Prior to every congress, the ISE Board solicits bids for hosting the congress scheduled to take place approximately four years from the formal Call for Congress Proposals. Below are the general guidelines for preparing a proposal, but please note that they may be subject to minor changes before the formal Call for Proposals is made.

The guidelines for submission are available below and as a Word Document.

*Electronic submissions must contain your name or your organization’s name in the file name (e.g., John_Smith_2018Congress proposal.doc).

Please include the following information and address the following criteria in your proposal in a maximum of 10 pages (not including maps, photos and supporting documents).

Proposal FORMAT

PART A: Please submit a brief narrative answering the following questions (in order):

1. Why do you want to host the xxth ISE Congress?

2. How will the Congress that you host further the goals of the ISE (refer to the ISE vision)?

3. How will hosting the Congress further the goals of your organization (for example, to bring attention to a local issue or international interaction to a local group)?

4. How will your organizing team encourage and incorporate participation of Indigenous, traditional and local community members?

5. What are your preliminary ideas for Congress themes?

6. ISE congresses are intended to be more than academic meetings; the key goal of the congress is to create a productive space for exchanges between diverse political, cultural and epistemological views in ethnobiology and biocultural diversity. This has included information sharing opportunities such as talking circles, storytelling, demonstrations, performances, videos as well as scientific oral and poster presentations. How will you achieve these central goals of the ISE?

7. Briefly describe the host organization or institution’s relevant strengths and/or interests in ethnobiology, biocultural diversity and related fields? Please indicate any relevant relationships (formal and informal) between the host organization and local communities who share these interests.

8. Why would the host country and region be an important place to hold an ISE congress? What points of geographical and historical interest exist in the region? Please make special reference to cultural and biological diversity, ability to interact with local ethnobiologists and with Indigenous, traditional, and/or local communities, and to contacts with other relevant organizations and institutions.

9. What is the host organization’s capacity and experience in relation to organizing a major event of this kind? Please be specific and as realistic as possible in assessing aspects such as available venues for the congress, establishment of active review committees, management of large volumes of email, ability to process online and offline payments (for any required fees additional to the congress registration itself), ability to provide support for managing travel logistics for participants (including visa processing, local transportation, accommodation arrangements, etc.)

10. What is your proposed plan for organizing the Congress? Please include information about the following: specific Congress location and locations of potential venues; local organizing committee; infrastructure and services; institutional, governmental and other support, and a realistic funding strategy including estimated overall budget (please note that ISE will retain a portion of the registration revenue) . Maps and photos of the proposed location and region can be included as supporting materials.

PART B: Please make sure you provide details on the following criteria:

1. Logistics: Please provide estimates of travel cost and convenience (how well the location is connected to the rest of the world). Do adequate facilities exist for accommodation? Is local administrative support available for logistics? Are visas relatively easy to obtain? What strategy do you have to help participants get visas? Are interesting field sites nearby and accessible? What local transportation is available and how will this be managed?

2. Institutions: Do appropriate cultural or scientific institutions exist in the proposed Congress location?   Appending supporting documentation (such as a draft Memorandum of Understanding) from local communities indicating interest in and support of the Congress is recommended and will strengthen your application.

3. Infrastructure: The physical space in which the congress takes place is essential to the success of the congress.  There are typically 200-500 participants so space for up to 4-5 concurrent sessions may be necessary, as well as at last one space that is large enough to accommodate all participants for Society business sessions that are held in plenary. Can the proposed venue(s) accommodate these needs and has this been (or how will this be) secured? If there is more than one venue, are they within walking distance of one another? If not, how do you propose transportation for participants among the different venues?

4. Communications: Effective communication at many levels is essential to a successful congress. How will the team maintain regular, effective communication with and involvement of the international organizing committee, ISE Board and ISE staff?  Is wifi readily available at the proposed venue(s) and if so, with or without cost to participants? What is the state of local communications and Congress facilities? Is local administrative support available for communications and correspondence (through fax, email, and message posting on the web)?

5. Organizational and fundraising capacity: Is your team able and willing to establish a strong and active local organizing committee to undertake the Congress program, logistics, and fundraising? Noting that Congress registration revenue is not sufficient to support holding the congress, please outline in detail a fundraising plan and any potential grant opportunities you may have already identified. Please include demonstrated evidence of your experience and capacity in organizing and fundraising for congresses/conferences.

