56 symposia will be selected by the FENS Programme Committee. Each will last 1 hour 30 minutes and must address scientific issues around a coherent theme of interest to a broad audience.

Technical workshops

Four to six technical workshops will be selected by the Programme Committee and will take place 12:30-15:30 preceding the formal opening of the Forum. Technical workshops are meant to discuss technical advances in various fields of research, with the emphasis on techniques, not on scientific results. They may last around 3 hours. The number of attendees at a technical workshop is limited from 50 to 100 participants in order to encourage interaction.

The FENS Forum takes place every two years, and the number of symposia is limited to 56. With more than 22,000 FENS members and a growing interest in attending the FENS Forum, the number of submitted proposals largely outnumber the symposia that can be accommodated in the scientific programme. The Programme Committee will therefore give priority to proposals of outstanding interest. Unless an area of topic of strong scientific advances (to be explained in the objectives of the symposium topic), the Programme Committee will not consider proposals whose topics overlap significantly with those included in the programme of the FENS Forum 2018.


The basic criteria for selection are the scientific interest of the topics, the achievements of the speakers in the field, and their ability to present their work to a broad multidisciplinary audience. Preference will be given to symposia that tackle a topic from various angles and aim to present different views and opinions rather than presenting the work of collaborating groups. The balance of gender, ‘scientific seniority’ and geographical distribution of the affiliation of speakers will also be taken into consideration by the Programme Committee when selecting the successful proposals.

Number of speakers/chairpersons


A proposal must include 4 speakers. Symposia are chaired by 1 or 2 persons. It is recommended that no more than 1 chairperson be among the 4 speakers.

Technical workshops

A proposal must include from 4 (minimum) to 6 speakers (maximum) for a 3-hours workshop. Workshops are chaired by 1 or 2 persons. It is recommended that no more than 1 chairperson be among the speakers.


Junior as well as senior scientists are encouraged to participate in the proposals. However, all speakers should be experienced in presenting their research to a broad multidisciplinary audience.


The involvement of scientists from European laboratories is strongly encouraged, but proposals may be submitted by or may include any scientist from any country as chairperson and/or speaker.


The proposed speakers/chairpersons at the symposium or workshop should preferably belong to different institutions from different countries, but never exceed 2 speakers from the same research group or institute.


Eligibility of proposals for symposia and technical workshops is depending on the inclusion of both genders in the list of speakers. The single-gender symposia will not be considered by the Programme Committee unless the proposers can give convincing arguments why only male or only female speakers are included (see below for additional eligibility criteria).


The following rules should be followed for any symposium or technical workshop proposal:

  • a chairperson at the FENS Forum 2018 cannot act as a chairperson at the FENS Forum 2020,
  • a speaker at the FENS Forum 2018 cannot be proposed as a speaker at the FENS Forum 2020,
  • a person who has been both chairperson and speaker at the FENS Forum 2018 cannot be proposed as chairperson nor speaker at the FENS Forum 2020,
  • no member of the Programme Committee of the FENS Forum 2020 can be proposed as chairperson or speaker at the FENS Forum 2020,
  • no member of the Host Society Committee of the FENS Forum 2020 can be proposed as chairperson or speaker at the FENS Forum 2020,
  • no member of the FENS Executive Committee (2018-2020) can be proposed as chairperson or speaker at the FENS Forum 2018,
  • Individuals can participate only once as speaker at the same FENS Forum,
  • Individuals can participate only once as chair at the same FENS Forum,
  • Both genders should be included in the proposed symposia or workshops

For a list of chairpersons and speakers at FENS Forum 2018, please click here.

A. Choice of themes

Novelty and scientific interest are essential. Looking at the programme of the previous FENS Forum will help you select the theme. The title of your proposal must be brief, meaningful and precise. Avoid terms devoid of real semantic content such as “New insights in…”, “Trends in…”, “Advances in… ”

The Objectives should:

  • state the scientific purpose and content of the proposal
  • explain the choice of speakers/chairpersons
  • present its novelty and scientific interest in the context of international research

Remember that the Programme Committee will have to examine dozens of proposals. A clear message is the best way to make yourself understood.

B. Choice of speakers/chairpersons

Do not propose someone without his/her consent, or someone who is not eligible (see Eligibility). Individuals may participate in several proposals, but if accepted, they can participate in only one symposium or workshop. You must make sure that you have been informed about the other proposals in which your partners participate. The Programme Committee will assume that all partners of a given proposal are fully informed about each other’s projects.

Each proposed person is committed to participate in the Forum in case of acceptance of the proposal. By submitting a proposal, each speaker and chairperson agrees to follow the rules described in the section Agreement and Disclaimer.

Information on each proposed participant (chairpersons and speakers) will have to be included in the submission form. The easiest way is to send your partners an e-mail with the list of items to complete that they will return to you (see model in the Necessary items for proposal submission).​​

C. Proposal submission

During the submission period (see dates and deadlines), all proposals must be submitted via online proposal submission available from 25 March till 20 May 2019 on the FENS Forum 2020 website.

For administrative purposes, all correspondence with FENS will be done exclusively by the person who submitted the proposal.

Prepare carefully your proposal before submitting it online. It is essential that you fill out each point in the submission form. Once all points are completed your proposal will then be effectively submitted. Incomplete proposals (i.e. no chairperson and/or less than 4 speakers, and/or missing communication titles) will NOT be considered by the Programme Committee.

