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IMCC5 Call for Proposals:



Workshops, Symposia, Focus Groups, OceansOnline sessions

The 5th International Marine Conservation Congress, with the theme Making Marine Science Matter, will be held from 24 - 28 June 2018 at the Waterfront Hotel, Kuching, Malaysia (KCH). OceansOnline will be held 29 June 2018.

The Call for Proposals will open 7 September 2017 and close 16 October 2017. Decision emails will be sent by 3 December 2017. For more information on the call, please see below.

All proposals have to be submitted via the online submission form HERE. Please visit the ‘IMCC for All’ page if you need the submission form made available in a different format or language. The information below includes guidelines for submitting proposals for workshops, symposia, focus groups and OceansOnline sessions.

If you have questions, comments, or need assistance, please email the IMCC5 Organizing Committee.

Information for the Call for Abstracts for oral (spoken), speed (short spoken), and poster presentations will be published in January 2018 and will be available on a separate page soon.

On This Page:
Congress Theme

The overall theme of the Congress is Making Marine Science Matter. For marine conservation to be effective, marine conservation science must matter to stakeholders, policy makers, and practitioners. To accomplish this, the Congress will be organized around specific topics of interest for marine conservation in general, as well as the local geographic region. This list is not meant to be exhaustive but merely a guide for proposers. Others topics of interest are absolutely welcomed.

  • Communicating marine conservation
  • Fisheries, aquaculture, and the oceans
  • Marine food security
  • Conservation and management of the Arctic and Antarctic
  • Conservation and management of tropical marine ecosystems
  • Conservation engineering
  • Ocean science technology
  • Marine energy
  • Marine policy
  • Climate, ocean acidification, and the changing oceans
  • Culture and the marine environment
  • Advancing marine conservation through international treaties
  • Effective marine conservation planning
  • Participation in marine conservation science (e.g. citizen and indigenous science)
  • Marine tourism
  • Estuary and coastal restoration
  • Conservation at the land-sea interface
  • The marine conservation community

In addition, the Society for Conservation Biology Marine Section developed a list of 71 research questions critical to the advancement of marine conservation. We encourage proposals that address one or more of these questions.

OceansOnline proposals should be relevant to marine conservation communication, online tools, and resources for marine conservation and science. Proposals for OceansOnline should select the “OceansOnline” category and sub-category of workshop, tool demonstration or facilitated discussion.

Criteria for Selection

We strongly encourage proposals from individuals and groups involved in cutting-edge marine conservation science or practice that can demonstrate how their proposed symposium, workshop, or focus group “makes marine science matter.” We also encourage proposals that align with a specific topic(s) of interest and/or addresses one or more of the 71 research questions. We will review, however, all marine science and marine conservation proposals. Our key criterion for prioritizing submissions is proposals that “make marine science matter.”

All symposia and focus groups are expected to produce tangible and actionable outputs that could advance marine conservation (e.g., white paper, policy statement, peer-reviewed publication in conference proceedings, website, etc.). You will be asked at submission to provide details on the outputs of your symposium and the potential benefiting agencies. You will also be asked about your plans for funding organiser/presenter attendance at the symposium (e.g. through institutional funding, private finance, IMCC travel grants, etc.).

Limits on number of presentations per presenter
No individual may give more than one presentation in each of the following IMCC5 categories: symposium, contributed paper, contributed poster. However, they may organize a symposium in which they do not present and then present in another category. Symposium organizers may present in their own symposiums. There is no limit on the number of organizers per session, but organizers should play a substantial role in bringing the session together. Additionally, individuals may make a submission to OceansOnline in addition to any they have made to IMCC5.

Reviewers have access to all information contained in the proposal (with the exception of personal identifiers). Proposals are blind reviewed by at least three individuals. To increase the probability that your proposal will be selected for presentation, please consider the following criteria carefully:

  • Relevance to the overall theme of the Congress (Making Marine Science Matter) and the specific topics of interest and/or 71 research questions
  • Application to marine conservation / clear connection to conservation science, policy, management, practice
  • Quality of the proposal
  • Financial support for speaker attendance at the meeting (external support or self-funded participants)
  • Novelty of the topic (topic addresses a new question or problem, or approaches traditional questions from a novel perspective or in a new region. This is not a strict requirement but may give your proposal an advantage when all other criteria are met)

MOST IMPORTANTLY – proposals should clearly denote the proposed output for the focus group or symposium (e.g., whether it is a published action plan, workshop report, white paper, proposal, journal article/ special collection of articles). Focus groups and symposium organizers will be requested to commit to producing a tangible output and will not be approved without such commitment. Moreover, focus group/symposium organizers will likewise commit to keeping the IMCC5 program committee informed of publications or actions arising from their focus group or symposium.

Author registration rule
All organizers of accepted proposals and their invited speakers and attendees must register and be paid in full by the early registration deadline of 6 April 2018. Authors failing to comply with this rule will not be included in the Congress.

Financial support 
It is the responsibility of organizers of symposia, workshops, and discussion groups to obtain funding for their own expenses and those of their invited speakers or invited participants. SCB and the Local Organizing Committee are not responsible for obtaining funds to support speaker travel to the meeting and cannot guarantee that any support will be available. Any support that is available (e.g. travel grants) is identified on this page. Preference may be given to proposals for which organizers can demonstrate that funds are likely to be available.

Choosing the Category of Your Proposal

Please think carefully about the category that best meets your goals. Your proposal will only be considered for the category you choose. (OceansOnline proposals are the only exception to this rule. Explanation can be found at the bottom of this page.)*

Symposia address critical or cutting-edge marine conservation topics proposed by a facilitator and provide information to an audience with opportunity for interaction. Symposia will be scheduled during the primary days of the meeting (main scientific program). Symposia are two hours in length with, at a minimum, the last 15 minutes left open for discussion. 

