Conference - Guidelines for Organisers


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Click here for PDF version of guideline specially for hosting the 2021 YA Conference


This document provides the guidelines for AESOP Young Academics from member schools interested in hosting the yearly YA conference.

YA conferences

  • are held yearly during Spring – preferably during the month of March/April;

  • are open to students, early-career scholars and young practitioners and activists – all YA members can participate to a YA conference, whether they are affiliated to AESOP or not;

  • have a duration of 3 / 4 days;

  • include plenary keynote lectures (usually 4), parallel sessions (8/10 total sessions for 40/50 presentations) and a conference dinner;

  • host a best paper prize in collaboration with an international journal.

Please see the themes and programs of previous YA conferences in the YA website for further details.

All details that are not specified in this document should be agreed upon with the YA Coordination Team (CT) – e.g., decision to postpone the deadline, late submissions, special requests by participants.

Applying to host a YA conference

The CT is responsible for selecting the location of YA conferences during the AESOP congress, usually held in the month of July. (Changes to this timeline can be made when the AESOP congress is held outside Europe, together with the other world associations).

YA members from AESOP member schools can submit an application which will be evaluated by the CT within two weeks from the beginning of the AESOP congress. However, interested applicants are warmly encouraged to contact the CT some weeks in advance to informally discuss their ideas. The application, one single word/pdf document of around 3,000 words, should consist of:

  • a description of the conference theme and preliminary list of tracks;

  • a list of potential keynote speakers;

  • a tentative program – with number of presentations, theme of the workshop and public event;

  • a list of possible dates – the final date should be agreed upon with AESOP ExCo;

  • a preliminary budget with financial commitment from the hosting institution (see below for further details);

  • the Local Organizing Committee (LOC), that should be composed primarily of YA members from the hosting school, and a conference coordinator.

Applications will be evaluated taking in consideration the quality and originality of the proposals. Priority will be given to:

  • schools in cities that did not previously host a YA conference;

  • conference themes of wide inter-disciplinary interest;

  • conference themes capable of attracting participants from outside Europe and non-member schools.

A decision will be given to applicants during the annual YA conference.


Once the decision is taken and communicated, the LOC is responsible to draft the final conference description (including program) and informally contacting potential keynote speakers.

The usual timeline is as follows (small amendments can be agreed with the CT):

  • 15 September: CfP online;

  • 1 November: submission of abstracts;

  • 15 December: notification of acceptance and request of registration;

  • 31 January: deadline for full paper and registration submission;

  • March/April: conference.

Communication LOC/CT

The LOC has to communicate any change in the agreed program, conference theme, choice of keynotes to the CT. The CT will provide assistance, guidance and suggestions following the experience of the previous years and the relation with AESOP. The CT won’t interfere with the LOC organisation in terms of inviting keynote speakers or changing the on-going organisation, unless this would be requested by the LOC.

Specific key moments can be agreed to discuss particular points of the conference between LOC and CT (i.e. theme, keynotes, program, venue). Cooperation between CT and LOC can be fostered by clear initial definitions of roles and expectations. An appointed person in the LOC can be the intermediary in the communication between LOC and CT.

The communication between LOC and CT is made via email. The creation of a conference email managed by the LOC is strongly encouraged. The LOC will also create a dropbox folder, accessible to all LOC and CT members, where all relevant documents (conference description, abstracts, full papers, program, budget documents, receipts, evaluation files…), in English, will be stored.


The LOC is responsible for the management of the conference budget – the CT will provide all necessary assistance.

Costs generally include:

  • 4 keynote speakers’ travels, accommodation and meals (no honorarium is provided);

  • Travel, accommodation and meals of the editor of the journal awarding the best paper prize (although, depending on the details of the selection process, optional);

  • Lunches and coffee breaks during the conference

  • Conference materials (book of abstracts, badges, conference bag);

  • Venues(although, often the host university provides the venue free of costs);

  • Conference dinner (although, in case of limited financial resources, this cost could be covered by participants);

  • Costs related to the workshop and city tour;

  • Wire transfer costs.

AESOP contributes to the conference with:

  • a reimbursement of up to 2,000€ after the conference and only if the final balance is negative, taking into account all expenses and external funding.

  • CT travel and accommodation costs (AESOP YA annual budget).

YA conferences are free for participants. AESOP YA encourages LOC to open the event to young academics, even if they would be non-presenting attendees. Up to 10 non-presenting attendees, (the number can be agreed with the CT according to the conference venue, requests of the host university, etc.), can be accepted and will pay a small fee (~50€) to cover the costs of meals and conference material. Using the tool of the waiting list could ease the response to the non-presenting attendees.

