Advice to Conference Organisers

One of the most important functions of the Standing Committee is to capture experience from past conferences and pass this on to future organizers to assist in their work. The following points were agreed by the Standing Committee during the Thermo2010 conference in Glasgow, to be passed on to future conference organisers.
Key points that should be considered by organisers include the following:
a. The primary purpose of the conferences is to provide an opportunity for the international community to meet together to discuss their work and common interests in thermochronology.
b. The Scientific Program Committee should include representatives of the international community as well as those from the host country.
c. As far as possible future meetings should continue to have one main session, rather than parallel sessions.
d. Some technique-based workshops could be held in parallel where these are appropriate for detailed, technique-specific sessions that are less likely to be of broad interest to other groups. Such parallel workshops should be kept to a minimum, however, as many groups and individuals have interests that cover more than one technique. Ideally such discipline-specific parallel sessions should be limited to no more than one half-day.
e. The program needs to include more opportunity for general discussion of individual presentations and broader topics of common interest.
f. These requirements mean that relatively more presentations will need to be made as posters to achieve a less crowded schedule for oral presentations within the single main session. Innovative approaches to make the poster sessions a central and exciting part of the program are encouraged.
g. The program needs to allow opportunities (time slots and suitable rooms) for informal group meetings that may arise. Examples might include: meetings of the organising committee for a future conference, or possible planning sessions around some new inter-laboratory standardization initiative.
h. Projection facilities and lighting levels need to ensure the highest standards of visibility for the audience in the main auditorium. Projection facilities must be able to handle all common formats on both PC and Mac platforms.
i. It would be good to schedule time for a meeting of the Standing Committee early in the week, and an opportunity for the committee to report back to delegates at the end of the conference.
j. Ideally the venue should be arranged to allow more space for informal group discussion around the poster sessions.
k. It is important for the future of our field that students are able to attend the conferences and to fully participate in the proceedings. The overall conference budget should therefore be developed to allow for some assistance, where needed, for students wishing to attend the conference.
l. The costs of any awards should be included as a budget item in the planning of each conference.
m. It is essential that internet access be provided for conference delegates.

It was recognized that it may not be possible to implement all of these points at every conference but it was considered that they form valuable guidelines for future conference organizers.