Submission Instructions

The symposium proposal submission site and instructions are available here. Please read the online information completely as the information below is only the highlights.

Conference Theme: Science Transcending Boundaries

How can science help address the many divisions in our communities, in global society, and in science itself? Science plays a unique and important role in how people see and understand the world, and how lines and distinctions are drawn. At this Annual Meeting, we look for ways science is bringing together people, ideas, and solutions from across real and artificial borders, disciplines, sectors, ideologies, and traditions. How can science working across boundaries improve its ability to find solutions to the pressing problems of our age? How can scientists, wherever they work, more effectively engage with the broader society? How can we find better ways to engage the public, especially in expanding access to science and scientific careers? At the international level, science diplomacy builds bridges between countries. How can we encourage more of this, and utilize science as a common ground more locally as well? Can science contribute information that might reduce or mitigate the starkly divergent interests of different populations and demographics, such as urban and rural communities? What boundaries most impede your research or your career? While acknowledging that some boundaries are useful and necessary, the meeting theme considers how research can be applied to problematic separations in the world, and how unhelpful boundaries within science are being addressed.

Conference Dates and Location: February 14-18, 2019 in Washington, DC.

Deadline: The submissions process opened on February 18, 2018 and will close on Thursday, April 19, 2018 at 11:59pm PACIFIC.  All submissions must be submitted online.

Submissions are requested for both career development workshops and scientific sessions.

Career Development Workshops, with a submission deadline of April 19, 2018, are aimed at both individuals seeking careers in science and engineering, and professionals looking to sharpen or supplement their skills.  There workshops are instructional or informational in nature and are markedly different from a scientific session.  Workshops may have up to 3 presenters. All workshops are 90 minutes in length.

Types of Scientific Sessions

  1. 90-Minute Symposium Format: This is the standard symposium format. Symposium should be focused on topics and projects with broad appeal and relevancy. A moderated panel composed of 3 speakers give presentations (20 minutes each), followed by a 30 minute discussion/Q&A period with the audience.
  2. 90-Minute Discussion-Focused Format: This is slight variation on the standard symposium format, intended to emphasize discussion and interaction with the audience. Topics where audience input on next steps is desired are encouraged to consider this format. A moderated panel of 2-3 speakers give short presentations (10 minutes each), followed by a longer (60 minute) discussion/Q&A period with the audience, either as a full group or in smaller groups. The moderator must be a skilled facilitator; moderator tips and advance support are available.
  3. 10-Minute Flash Talk Format: Flash talks are intended to give individuals the opportunity to have the stage to themselves for ten minutes (one speaker only per submission). Flash talks can be on any novel and inspiring topic relevant to those attending the AAAS meetings. The range of possible topics is broad, but the talks themselves should be focused on a big idea that can be presented clearly and concisely in ten minutes. A video clip of a polished, well-organized prior talk is required in the proposal, and videos created for the purposes of this submission will not be accepted.

Note that there is no longer the 180 minute symposium format.

Assistance: Section U leadership is available to provide comments on your draft proposal. Please send materials to our Secretary Alyson Wilson ( ) or to Section Chair Hal Stern (

Travel Support for Symposia Speakers: Speakers can apply to AAAS for travel support. Applications will open in September 2018. Since there are over 1000 speakers, travel support is not guaranteed. There is no separate process to apply to Section U for travel support.