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IMCC5 Special Events

The organizers of the 5th International Conservation Congress—held in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia—have planned a full schedule of special events for socializing, learning, networking, and fun. We want to provide time for you to get to know your fellow IMCC5 delegates in a less formal setting, as relationships built at IMCCs have a history of impacting researc, careers, collaborations, and friendships. A variety of special events will take place throughout IMCC5 and OceansOnline, from Sunday June 24th to Friday June 29th 2018. Some of the events require pre-registration and/or a registration fee. Special Event descriptions can be found below. 

If you are a delegate with a disability and would like to attend a special event that indicates walking to the venue is required, please contact IMCC5 Chair Edward Hind-Ozan or IMCC5 Diversity Chair Luli Martinez. We would be more than happy to accommodate your transport to the event. 

Opening Social

Closing Gala

Make for the Planet Borneo: June 24-29

International Marine Kids Congress

Interactive Grant Writing Workshop with National Geographic

WWF Education for Nature Global Conference

Student Social

Conservation Conversations: Student Speed Networking Event


Opening Social

Sunday, June 24 (17:00 - 22:00) @ The Grand Margherita Hotel: Join your fellow delegates at the premier venue on Kuching's world famous waterfront for food, drinks, and live music. This event is free of charge, but you are advised to bring cash to purchase extra drinks.


Closing Gala

Thursday, June 28 (17:00 - 22:30) @ The Sarawak Cultural Village: IMCC5 will close at the most unique venue in Borneo. You will be whisked away from the conference venue (via a short bus journey) to a rainforest clearing, where you will experience local culture, local food, and much music within the setting of one of Malaysia's most authentic tribal longhouses. It promises to be the IMCC closing galas of IMCC closing galas. Tickets for this event are heavily subsidised and can be purchased via the conference registration system. Return to Kuching will be via shuttle buses leaving at regular intervals.


Make for the Planet Borneo: June 24-29

To ensure a better future for our planet, conservation experts need to work with solutions, technologies, and expertise from diverse fields to greatly improve the efficacy, speed, cost, scale, and sustainability of conservation efforts. Ocean acidification, invasive species, marine protection, overfishing, coral reef degradation – we are aware of the many problems faced by our oceans, and humankind has the ingenuity and optimism to solve them!

How can you help solve ocean conservation challenges? Help create solutions to challenging marine conservation problems at Make for the Planet Borneo in front of a global audience at the 5th International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC5) in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia June 24-29, 2018! Team applications are open now through April 1st, 2018. Apply here!

Make for the Planet is an exciting, fast-paced, collaborative, and hands-on invention competition for multidisciplinary teams to build software and/or hardware solutions in response to specific conservation challenges. Conservation X Labs will host up to 15 teams from Malaysia and surrounding countries to compete in Make for the Planet Borneo. This is a team competition/hackathon to create hardware and/or software solutions to specific marine conservation challenges. Teams work to solve global conservation challenges through creative and transformative solutions that harness emerging science and technology, entrepreneurship, and design. The event will engage students and practitioners from multiple fields – engineering, design, do-it-yourself making, computer programming, science and technology, etc. – to create solutions for five specific marine conservation challenges. Teams will have access to a pop-up makerspace with prototyping equipment, including 3D printers and electronics stations. Mentors from the IMCC5 delegation and local organizations will be on-hand to help guide the multidisciplinary teams. During the event, teams will build physical and/or digital representations of their solutions for review by a panel of judges. Because no global conservation challenge can be solved in a 5-day marathon of making and coding, selected teams will be awarded cash prizes to continue developing and improving their ideas. You can find more information about this exciting event here!

Read about the Washington D.C. Make for the Planet during the Smithsonian's Earth Optimism Summit in April, 2017.

Important Dates

April 1st: Team applications due
April 3rd: Notify invited teams
June 8th: Post Conservation Challenges for the teams
June 24th: Teams arrive at the venue no later than 3 pm local time
June 24th: Teams participate in a 2-hour IMCC5 workshop (W116) from 4-6 pm local time
June 25th: Conservation Experts present challenges in an IMCC5 symposia (S191)
June 27th: Teams present solutions at the IMCC5 evening poster session to a panel of reviewers
June 28th: Finalists present solutions to a panel of judges in an IMCC5 symposia (S197) & receive awards

1st International Marine Kids Congress (IMKC)

IMCC5 organizers are happy to officially introduce the 1st International Marine Kids Congress (IMKC)!

