Call for Symposia

Submit a proposal for a symposium on a key area of ecology.

A room full of people listening to a talk

Do you have an exciting idea for a scientific conference that will have a real impact in your field?
Are there important scientific questions that would benefit from bringing ecologists together to tackle them?
We want to hear from you!

Each year we support the organisation of two symposia on key areas of ecology, proposed by our community.

Running an event is an involved, but very rewarding process and can lead to a whole set of new colleagues and contacts for those organising it. And throughout you can rely on the BES’s exceptional and professional events team, who manage all logistics for your symposium.

If you would like to run a symposium, the first stage is to complete a BES Symposium Proposal Form, outlining the core elements of the event. Please ensure you read the guidelines carefully and are able to complete all aspects of the form before submitting a proposal.


Once submitted, your proposal will be considered by the BES Events Committee at their next meeting. Events Committee meet three times a year:

  • February
    Submit your application by second week of Feb
  • May
    Submit your application by end of April
  • October
    Submit your application by first week of October

Events Committee will provide feedback on the proposal and a final updated proposal based on these comments will need to be submitted. A decision will then be made as to whether the symposium will be taken forward. The process from submission to a final decision may take up to 4 months, so please factor this into your timelines. In exceptional circumstances we can fast track applications. Once approved you must have a minimum of 10 months to prepare before the proposed start date to organise the event.

On your proposal’s acceptance, you and your colleagues would form a Scientific Committee and oversee all scientific content and programming, with support from our events team and Events Committee.

Please note we only run two symposia year, so it is best to contact the BES to find out when future slots are available, before submitting your proposal.

  • We support proposals across all ecological fields, or interdisciplinary areas that involve ecology or conservation. Proposals should be topical and include content that will be of interest to our Membership.
  • Proposals are reviewed and accepted/rejected by the BES Events Committee.
  • Symposia can be located in the UK or internationally where there is an active audience.
  • We encourage all proposals to include an open abstract call for a selection of talks and posters.
  • All symposia must include reduced registration rates for BES Members & BES Student Members.


By submitting a proposal to the BES, you agree that the BES Events Team will:

  • Source and agree the event venue
  • Host the event webpages on the BES website and manage content
  • Source and book accommodation for invited speakers & staff
  • Sign all key contracts relevant to the event
  • Set and manage the event budget
  • Manage all financial transactions
  • Manage the registration system
  • Manage and oversee all key event/venue logistics
  • Manage abstract submission administration and communication with submitters
  • Market the meeting through the BES channels
  • Design and print all meeting collateral
  • Manage the event onsite
  • Include key BES initiative at the event e.g. prayer room, family room, pronoun stickers. Any of your own initiatives will of course be discussed in addition.

We expect the Scientific Committee to:

  • Oversee scientific content including reviewing & making final decisions on submitted abstracts, and providing the full scientific programme
  • Manage the initial invitation of invited speakers before passing on to the BES once confirmed
  • Provide content for the printed programme
  • Market the event through your channels and networks (this is in addition to the BES’s own marketing)
  • Provide local support and information if the event is being held where you are based
  • Gain sponsorship
  • Review and approve any key decisions put forward by the BES

Joint Symposia

Some of the most exciting, novel, and original science happens when scientists get together with backgrounds in a range of disciplines, from different parts of the world and using a variety of techniques.

We encourage proposals for symposia organised jointly with other societies and organisations where they will:

  • Bring more people together;
  • Boost interdisciplinary science;
  • Enable new and emerging areas to be explored; or
  • Increase the impact of our science.

There are three options for joint symposia:

1. Joint conference
This is a full partnership where the BES and other societies and organisations work together on all aspects of the symposium: scientific programming and event logistics.

In this case an organisation would contribute to the overall event budget, and profits and losses would be divided between the partners. A written partnership agreement would be signed to agree an event plan and timeline, ways of working and financial risks.

2. Joint programming
The scientific content and programming for the symposium is worked on by a joint scientific committee formed by the groups, societies and organisations involved. The BES manages all logistics for the conference based on their extensive skills and experience of our professional events team.

This option tends to allow symposia to run where single groups or societies cannot realise the event in the same way on their own. There would be a financial or ‘in kind’ contribution from the partner recognising the considerable contribution of BES staff time, while the BES would receive any profits and run the risk of any losses. A written partnership agreement is signed ahead of the event to agree an event plan, timeline, and ways of working.

3. Sponsorship
Sponsorship is an option where organisations have an interest in ideas for events celebrating the latest in ecology and this matches BES’s aims for running high-quality events for our global community of ecologists. A first step is to get in touch with our Fundraising and Development Manager, Paul Bower.

Upcoming Deadlines

The next meeting of the Events Committee is in May 2023. All symposia proposals must be sent to the Events Team by the end of April 2023 to be considered.

Special Interest Groups

If you have an idea for an event, but this does not meet the requirements of a full Symposia, we have 19 Special Interest Groups (SIG) that run activities on specific areas of ecology. We recommend getting in touch with a relevant group to discuss the possibility of running an event through a SIG.

Creating an inclusive environment for ecologists

BES are committed to promoting an inclusive ecological community and all submissions must consider equality and diversity.

Each proposal should be developed with the BES Equality and Diversity Policy in mind, which states that events should attempt to reflect the current composition of the BES membership.