AGCI Insight

New Inclusive Scientific Meetings guide helps you build a structure of inclusion for all

March 30, 2023
In this March 8, 2023 webinar, 500 Women Scientists Co-Executive Director Nicole Williams and Aspen Global Change Institute Program Director Emily Jack-Scott walk through the new Guide to Organizing Inclusive Scientific Meetings.

Scientific meetings form the connective tissue of the global scientific enterprise. They’re where scientists at all career stages go to learn, share, and challenge the latest research and ideas, foster new collaborations, and deepen connections to colleagues both within and beyond home institutions.

While the structure and culture of scientific meetings have come a long way in recent years, they are still not equally welcoming to all participants, especially people from identities often marginalized in the sciences, including those who identify as Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC); LGBTQ+ people, women; D/deaf and Hard of Hearing people, blind and low-vision people, and physically, mentally, and cognitively disabled and neurodivergent people; first-generation people; linguistically diverse people; and people early in their career.

Many people—and academics, especially—rely on scientific meetings to grow the knowledge and networks needed for a successful career in the sciences. It’s critical that scientific meetings foster a culture of belonging for all so the full diversity of our scientific communities can thrive and contribute to better, more innovative science.

The new Guide to Inclusive Scientific Meetings provides step-by-step guidance and strategies to plan more inclusive, diverse, equitable, accessible, and just STEM conferences, webinars, workshops, and trainings. Based on peer-reviewed research and input from authors representing 500 Women Scientists, Earth Science Women’s Network, Aspen Global Change Institute, Pal(a)eoPERCS, NCAR, LiKEN, MPOWIR, and other organizations, this Guide presents concrete recommendations for how to create inclusive and equitable spaces at scientific meetings.

On March 8, two of the Guide’s co-authors—500 Women Scientists Co-Executive Director Nicole Williams and Aspen Global Change Institute Program Director Emily Jack-Scott—held a virtual webinar to introduce the Guide. Over the course of an hour, they presented guiding principles, action items, and recommendations that can be taken throughout the full cycle of a scientific meeting, from planning through facilitation to post-meeting assessment.

Designed primarily for scientific meeting organizers and leadership, the Guide to Inclusive Scientific Meetings also includes insights for presenters, professional societies, event funders, and participants. The Guide intentionally draws from the wealth of resources and collective wisdom that exists on advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and accessibility (DEIJA) in the professional meeting space.

“We weren’t looking to reinvent the wheel by putting together this resource,” says Jack-Scott. “Rather, we wanted to pull together a really great overview and easy way of connecting with the resources that are already out there, both from partners working in the space to advance diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and accessibility, and from the scientific literature in that domain.”

Whether your meeting is in-person, virtual, or hybrid, the new Guide to Inclusive Scientific Meetings will help you build an inclusive event that truly welcomes and supports all voices.