Following our call for symposium proposals, we received 75 submissions, from which we were limited to choose 34. The Scientific Committee had thus painfully difficult decisions to take. In fact, there was not a single symposium proposed that would not have made an interesting and worthy contribution to our meeting. Decisions were made on the basis of perceived general interest, complementarity with other symposiums, concern for gender balance, and (inevitably) the predilections of the Committee members. The 34 selected symposiums are listed here, with the addition of one ‘open’ symposium, aimed at contributions that would definitely not fit within one of the selected topics.
Symposia typically start with one or two invited speakers (27 min each, including discussion, leaving 3 min to change rooms) and are followed by submitted talks (17 min each including discussion, plus 3 min to change rooms). The time window allotted to each symposium has been decided by the Scientific Committee based on the number and quality of submissions.
As ESEB members will be aware, research shows clearly that gender bias in academia is usually not the result of intentional acts of exclusion, but rather the effect of more subtle mechanisms like implicit bias. Substantial concern has been raised about gender bias among invited speakers for symposia at previous ESEB meetings, as women were twice as likely to decline a talk than men. The organizers of ESEB 2017 acknowledge this concern and wish to ensure that symposia selected for the meeting in Groningen draw participants (both invited and those selected for inclusion when abstracts are reviewed) as broadly as possible to reflect the full research strengths of the fields represented. We therefore encourage symposium organizers to account for potential implicit biases when selecting among abstract submissions. To increase the attendance of women at the ESEB congress, there is a possibility to apply for a Congress Attendance Aid Grant, which is a stipend for female scientists to contribute to the additional costs borne privately due to responsibilities for dependents when attending the congress. For further information see: http://bit.ly/2fDklsn.
The ESEB2017 organizing committee.