In-Person Inspire Sessions – Call for Session Proposals

Submission Deadline

Thursday, November 3, 2022
5:00 PM Eastern (2:00PM Pacific)

Submission Deadline

August 6-11, 2023
Portland, Oregon, USA

All ESA Annual Meeting proposal and abstract deadlines are 5:00 PM Eastern so that technical support and ESA staff assistance will be immediately available when submitters need it. If you begin your submission very close to the deadline, you are choosing to take a risk, and we will not make an exception if you are unable to complete your submission in time. The form automatically closes at 5:00 EST / 2:00 PST whether you have completed your submission or not.

Important Note

Proposals that are incomplete or received after the deadline will not be considered.

ESA meetings, open to ESA members and those interested in ecology, are among the most respected meetings of ecologists in the science community. ESA is committed to providing a safe, productive and welcoming environment. All participants including, but not limited to, attendees, speakers, volunteers, exhibitors, ESA staff, service providers and others are expected to abide by the ESA Meetings Code of Conduct. This Code of Conduct applies to all ESA meeting-related events including those sponsored by organizations other than ESA but held in conjunction with ESA events, in public or private facilities. In addition, ESA members and authors of ESA publications must adhere to the ESA Code of Ethics.

How to Submit

You must submit your proposal using the online submission form. Proposals sent by email will not be considered.

Click the link below to begin by selecting which type of proposal you would like to submit. You will be able to return to the proposal to edit it until the submission deadline has passed. Information on how to do so will be included in two automated emails you will receive, first when you begin and then when you complete your submission.

To submit a proposal, you will need to log in using an ESA member account. If you have been an ESA member or registered for an ESA meeting in recent years, you should already have an ESA member account. Your username and password to log in for the meeting are the same as for your ESA member account. If you have not been an ESA member or registered for an ESA meeting in recent years, you will need to create an ESA member account before you can submit. You do not need to pay membership dues to create an ESA member account or submit for the meeting.

About In Person Inspire Sessions

Inspire sessions are Ignite-style sessions intended to stimulate the exchange of new and exciting ideas in a short time period. Proposals are encouraged to address the meeting theme, “ESA for All Ecologists”, if appropriate, but doing so is not necessary. Any timely and coherent subject of broad ecological interest will be considered. We also welcome proposals that explore interdisciplinary connections with areas of social and natural science outside of ecology or that relate to ecological education at any level.

Inspire sessions will be scheduled for 90 minutes and consist of between six and ten 5-minute talks organized to address a common theme. Each Inspire talk will feature 20 slides that advance automatically every 15 seconds.

All speakers for an in-person Inspire session should plan to present in person in Portland.  We are unable to accommodate remote presentations for this session type. If you plan to have some speakers present remotely, please submit a proposal for a hybrid Inspire session.

Beginning in 2023, all paper sessions will have a student volunteer who replaces the role of session moderator. A student volunteer will help each presenter load their slides, introduce them, and signal how much time is remaining for each talk. The session organizer will manage the discussion period at the end of each Inspire session.

Abstract Fee

Career Track

All sessions included in the career track will be highlighted throughout the program and scheduled to minimize conflicts. Submitters proposing a session about career options, skills and development will be able to indicate that they would like to be included in this track.

Inspire Session Topics

Each session should be organized around a general topic that is related to the advancement of ecology. Inspire sessions are intended to complement the traditional scientific program. These sessions will provide an opportunity for ecologists to share information with their colleagues that would not fit into the usual session types. The concise speaking slot and rapid slide transitions lend themselves to a more conversational and storytelling presentation style. Given 5 minutes to speak, what would you share with other ecologists? What would you most like to learn from your colleagues?

Possible session themes include, but are not limited to:

  • Recent advances in traditional topics – what are the new ideas and findings in the field that are not yet well enough developed for a traditional paper session?
  • Points and counterpoints from the discipline – is there an idea you are passionate about that is being overlooked? Or overvalued?
  • Stumbling blocks and problems within the field – are there insights you could share with up and coming ecologists based on your own experiences?
  • How-to guides and toolkits – have you learned how to use an emerging tool or practice of interest to ecologists and can share a brief introduction?
  • Themes that spark new ideas– what is on the horizon for ecology?

What is Inspire?

The links in this section are highly recommended reading and viewing for anyone considering submitting an Inspire session, as well as any speakers they invite to participate. Inspire talks will require different preparation than typical ESA presentations. Some differences to keep in mind:

  • A presenter will only have time to make 1 or 2 main points that are explained or supported by the slides. It may be best to show one data slide and use the remaining slides to briefly introduce the idea and explain the rationale and consequences of the main point.
  • The slides are not visible long enough to be a major focus of the presentation. The slides should support what you’re saying, not say what you’re supporting.
  • Slides should focus more on quick, powerful visual impressions than on details. If you’re including complex figures or more than a couple of simple bullet points then you’re saying too much on the slides.
  • Data intensive slides are very likely to give a speaker significant trouble pacing their slides.
  • The slides will advance every 15 seconds whether the speaker has said everything they meant to say on the current slide or not. Practicing the timing is critical in order to avoid chasing the slides.
  • Assume your first and last slides (and therefore, 15 seconds) are mostly for introducing your topic and wrapping it up, respectively.
  • You can repeat a slide for more than one 15 second interval if you wish.
  • Don’t let these differences intimidate you! Just be sure to prepare for them.

Some helpful videos about Ignite-style talks

Some example of effective talks on various subjects

Proposal Format

Most fields are required. The broader benefits description is optional.

