Session Formats

Find information on different formats for sessions: 90-minute symposium format, 90-minute discussion-focused format, and 10-minute “flash talk” format. The deadline for scientific sessions is Thursday, April 19, 2018 11:59 p.m. PT.

There are three scientific session types: the 90-minute symposium format; the 90-minute discussion-focused format; and the 10-minute “flash talk” format. Proposal reviewers will review and rank 90-minute session proposals separately from the flash talks.

Successful proposals are characterized by:

  • Timely topics with broad relevancy for the interdisciplinary AAAS audience.
  • Representation of the diversity of science and society (including disciplinary field, gender, ethnicity, geographic location, and institution).
  • Demonstration of ground-breaking research results and evidence of conclusions, or interesting new angles for approaching a topic.
    • Proposals focused on specific projects or programs are discouraged, unless they significantly emphasize broader applicability.
  • Proposals that cover policy are expected to primarily focus on the cutting-edge aspects of the scientific research driving policy in that particular subject, rather than focusing wholly on the issues beyond the science.

For more information, see these Scientific Session Proposal Submission FAQs

90-Minute Symposium

This is the standard symposium format. Symposium should be focused on topics and projects with broad appeal and relevancy. A panel composed of 3 speakers give presentations (~20 minutes each), followed by a ~30 minute Q&A period with the audience.

90-Minute Discussion Focused Session

This is a 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. In the synopsis, submitters should describe how the discussion portion will be structured and facilitated, and how much time will be allotted to each part of the session in order to fit within the 90-minute timeframe.

10-Minute Flash Talk

Flash talks offer 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 meeting. The range of possible topics is broad, but talks themselves should be focused on a big idea that can be presented clearly and concisely in ten minutes. Early-career scientists are encouraged to submit, if they are experienced speakers and experts in their proposed topic.

A video clip of a polished, well-organized prior talk is required in the proposal (videos created for the purposes of this submission will not be accepted). Talks should be dynamic and engaging, oriented toward a more public audience, and showcase good public communication skills — including use of high-quality visuals, a focused message, and plain language. The Program Committee will group the accepted flash talks into sessions by topic or cross-cutting theme, with Q&A at the end of the talks.

Registration for the 2019 AAAS Annual Meeting will be available in August.
Online Submissions

Submit a Proposal for the 2019 Annual Meeting >