PCST Conference 2020+1

Virtual global conference   26 – 28 May 2021

Formats of Conference presentations

Please note that conference participants are normally restricted to making no more than two presentations in the conference, regardless of format, i.e. someone accepted for presentation of an individual paper and of a demonstration, may not then be a panellist in a roundtable discussion.

A: Roundtable discussion

Roundtable discussions are 75-minute discussion sessions of maximum four speakers addressing a common theme, preferably from different angles (e.g. practical and theoretical) and international perspectives. At least 50 minutes should be devoted to discussion between the panellists, with short initial statements and the emphasis on interaction. Names, affiliations and contact details of all speakers and a short summary of what they will bring to the discussion need to be included with the proposal. The proposal should nominate chair/s for the session. It is recommended that two co-chairs, offering different perspectives, be named.

B: Linked papers

Linked papers are presented in 75-minute paper sessions with a maximum of five speakers around a common theme, e.g. arising from a research or practice collaboration. Each speaker should present their paper for a maximum of 12 minutes so there is time for discussion. Names and details of all speakers and an abstract of the combined session should be included in the proposal along with a short title for the session. Each proposal should also include the details of each speaker along with the title and an abstract of their papers. A chair should be nominated for the session.

C: Individual paper

Individual papers are 12-minute presentations, which will be thematically grouped by the Program Committee within 75-minute sessions. Such papers are expected to offer perspectives on topics relevant to the conference themes from completed research and/or theoretical reflection and/or analysis of practice. The papers may have single or multiple authors; the proposal should be made in the name of the person who will present the paper.

D: Insight talk

Insight talks are 8-minute, focused contributions, which will be thematically grouped by the Program Committee within 75-minute sessions that explore the conference themes through:

  1. Practice insights, in which speakers describe, demonstrate and/or evaluate specific science communication practices
  2. New ideas, in which speakers present work in progress on research or practice, including ideas under development or that have yet to be implemented.

These papers may have single or multiple authors; the proposal should be made in the name of the person who will present the paper.

E: Demonstration

Demonstrations run in 75-minute sessions, presenting innovative science communication practices with a commentary on their application and effectiveness, and with time given for discussion. For example, a session might demonstrate new ways of setting up a science blog or exhibit and gaining an audience. Names and details of all speakers (maximum five) and a summary of what each brings to the demonstration should be included in the proposal, which should also nominate the chair for the session.

F: Visual presentation

Visual presentations which may include 5-minute presentations, explore topics relevant to the conference themes visually, e.g. through a poster, photo, infographic, video clip or other means that can be displayed for the duration of the conference. Specific guidelines for visual presentations will be sent to successful proponents.


The following formats will not be part of the initial call for proposals. Instead, separate calls will be made for proposals, which will be sent directly to and curated by members of the PCST Program and/or Local Organising committees.

G. Speakers' corner

Speakers' corner – five-minute informal presentations of an experience, activity or argument relevant to science communication staged outside formal conference spaces, e.g. during tea breaks.

H. Performances

Performances of theatrical or musical pieces on scientific topics relevant to the conference themes (maximum 30 minutes).

I. Workshops

Workshops to be held on the day before the conference; these may range in length from 90 minutes to four hours and should be practical, hands-on or discussion-based. Proposals to run professional development workshops are especially encouraged.

J. Unconference

Unconference 75 minute sessions where topics of discussion will be decided by the attendees within the session. Although unstructured in topic, delegates will be guided by session leads. There will not be a call for proposals but delegates will have the opportunity to submit ideas for topics at the conference itself and/or via social media.

See also: Guidelines for writing a proposal