  • Submitter agreements. The submitter must agree to abide by the Code of Conduct for ESA Events, the ESA Code of Ethics, and the ESA Diversity Statement.
  • Session title. A short and descriptive title works best.
  • Organizer (Name, institution, email). This person is the point of contact for the session and responsible for communicating with speakers.
  • Co-organizers (Name, institution, and email for each). There can be any number of co-organizers, including zero.
  • 6-10 confirmed speakers (name, institution, email, and tentative talk title for each). Only speakers who have been contacted and have committed to the session should be listed.
  • Session description (up to 400 words): Should focus on the theme of the session. May include background information, goals, objectives, importance, and interest to the membership of ESA. The description should avoid overly specialized language. Any ecologist attending the meeting should be able to understand it. It will appear in the online program and be read by attendees deciding whether or not to attend the session.
  • Session justification (up to 400 words): The justification should focus on how the review criteria are met by the proposal. It should not simply repeat the description.
  • Diversity description (up to 400 words): Describe how this session involves diverse perspectives and voices as elaborated in the ESA Diversity Statement, beyond or in addition to career stage and disciplinary diversity.   
  • Broader benefits description (up to 400 words, optional): Describe how this session benefits broader society (for example through education, public policy, communication/public engagement, application to commercial technology, national security or international cooperation).
  • Career Track: Would you like this session to be considered for inclusion in the Career Track? Yes/No
  • Linked sessions: Is the session intended to be linked to another session or social event? If so, which one, and how?

Review Criteria

All proposals will be peer reviewed and scored by reviewers selected by the ESA Program Committee. The Program Committee may accept, decline, or offer an opportunity to present the proposed work in a more appropriate session type. Session organizers will be notified of decisions by January 5, 2023. Proposals will be assessed using the following criteria. The weight of particular criteria may vary depending on the nature of proposals.

Criteria for a strong Inspire proposal

Scientific strength

  • features significant contributions to or advances in ecological understanding.
  • presents innovative and original work.
  • benefits broader society (for example through education, public policy, communication/public engagement, application to commercial technology, national security or international cooperation).
  • The proposed session is a good fit for the Inspire session format: 5-minute talks, automatic slide advancement, engaged discussion to end the session.

Structure and organization

  • forms a coherent whole through contributions from individual talks.
  • offers a range of perspectives through the collection of speakers.
  • avoids the appearance of biases toward their organizers’ own perspectives.


  • lists 6-10 confirmed speakers (speakers who have been contacted and have committed to the session).
  • includes a specific title for every speaker’s talk.
  • involves diverse perspectives and voices as elaborated in the ESA Diversity Statement, beyond or in addition to career stage and disciplinary diversity.   

Other details to consider

In the interest of broadening participation, an individual can be the lead organizer for only one invited paper session (symposium, organized oral session, Inspire session).

One presentation rule

The one presentation rule does not apply to participants speaking in Inspire sessions. Inspire presenters should commit to give only one Inspire presentation. They may present something else (a poster, or a different type of talk) as their second presentation.

Meeting registration

All speakers are required to register for the conference. Organizers are responsible for making this clear to their speakers early on when it is easier to replace speakers.

If Your Proposal is Accepted

After acceptance decisions have been made and the scheduling for the meeting is underway, cancellations and schedule changes are very disruptive to meeting planning. It is therefore very important that session organizers obtain firm commitments from their invited speakers before submitting their proposal. If a proposal is accepted, the organizer will be required to submit an up-to-date version of the session details and confirmed speaker list within a few weeks of acceptance.

Communication with speakers

If a proposal is accepted as a session, it is very important that the organizer communicates with speakers starting with the acceptance of the session and continuing throughout all stages of program development. This includes communicating with speakers about session acceptance, abstract requirements and deadlines, session scheduling, and expectations for participation in the conference. Ongoing and clear communication will be especially important this year given the uncertainty of current events that could affect the meeting format and structure.

Other helpful information

Here are a few details that all speakers should know up front. Miscommunication about them can disrupt session planning later in the process.

We are unable to honor scheduling requests. When asking speakers to commit to the session, organizers should inform them that the session could be scheduled any day Monday through Thursday. We cannot schedule or move a session to accommodate the availability of speakers.

Speakers who fail to submit an abstract on time will be removed from the session. It is the responsibility of the session organizer to make sure each speaker submits an abstract for their talk using the unique link that will be emailed to each speaker in late January. It is important to make sure all speakers are aware of the abstract submission deadline early on.

All speakers are required to register for the conference. Organizers are responsible for making this clear to their speakers early on when it is easier to replace speakers.


For session organizers

Once a session has been accepted and listed online, cancellation imposes a serious burden. Do not submit a proposal if you are uncertain that you will be able to fulfill your obligation to organize and conduct the session. Once a session is accepted by the Program Chair, cancellation by the session organizers will preclude the organizers from being allowed to submit any proposals for sessions for the 2024 ESA Annual Meeting.

For presenters

When submitting an abstract, presenters should be reasonably confident that they will attend the meeting and give the presentation as scheduled.  We understand that planning ahead is particularly challenging this year, but the presenting author should notify ESA Meetings as soon as possible if a presentation needs to be cancelled.  Please cancel by May 1 if possible, to help us minimize gaps in the final meeting program as well as receive an abstract fee refund if you paid the fee.

Important Dates

Nov. 3, 2021

Jan. 5, 2023 

Jan. 19, 2023

Feb. 23, 2023

May 1, 2023

Deadline for submitting a proposal to ESA.

Notification of acceptance sent to organizer.

Deadline to submit session revisions and reaffirm speaker lists.

Deadline for speakers to submit abstracts.

Deadline for speakers to cancel presentations.


Program Chair

Tim Nuttle PhD CSE CWB

Principal, Oikos Ecology LLC

Meetings Team

Ecological Society of America