Member Initiated Symposia: All Hands On Deck
by Karla Miller, 2018 Program Chair, and Doug Noll, 2020 Program Chair
Putting together a meeting as large as the ISMRM – with over 6000 attendees – is a huge effort. The 80 volunteers serving on the Annual Meeting Program Committee (AMPC) work hard throughout the year to bring the meeting together. We think the AMPC does a great job – and we hope you agree. But we can always do better. In particular, we recognize that our membership is far too diverse, and our science too fast-paced, to be covered by one relatively lean committee. So we’re asking for your help – we want you to plan your dream session for this year’s annual meeting.
We’re proud to announce a new initiative for Paris 2018: Member Initiated Symposia. We have set aside up to 24 slots during parallel weekday sessions – one of these could be yours. You choose the topic, speakers and format; and if your proposal is selected, you will be fully credited as a session organizer. You can find details at the submission site for Symposia proposals (now closed), including Selection Criteria and Frequently Asked Questions.
So how can you make your proposal stand out? In this post we offer some further insight into what the AMPC will be looking for when selecting Symposia.
Overall quality of content is critical, but just as important is fit within the overall program at the annual meeting. Successful Symposia will complement and enhance the educational sessions, plenaries and named lecturers (see the preliminary Program-At-A-Glance). What have we missed? This is your chance to fill in the gaps.
We want Symposia to enrich the annual meeting in other ways, as well. The most competitive Symposia will aim to add a new dimension to the meeting. We are particularly interested in Symposia that target unusual audiences, bridge areas that are traditionally separate, or foster timely discussion. Similarly, while we expect that most Symposia will follow a traditional lecture format, we are open to other session designs.
We want Member Initiated Symposia to provide a platform for fresh perspectives and new voices. When designing a Symposium, think about how your choices will be perceived by the audience, and whether you can bring in faces who aren’t the “usual suspects” at the ISMRM. We welcome all members to participate, including our large number of trainee members/attendees.
These Symposia are now the primary venue for Study Groups to contribute scientific content to the meeting. Study Groups are strongly encouraged to propose a Symposium. We encourage you to contact your Study Group leadership to discuss your ideas and hear about their plans. Study Groups should be in an excellent position to put together competitive Symposium proposals, but we also anticipate many successful proposals coming from outside our Study Groups.
Member Initiated Symposia are an excellent way for us to make the meeting reflect the membership. Our membership is diverse on a number of axes: about 30% of our members are women; over 15% are from Asia; and 30% hold a medical degree. Yet we don’t always manage to reflect this diversity in our program. Help us improve the meeting by serving under-represented groups and topics – including new dimensions of diversity.
Last but not least, don’t leave your planning too late – Symposium proposals are due 1 October. We are excited help you make your ideas a reality!