The LOC is encouraged to apply for additional external funding sources; and the CT shall provide all support and collaboration, including the possibility to apply in name of AESOP YA. However, the LOC should ensure that the hosting institution will guarantee the covering of costs in case further funds are not secured.

A suggestion for acquiring funding is to involve the local authorities in organising the conference and defining the conference theme. In return, their employees can attend the event and learn from it. As such, the conference can be advertised as a way to gain new knowledge.

The final budget, should be delivered to AESOP YA and AESOP a few weeks after the conference.

Advertising of CfP

The CT is primarily responsible for advertising the CfP among YA members and beyond. However, the LOC is warmly encouraged to share the call through their networks as well.

The conference website is usually hosted on the AESOP YA website. The LOC should provide all information to be included in the conference website (see the website of previous edition as reference); the CT is responsible for updating the conference website. All the information should  be sent to the responsible CT member, who will set up the conference pages.

If the LOC decide to use a different website, the main information of the conference should also be uploaded to the AESOP YA website as a matter of visibility and advertisement.

Selection of abstracts

The LOC and CT agree whether the abstracts will be submitted through the YA website or by e-mail (YA email or specifically created email managed by the LOC). The LOC is responsible for verifying the eligibility and for notifying promptly the authors that their abstract will/will not be evaluated – in case any controversy will happen, the LOC and CT will jointly decide.

All YA members can submit an abstract. Multi-author abstracts are welcome; howeverall authors must be Young Academics – the definition of YA is broad; in general, a YA is a student or not-tenured scholar (however, submissions by recently tenured scholars may be evaluated in exceptional cases, the LOC and CT will agree on the single cases). Particularly, abstracts co-authored by a PhD student and his/her supervisor are not eligible.

The abstracts are selected in collaboration between the LOC and the CT. Abstracts are selected competitively taking in consideration:

  • the potential quality and originality of the full paper – taking in consideration that English-speaking scholars are advantaged in the drafting of English abstracts/papers;

  • the relation to the conference theme;

  • the geographic distribution of participants;

  • gender equality

40/50 abstracts are selected for presentation. 8/10 abstracts are selected for the waiting list. After the selection process is completed, the LOC should immediately mail all authors with the notification of acceptance, rejection or waiting list. The accepted authors are requested to confirm their participation within 7/10 days. After that date, their seat is offered to a person in the waiting list.

Best Paper Prize & Workshop

The YA Best Conference Award is awarded as part of the YA annual conference. Every year the YA-committee invites an international journal to host the award. The awarded paper will receive unique feedbacks from the journal editor and the chair of the conference tracks to become qualified for publication in the invited journal. 

Award Criteria:

The YA Best Conference Paper Award is awarded according to the following criteria:

  • Originality and innovativeness of research.

  • Relevance to the conference theme.

  • Clarity of research argument and methodology.

  • Overall scientific quality.

The Prize:

  • Certificate from the YA-AESOP Network.

  • Unique feedback from the editor of the journal and chairs of the conference sessions in order to help the author qualify the paper for publication. 

  • (Optional) free access for 1 year to the Journal (to be decided by the journal).

Eligibility and Participation:

All papers accepted for oral presentations at the annual YA conference are qualified for the award. However, authors must clearly express their interest in taking part in the contest and their commitment to publish their papers in the host journal in order to be qualified for the award. They can do that by typing in the header of the paper “to be considered for the YA Best Conference Paper Award”.  


The LOC and CT discuss the journal to be contacted and the details of the selection process. The normal procedure is that the keynote speakers and track chairs select the best paper of their sessions, then the decision is jointly taken during the conference and announced at the conference dinner – see programs of previous editions.

Special issue:

The BPP is mostly selected based on a top 5/10/… of papers. These papers will be invited to be published in the AESOP-YA managed open-access international peer-reviewed journal PlaNext. Mostly, one of the keynotes is asked to act as guest editor together with someone from the CT and/or LOC. Check the previous volumes of PlaNext for more information.


During the YA Conference, traditionally one day is dedicated to organizing workshops which reflect more detailed on – preferably – the conference theme. It is free to the LOC to plan in this workshop, for inspiration check previous conference programs.

During the conference

The LOC is responsible for the organization of the event, but the LOC can benefit from the assistance of CT members that are present at the conference.