Symposia talks will be 10 to 12 minutes with time reserved at the end for discussion. Symposia organizers must submit a symposium abstract explaining the topic of the symposia and list the expected contributors. Presenters of accepted symposia will be required to submit an individual abstract after the acceptance of the symposium during the regular call for abstracts. A symposium ID will be provided to organizers in the acceptance letter and this ID must also be included in the individual abstract submission to ensure placement in the appropriate symposium; please coordinate with your presenters so that all abstracts are submitted by the abstract deadline (Date TBD). All symposium organizers and speakers must register by the early registration, April 6, 2018.

Symposia that do not have all abstracts submitted may be dropped from the program. Instructions on how to submit will be provided in the notice of acceptance of your symposium proposal. It is also the responsibility of the symposium organizer to make sure that all speakers register according to the author registration rule.

We are passionate about encouraging diversity at IMCC5. We believe having everyone in the room leads to the greatest knowledge sharing, fostering informed discussion and heightened networking. Unfortunately, certain demographics, particularly women and people who identify as female, have been historically underrepresented at scientific conferences. Recent research demonstrated that a conference has more women speakers across the board when more women lead symposia. We are, therefore, offering a 20% discount on registration fees to female lead organizers of successful symposium submissions.


Workshops may be geared toward students or professionals, are more interactive than symposia and often have an educational/technical component. There will be two types of workshops – short workshops during lunch on days of the main scientific program and workshops held before or after the Congress. Workshops held during lunch will be approximately 1.5 hours in length. Workshops held before the scientific program can be any length, up to eight hours per day, and can be held for up to two days. All pre-congress workshops will be held at the Waterfront Hotel Kuching on Friday June 22 and/or Saturday June 23, 2018. Pre-meeting workshops will require a separate fee for participants in addition to the Congress registration fee to offset the additional costs of running the workshop. Any special needs or equipment might incur additional costs. These will be communicated at the time of acceptance of the proposal. All workshop organizers, tutors, and speakers must be registered for the congress as early bird registrants. The organizers reserve the right to cancel courses up to one month before the congress if the course does not have sufficient participants registered to cover the costs. There is no economic support or compensation from IMCC5 for the organizers of training courses.

All workshops require pre-booking during IMCC5 registration process. These courses will have limited capacity so please book early. Please contact the IMCC Program Committee with any questions.


Focus Groups
Focus Groups bring together people with diverse expertise to develop tangible and actionable outputs—such as a list of recommendations, publication, policy briefing or white paper—on a specific marine conservation issue. Focus groups can be held for up to two days, for two hours or longer in duration. To minimize conflict with symposia and contributed paper sessions, focus groups of greater than two hours (max. eight hours) will be scheduled before or after the main scientific program. Focus groups of two hours in duration will generally be scheduled during the main scientific program. Focus groups  are open to all delegates, unless designated "by invitation only." Focus groups that require pre-registration are marked "pre-registration is required." Focus groups are free to attend, but there is a limited capacity. Focus groups typically have a smaller number of participants (10-30 maximum). Pre-meeting and post-meeting focus groups will require a separate fee for participants in addition to the congress registration fee to offset the additional costs of running the focus group. Any special needs or equipment might incur additional costs. These will be communicated at the time of acceptance of the proposal. Please contact the IMCC Program Committee with any questions.


Symposium + Focus Group
To increase the opportunity for continued discussion, a Focus Group may be combined with a Symposium. If accepted, the Focus Group will be scheduled to follow the Symposium and we will do our best to schedule it for the same or next day. Combined Symposium+Focus Groups will run during the main congress. Please note that proposers are required to submit separate proposals for the Symposium and Focus Group, but must indicate that the proposals are linked. Proposers must justify the joint session and can add this request in the "Additional Comments" section of the application. Also note that it is possible that the Symposium can be accepted without the Focus Group (or the Focus Group without the Symposium) depending on the strength of the proposal, number of proposals received and available times in the schedule.

OceansOnline Session Proposals

OceansOnline proposals should be relevant to marine conservation communication and online tools and resources for marine conservation and marine science. Proposals for OceansOnline should select the “OceansOnline” category and sub-category of workshop, tool demonstration or facilitated discussion.

OceansOnline Workshops
Workshops are one hour in length, and focus on hands-on teaching of an online tool. Proposals for workshop sessions must be submitted in abstract format, including: (1) a synopsis of the session’s goals, purpose, and justification, (2) organizational structure including format, expected number of participants, and technical requirements.

OceansOnline Tools Demonstration
Demonstrations are 15 minutes in length, and are similar in style to a standard conference presentation, but focusing on introducing an online tool. Proposals for tool demonstrations should be submitted in standard abstract format.

OceansOnline Facilitated Discussion
Facilitated discussions are the heart of OceansOnline. In these informal discussion-based events, a group of experts will moderate a discussion with the audience. Audience participation is strongly encouraged, and work off the assumption that the collective wisdom and experience of the room is greater than that of the moderators. Anyone can propose a facilitated discussion panel, which can include any number of co-moderators. These are one hour in length. Facilitated discussion organizers must submit a symposium abstract explaining the topic of the discussion and list the expected contributing experts. Please contact the OceansOnline Program Committee with any questions.

*Since OceansOnline is one day, if more exceptional proposals are received than can fit in the program, some proposers may be asked to make their sessions part of the main IMCC5 program. OceansOnline proposals are the only exception to this rule.