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Get in the Game—BIO 2018 Call for Sessions is This Week

September 12, 2017
Panel sessions during BIO’s International Convention dive into trending topics on health, energy and food security. Speakers are leaders in their fields presenting compelling and sometimes controversial material that stimulates discussion, offers relevant information and is unique in its perspective.

This week BIO will open the “Call for Sessions” which invites anyone who is interested to propose an educational session for BIO 2018 (June 4-7 Boston). Although it is an open invitation, criteria for acceptance is stringent to insure the program lives up to its reputation and maintains its high level of professionalism and relevance.

In a recent Life Science Leader blog, Chief Editor, Rob Wright, outlined some tips for getting your proposal accepted by the planning committee. Here are some highlights from his piece:

  • Submit A Complete Form.Many of the sessions had fairly incomplete submissions, such as lacking an elevator pitch, or speakers weren’t contacted. If you are going to take the time to submit a session, make the time to do it well and complete. For example, this reviewer gave a 2015 session submission a “5” noting the following. “Excellent topic which should attract a large audience. Great panel, all speakers confirmed. Outstanding!”

  • Title Your Session as if it Were Your Baby. One consistent problem I noticed with 2015 proposals is many had titles that were overly academic; blatant commercials for a city, country, company or industry; or provided little enticement toward getting people in the room. Take the time to review Google for a few titling tips, or try this headline analyzer, which is an excellent tool for coming up with more captivating headlines. Put your best foot forward, because the headline is often the first thing people read. Like it or not, people have biases. If you want to reduce the likelihood of creating a negative bias right out of the gate with a bad title, then have a better title. In fact, write the title before you write the proposal. Here is what a reviewer had this to say on one 2015 submission. “Very relevant topic – title may need work to explain content.”

  • Submit Your Proposal to the Proper Focus Area. While it may be difficult sometimes to decide if your session is a general interest topic or not, it should not be difficult to determine if you have a session proposal on intellectual property (IP) and the conference has an IP track, where it should be submitted. Submitting a session for the “wrong home,” shows inattention to detail, results in people double grading, and is honestly not a good way to set yourself up for success. Here is a comment from a reviewer back in 2015 to make my point. “Is this about comparing various approaches and pipelines to see what the measure of differentiation can/should be? Or is it about establishing the differentiation with payers, in which case, this should be move[d] to the Value track instead of R&D. The title is really too long, needs an editor to tighten it up, and type together the description/methodology to the title. This could make a compelling program, but still not sure if it belongs in R&D or Value Track!”

  • Confirm Your Speakers. One of the biggest ways to set yourself up for success is to have your speakers confirmed. Reviewers have a hard time considering and highly ranking a proposal that sounds very good on paper, but there being a chance that one or more speakers might not actually show. For example, from a 2015 reviewer who graded a session a “2.” “This session presents a risk of sounding like a sales pitch for the 3 companies mentioned; subject not likely to be of broad interest, 2 of 3 panelist not confirmed.”