2023 Symposium FAQs

About the Symposium:

  • Who participates in the symposium? 

We interpret “science communication” in its broadest sense, as any effort to engage specific audiences, groups, or individuals in conversations about STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics, medicine) topics. As a result, Symposium attendees include practitioners from many different sectors (non-profits, academia, government, philanthropy) and fields, including journalists and science writers, community organizers and other community-based advocates, professional development trainers, as well as people who work in both formal (classroom, library) and informal (museums, after-school programs, science centers) science learning settings. The Symposium also attracts students (mostly graduate) and professional researchers who study social science, natural science, and/or engineering and do science communication as a passion project that may or may not be related to their research. We have a smaller but growing number of researchers who specifically study anything related to science communication. 


  • How many people typically attend? 

The in-person symposium is capped at 200 people because of space limitations. Based on our 2021 Symposium attendance, we expect approximately 500 people to attend the virtual-only sessions that will happen before and after the in-person gathering. These attendees come from around the world. In 2021, registrants represented nearly 40 nations. Scroll to the bottom of this page to see more about past symposia: https://inclusivescicomm.org/symposia/

  • Is this year’s symposium virtual or is there an in-person option?

Both! We will meet in-person at the University of Rhode Island in Kingston, Rhode Island, October 19-21, beginning with an evening networking reception on the 19th. The program will run for two full, approximately 8-hour, days on October 20th and 21st. 

We also will offer virtual sessions before and after the in-person event. The number of virtual gatherings will depend on the number of proposals we receive and accept, and will be held on 9/29/23, 10/6/23, 10/13/23, and 11/3/23. Times for these virtual sessions will be announced this summer, once we have received and reviewed proposals.

The only events that will be held in a hybrid mode will be the two keynote talks, October 20 and 21. These talks will be held in-person at URI and will be livestreamed.

  • I’m not submitting a session proposal. Can I still attend the symposium?

Absolutely! The Symposium is open to all interested parties. The one thing to keep in mind is the point noted above: the in-person symposium is capped at 200 people because of space limitations.


About Session Proposals:

  • Is there a cost this year to submit a proposal?

There is no fee to submit a proposal. We only charge a registration fee as described in the About Registration and Sponsorships section.

  • Is there an additional cost for speakers who are selected to present?

There is no speaker fee. If you submit a proposal and that proposal is accepted, you and any other attending co-presenters will only have to pay the registration fee as described above.

  • Our proposal could work in more than one type of format. Should we submit two proposals?

In this case, we’d prefer that you submit a single proposal and pick your preferred format option. Although you must select one option for session format, there is space for you to add additional information later in the proposal form. You can note there that you’re willing to do the session in various formats. Please provide rationale as to why this could work in either format to help the reviewers decide what might fit best with the program.

  • I see that you encourage “creativity” in session proposals. What does that mean?

Great question! We urge you to be creative in your interpretation of “creativity.” Much of the content matter and discussion at the ISCS is emotionally vulnerable. Creativity, therefore, could be about the ways you invite participants into the space you’re creating in your session. It might also mean that you’re offering a thoughtful critique of a particular ISCS theme. In other words, creativity isn’t just about “having fun,” though it definitely can be. Do you want to organize a spoken word performance? Create a “choose your own adventure” workshop? Offer a participatory presentation and discussion? Showcase how art can be used for inclusive science communication? The reviewers will be looking for creativity in all its forms and this will be a criterion in our selection process.  

  • How many proposals can I submit?

Each person is limited to serving as the lead for a single session proposal. However, you may be a contributor to additional proposals. If, for example, you plan to submit a poster proposal and a workshop proposal, you could only be the lead presenter/author on one of those proposals. 

  • How do you judge proposals?

Proposal reviewers respond to a rubric that evaluates: thematic relevance; the degree to which the proposal concept represents an inclusive, equitable, intersectional approach; the utility of the session for participants; creativity (e.g., an approach that is engaging, new, or special); accessibility (degree to which the proposal considers or accommodates deaf, deafblind, blind, mobility, health, neurodivergence, and/or other accessibility features and/or issues); and overall quality of the proposal as an opportunity for learning, collaboration, skill-building, or another type of meaningful interaction.

Based on reviewers’ recommendations, the planning committee makes final decisions about acceptance based on how various sessions fit into the big picture of the Symposium to ensure a wide range of session types and experiences, diverse representation among presenters, and time constraints.

Sometimes planning committee members may request additional information about a proposal to make final decisions. In this case, we appreciate your prompt response to those questions. 


About Registration and Sponsorships:

  • What is the cost to attend the symposium?

We are currently fundraising for the symposium, and the total sponsorships will determine our final conference registration rate. Our goal is to make registration free for students and capped at $250 for professionals, but that is not yet confirmed. With sufficient sponsorship support, we also aim to offer a no-questions-asked fee waiver for anyone who requests it. We will update this FAQ when we have new information.

  • Where can I find information about sponsorships?

For information on sponsorships, click here.

For information on corporate sponsorships, contact Nina Gregory, ngregory@uri.edu.