PCST Conference 2020

Aberdeen, Scotland: 26 – 28 May 2020

Proposals for conference presentations

Guidelines for writing a proposal

So you want to answer the Call for Papers for PCST 2020?

Those who start early, plan accordingly, and carefully edit are most likely to be invited to present their research.

Previous PCST conferences have rejected some proposals because they were not relevant to public communication of science, or were hard to understand, or full of jargon, or did not fit conference guidelines.

First step: remember you are writing for two different audiences. The first audience is the people who will review your paper, the Members of the PCST Scientific Committee. They come from 19 different countries and different backgrounds in research and practice. Each member reviews 40 or 50 proposals.

Your aim is to convince these members that your proposal is important, original and relevant.

The second audience are the participants of PCST conference – a mix of science communication scholars, practitioners and lecturers. Why would they be interested in coming to your session?

Reviewers will reject proposals that:

  • do not make a clear argument or report something new
  • are hard to understand because they contain jargon or difficult language
  • have spelling or grammatical errors – write them in a separate document, then proof-read, edit and double-check – and then post them online
  • do not follow instructions and guidelines
  • do not fit the themes of the conference.

The criteria reviewers use to judge your proposal are:

  • does it focus on the scholarly research and / or practice of science communication (not science education)?
  • does it address the themes of the conference: Time, Technology and Transformation?
  • does it consider or link both theory and practice?
  • does it report on new thinking, research and /or practice?
  • does it include perspectives from different countries and / or disciplinary backgrounds?
  • is the topic likely to interest the usual participants in PCST conferences?

What should be in a good proposal?

  • Consideration of science communication research or practice that is relevant to science communicators
  • A title that is interesting and inviting, to 'hook' the reader
  • A statement of what is new or original about your topic
  • Clarity about the contribution your topic makes to science communication research and/ or practice

Quick tips

  • Follow the guidelines and instructions exactly
  • Be brief – you have a maximum of 300 words.
  • Do not write the proposal online, but in a separate document, and then copy and paste it into the on-line form. Take time to fine-tune and adjust.
  • After you have drafted the proposal, leave it for a day or two and then come back to see if it can be improved.
  • Get a second opinion. Ask a colleague or supervisor to check the draft.
  • Consider submitting more than one proposal (but make them different).
  • If your proposal includes multiple speakers (Roundtable discussions, Linked papers, Demonstrations), make sure to enter all the details of speakers before the closing date for proposals (12 October 2019).


See also: Formats of Conference presentations