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Researcher Development

Researcher Development

Establish a timeline

After defining your goals and objectives, the first order of priority is to establish a working timeline. This involves figuring out the conference date and working backwards from there. If you are holding your conference in person, booking a venue for your conference should be your first action, as all your planning – call for abstracts, logistics, advertising and much more – will revolve around this date. Many lecture halls and spaces for poster presentations will be booked up during term time for lectures and seminars, so deciding on a date in advance is necessary. These locations are likely available near holiday time or reading week.

You can download a Gantt chart template for organising conferences/

  1. Budget (Chapter 4)
  2. Decide on date and format (Chapter 1)
  3. Book room (Chapter 3)
  4. Event branding (Chapter 5)
  5. Save the date email (Chapter 3)
  6. Registration and call for abstracts (submission deadline) (Chapter 6)
  7. Website (optional) (Chapter 5)
  8. Sponsors (Chapter 4)
  9. Catering (Chapter 7)
  10. Travel for attendees (Chapter 7)
  11. Technology (Chapter 7)
  12. Review abstracts (Chapter 9)
  13. Plan program (Chapter 8)
  14. The event day (Chapter 10)

If you hold the conference in person or as a hybrid event, you will need to decide on the venue. The university has many open spaces and seminar rooms that can be used as conference venues – keep in mind the room capacity for the number of attendees. Room bookings at the university can all be done by emailing

If you are using a common space, it will be beneficial to speak to administrators of the space and send out an email to inform users of the space that a conference will be held as a courtesy and to avoid any potential hiccups.

Email template:

“Dear Sir/Madam,

Hope this email finds you well.

We are currently in the process of organising the Insert name conference and    are hoping to make a booking for the Insert room for the conference day. We             are hoping to hold the conference between Insert date and Insert date and         would like to check the availability of the room and proceed with the booking if             available.

Many thanks,

Organising Committee”

After you have received confirmation of your booking and the location, you will be able to start planning everything around this. You can also start advertising the conference with the date, time and location to give all the attendees time to prepare for the conference (see Chapter 5), as a lack of warning may deter some people from submitting an abstract (see Chapter 6).

Spread the word about the date and location of your conference as soon as it is confirmed so that people can block their calendars and plan for potential travel and talk/poster preparations. This can be in a “Save the date” email accompanied by the first media release of the event. It should be well-written, not overly long, attractive and informative. Below is an example of a “Save the date” email. Check Chapter 5 about how to set up a conference email account and other guidance on event branding.

Email template:

“Dear All,

We are excited to announce that the Insert conference name will be taking place on the Insert date! Insert a brief description of the conference.

When: Insert date per extension

Where: Insert venue

Insert an attractive reason to attend the conference. Example: CLESCon is a great opportunity to showcase your research to a college-wide audience, spark ideas and collaborations. Bring a poster, present a talk, or just come along and listen!

*** Exciting keynote talks from speakers across all departments ***

*** £££ worth of prizes up for grabs! ***

If applicable: The call for abstract submission and registration will open soon, so keep an eye for future emails.

We hope to see you there!”

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