you have considered Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in creating your proposal.  
  • The BNA aspires to achieve a gender balance in symposia and workshop submissions (no more than 60% of either gender) which we ask applicants to consider in preparing their programme. We also ask that you include at least one early career researcher (ECR) in your session. 
  • Proposals should be submitted on the understanding that organisers have informed speakers of the submission, including the meeting dates and location. 


Speaker travel and expenses 

The BNA will provide speakers with a complimentary Full Festival pass from 27 – 30 April, allowing access to all sessions.

As a charity, the amount to which the BNA can financially support a symposium or workshop is limited, and therefore we encourages applicants to pro-actively seek sponsorship to cover speaker/chair expenses.  If funding is unavailable, speakers will be able to apply to a limited BNA Speaker reimbursement fund.

Please note - if you are submitting on behalf of a Partner Organisation/Festival Friend - Partner Organisations are responsible for speaker travel and accommodation expenses for their symposia and/or workshops. The BNA can undertake all administration of speaker reimbursement on the Partner Organisation’s behalf, for a fee.


Submission process  

To submit a session, you will need to complete an online form. We are not able to accept submissions as word documents or emails. 

When you click on the submission link, you will be directed to the application portal. You will need the following information to submit your application: 

  • Your details as the submitter 
  • Session details including title and a short description for marketing the session  
  • Key words relating to the session  
  • The full name, email, organisation, career stage, gender, ethnicity and talk title for each speaker 
  • Details of why this session is important, any identified sponsors and publication opportunities   
  • Statement of how you have considered Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in your application and met the aims of creating a diverse session 
  • Information about session sponsorship or funding available 


Review and Selection process 

All proposals will be reviewed by members of the BNA2025 Programme Organising Committee, headed by the POC Co-Chairs Dr Dayne Beccano-Kelly, Cardiff University and Dr Dorothy Tse, Edge Hill University. The committee will consider each proposal according to the criteria above. They may also contact the submitter to discuss the proposal before accepting, e.g. to suggest some changes so that it meets the objectives of the meeting more effectively. 

Symposia/workshop organisers will be informed in June 2024 if their session has been successful. The timetable will be allocated shortly afterwards and you will be notified of the date and time of the session. 

Only the proposer will receive notification of the final Committee decision, and they are responsible to communicate the result to all other chairs and speakers. 

Thank you for submitting your proposal to the International Festival of Neuroscience. By contributing to the scientific programme, you are supporting us to create an innovative and engaging conference experience for our community.