Organized and led by qualified science instructors, IMKC will run along IMCC5 and engage 30 school-aged children (ages 7 through 14) in science education, marine biology, environmental conservation, and experiential learning. Participants will visit at least one local ecosystem to directly observe its wildlife, engage in a shoreline clean-up project, and carry out a small-scale research project focused on the marine or coastal environment. Participants will include local youth from Sarawak and children of delegates. By interacting with science instructors and marine science professionals in a coastal city like Kuching, these children will experience a connection to the ocean that they may have never truly appreciated while also gaining a sense of empowerment to protect this fragile ecosystem. The inaugural and one-of-a kind event will incorporate science, education, outreach, communication, and adventures! Some of the highlights include:

  • Lessons on the scientific method, student-led projects, and an IMKC poster session
  • Melissa Marquez from The Fins United Initiative as Plenary Speaker
  • Hand-on, STEM-based laboratory activities on estuaries, marine debris/plastics, and salinity
  • Activities with a local artist centered around environmental awareness
  • Excursions that may include mangrove and dolphin-watching, Semenggoh Wildlife Center, and local-led city tour of Kuching
  • Beach/estuary clean up and trash inventory
  • Movie screening and discussion

This project represents the first of anticipated subsequent Kids Congresses focused on engaging tomorrow’s ocean leaders in marine science education and inspiring within them a lifelong appreciation for our oceans.
For more information email Patrick Goff or Keni Rienks.


Interactive Grant Writing Workshop with the National Geographic Society

The National Geographic Society (NGS) will be hosting an interactive workshop to assist grant applicants in developing project ideas and application materials while fostering collaboration and innovation. This one-and-a-half-day workshop will be held June 29-30, 2018, in Kuching, Malaysia. NGS will cover the costs of one additional night’s accommodation and meals on workshop days for workshop attendees.

NGS grant opportunities open on a quarterly basis and fall under a wide variety of scientific disciplines in three focus areas: Changing Planet, Wildlife, and Human Journey. We invest in bold people and transformative ideas in the fields of conservation, education, research, storytelling, and technology. In addition, NGS hosts requests for proposals to address current environmental and socioeconomic challenges. For more information and for an application form, please see: What We Fund.

Important: all workshop participants are expected to submit a workshop expression of interest and grant application (or previous application from the past two years) for review by May 1, 2018. Note: participation in the workshop is not required to apply for a NGS grant.


Purpose of the workshop

The workshop is intended to provide information about and practice developing key attributes of a successful NGS grant. In addition, the in-person workshop will encourage collaborations across disciplines and sectors to help cultivate new ideas and innovation. The workshop will provide an opportunity for individuals to interact and help each other develop and improve project ideas, and connect potential grantees with NGS staff. 


Attendee eligibility

  • NGS welcomes workshop applications from individuals residing in these countries: Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam.
  • All attendees must have completed and submitted an NGS grant application by May 1, 2018
  • Previous applicants to NGS grant opportunities within the last two years are also strongly encouraged to apply (and do not need to re-submit a grant application, unless they would like to).


How to apply to attend the workshop

Participation in the workshop is by application and subsequent invitation only.

Please indicate interest by filling out this form here: https://natgeo.tfaforms.net/59 and fill out the application online: https://www.nationalgeographic.org/grants.

Applications to participate in the workshop are accepted until 11:59pm May 1, 2018, EST. A sample application form is available: https://media.nationalgeographic.org/assets/file/NGS_Sample_Grant_Application_Jan_2018.pdf.

You will be notified by May 21 if you are successful. If your application is not accepted for the workshop, it will be considered in the next grant cycle (notification of funding in October).


Workshop details

Location: Waterfront Hotel, Kuching, Sarawak

Dates: Friday June 29 (half day) and Saturday June 30 (full day). Note that June 30 will include workshop attendees who are also participating in the 55th Annual Meeting of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC). Space will be limited to ~10 participants from IMCC and ~10 from ATBC.


WWF Education for Nature Global Conference

WWF’s Russell E. Train Education for Nature Program (EFN) is hosting its second global conference in Kuching, Malaysia from June 30 – July 1, 2018. The event is taking place between two significant international conferences (IMCC and ATBC) and will provide a unique space for conservationists from across Africa, Asia, and Latin America to share ideas, foster collaboration, and build understanding of important conservation issues.

During this two-day event, current and past WWF-supported leaders will facilitate discussions on issues of importance to the global conservation community, including: inclusion and diversity, data gaps, capacity development, and expanding participation through the creation of local NGOs.

WWF has a limited number of spots open to IMCC5 participants. If you are interested in attending, please contact Andrea Santy, Director, Education for Nature at andrea.santy@wwf.org. Preference will be given to proven and potential conservation leaders from Africa, Asia and Latin America.

For more information, please visit our conference website at https://shellyjackson.wixsite.com/2ndefnevent.


Student Social

Tuesday, 26 June 19:00-20:30 @ The Sarawak River Cruise

This evening cruise on the Sarawak River will be a chance to meet other student and early-career delegates in a casual atmosphere. There will be panoramic views of the city, refreshments, a cash bar, and Karaoke for the brave! (*Now full).


Conservation Conversations: Student Speed Networking Event

Thursday, 28 June 12:00-13:30 in the Ranyai Ballroom

During this event, you’ll get a chance to talk to marine conservation professionals and researchers from a variety of backgrounds in small groups, practicing elevator pitches and other networking skills. This event will be a great chance to meet other delegates from all career stages. Please bring your own lunch.