Symposium proposal

For a symposium proposal, you will have to submit information on:

  • The proposal itself (title, description, scientific domains)
  • 1 or 2 chairpersons (name, address, communication title (if also speaker))
  • 4 speakers (name, address, communication title)
Technical workshop proposal

For a technical workshop proposal, you will have to submit information on:

  • The proposal itself (title, description, scientific domains)
  • 1 or 2 chairpersons (name, address, communication title (if also speaker))
  • 4 to 6 speakers (name, address, communication title)

Once a proposal is submitted, the corresponding partner will receive a receipt by automatic email, with a proposal number and a confidential access code. This code will allow the corresponding partner to access the proposal for editing whenever necessary until the deadline for submission.

No modification will be accepted after the deadline.

NOTE: the codes for a proposal should be used exclusively by the corresponding partner. FENS will assume no responsibility if the code is given away or misused.

A receipt, without an access code, will be sent to all the other partners for the proposal, with a possibility to view the proposal, but not to modify it. Should modifications be necessary, partners are invited to discuss with the “corresponding partner” who will be responsible for the editing of the proposal.

D. Editing of proposals

The corresponding partner is the only person who can edit a proposal, or even withdraw it, until the deadline for submission. To do so, connect to “Call for proposals” page, and ask for editing using the proposal access code given after submission.

You may edit the following:

  • the proposal page itself,
  • any speaker page (from minor changes to the replacement of a speaker by another speaker for example),
  • the function of any participant (chairperson and/or speaker).

You may delete a participant and/or insert a new participant and you may withdraw/re-submit the proposal. When withdrawn, the proposal is kept in the database, but marked as withdrawn, so that should you wish to re-activate it (with or without modification), you will not have to type in everything again.

Always review the proposal after editing to check its content and validity.

The Programme Committee will examine all proposals, which are complete and follow FENS rules. Proposals may be accepted as they stand. In some cases, the Programme Committee may accept a proposal provided that the organisers include modifications necessary to improve the proposal and/or to make it coherent with other selected symposia.

Decisions will be sent by email to the participants shortly after the Programme Committee meeting (see Dates and Deadlines) The proposals will be definitely accepted once the organisers have replied, accepted the FENS Forum conditions and confirmed their participation.

25 March 2019 Online ​submission for symposium & technical workshop proposals open
27 May 2019 Extended deadline for symposium & technical workshop proposals​
End July 2019 Acceptance notifications sent to all proposal submissions
October 2019 Scientific programme published on the Forum website

If the proposal is accepted, FENS will waive the registration fee for each speaker and chairperson, but will NOT cover travel and accommodation expenses. It is up to the proposal organisers or/and proposed speakers to find funding for travel, accommodation and other expenses.

By submitting a proposal, all proposed participants agree that:

  1. The proposal must comply with ethical guidelines for scientific research in general, and in particular for human and animal research (for details, see the European Journal of Neuroscience author guidelines)
  2. FENS Programme Committee will not consider any incomplete proposal or any proposal including persons who are not eligible (see Choice of chairpersons and speakers),
  3. Each one of the proposed participants has given his/her consent for the proposal and is committed to participate in the Forum in case of acceptance,
  4. In case the proposal is accepted, each speaker accepts the conditions of participation in the Forum as defined by FENS,
  5. The Programme Committee may require changes in speakers or in topics for the proposal before final acceptance,
  6. FENS may refuse any change after a proposal has been accepted by the Programme Committee, and therefore may cancel a session, which would no longer correspond to the approved proposal. Any change must have the prior approval of the Programme Committee,
  7. In no event will FENS be liable for the content of a proposal with respect to its participants or any other person or institution.

List of items necessary to include in the forms during the submission period:

Proposal page

  • Type of proposal: symposium or technical workshop
  • Title: < 100 characters. Please do not use abbreviations or Greek characters
  • Brief description (for the public): 500 characters maximum, spaces included
  • Objectives (for the Programme Committee): 1500 characters maximum, spaces included
  • Theme

Use the pull-down menus of the proposal form to select the main theme for your proposal (you may select two themes).

The main themes are:

  • Development and Stem Cells
  • Neurons and Glia: Intrinsic Properties, Cell Biology and Cell Types
  • Synapses and Plasticity
  • Sensory and Motor Systems
  • Cognition and Behavior
  • Internal States and Homeostasis
  • Disorders of the Nervous System
  • Circuit Dynamics and Oscillations
  • Computational and Theoretical Neuroscience
  • Novel Methods and Technology Development
  • General Neuroscience Topics

For a detailed list of themes and sub-themes, please click here.

Chairperson & speaker pages

  • Title of presentation (for speakers only): < 150 characters. Please do not use abbreviations or Greek characters​
  • Last name
  • First name and initials of other names
  • Ms / Mr
  • Title (Dr, Prof)
  • Status: PhD student – junior scientist – senior scientist
  • Neuroscience society membership
  • Institution 1 (University, company, etc.)
  • Institution 2 (laboratory, etc.)
  • Institution 3 (group, etc)
  • Street
  • Postal code (for countries where it precedes the city)
  • City
  • Zip / Postal code (for countries where it follows the city)
  • Country
  • Telephone
  • E-mail address (mandatory)
  • Publications (for speakers and chairs): Three publications relevant to the proposal and/or communication​


Please use correct PubMed formatting when listing speakers and chairs publications. For procedures on PubMed formatting click ​​here.

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