6. Congress website: Does your team have the ability to develop and regularly update a detailed web page or create a website for the Congress?
Proceedings: Does your Congress organizing team have an interest in, and ability to compile and oversee publication of Congress Proceedings, either electronically or in print? Note: it is expected that at least 50% of royalties from Proceedings are donated to the ISE to support ongoing organizational costs.

Selection Criteria

The ISE Board will evaluate and rank proposals based on the above criteria while also striving to maintain geographic rotation of congresses across different regions. The Board may contact you for additional information and clarification. Please note that final decisions (vote by membership) will be based on the information you provide and recommendations of the ISE Board.

To date Congresses have been held in:

15th (planned) Congress 2016 Kampala, Uganda
14th Congress 2014 Lamai Gompa, Bhutan
13th Congress 2012 Montpellier, France
12th Congress 2010 Tofino, Canada
11th Congress 2008 Cusco, Peru
10th Congress 2006 Chiang Rai, Thailand
  9th Congress 2004 Canterbury, Kent, UK
  8th Congress 2002 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  7th Congress 2000 Athens, USA
  6th Congress 1998 Whakatane, Aotearoa/New Zealand
  5th Congress 1996 Nairobi, Kenya
  4th Congress 1994 Lucknow, India
  3rd Congress 1992 Mexico City, Mexico Chair
  2nd Congress 1990 Kunming, China
  1st Congress 1988 Belem, Brazil

Proposals must be received by the due date to allow sufficient time for members to read them online before voting which will begin in mid-May 2014. As the ISE moved to online voting in 2012, finalists are encouraged to supplement their written proposal with a short video or powerpoint presentation which can be linked to in the e-ballot.

The organization with the winning bid will be invited to make a short presentation during the 2nd General Assembly in person, but a presentation by proxy is also acceptable. The decision will be announced publicly in June 2014. Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have as you consider your proposal submission.

Expectations of the ISE

As Society business also takes place at the ISE Congresses, it is expected that the Congress hosts will work closely with the ISE to ensure that sufficient time is allocated on the Congress agenda to conduct the business of the ISE. The amount of time required for this will be determined through direct conversations with the ISE staff and Board.

The Congress hosts will not be directly responsible for funding participant costs to attend the 16th ISE Congress (e.g. travel costs or registration fees), but are expected to assist the ISE to fundraise for Indigenous travel bursaries or awards. In the event that funds are raised by the Congress hosts for the purpose of supporting Indigenous participant travel, decisions on disbursement will be made in collaboration with the ISE.

Please note that the ISE currently has a cap for ISE member registration rates at $200 USD. This may be represented as “early bird” rates that then may increase through the registration open period, at the discretion of the hosts. There is no cap on fees for late registration or for non-ISE member registration.

The ISE will support the ISE Congress Organizing Committee to the degree possible through the paid time of ISE staff and the in-kind time of ISE Board Members and other interested ISE members for Congress planning, fundraising, and other activities agreed by the  Congress host and the ISE.

The ISE will provide planning documents, schedules, grant applications, and template announcements and letters to the Congress hosts, which can be drawn on as needed. Likewise, Congress hosts are expected to provide the ISE with copies of all planning documents, schedules, grant applications, and financial information pertaining to their ISE Congress for the purposes of future Congress planning. Additionally, a final Congress report and final list of Congress participants will be provided to the ISE in a timely manner following the completion of the Congress.

The ISE takes the responsibility of managing the online registration for the Congress and will retain up to $10,000 USD or an agreed upon percentage of the registration revenue as the administrative fee to offset staff time and other costs incurred by the ISE.

The group with the winning bid will be expected to develop and sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the ISE, which will clearly identify the above responsibilities and expectations. Other responsibilities and expectations will be negotiated with the Congress hosts and will be dependent on the capacity and needs of the host organization.

At least one representative from the host organization is strongly encouraged to attend both the Congress where they make their initial presentation and the Congress immediately preceding the one that they will host. The ISE has found that having this overlap is beneficial to successful Congress planning and supports good communication between the Congress hosts and the ISE.  The ISE will assist in fundraising to support this if needed.