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DEADLINE: December 14, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. (U.S. Eastern Time)

Tips for Writing a Competitive Invited Session Proposal
Tips for Writing a Competitive Invited Session Proposal

ASHG is accepting proposals for Invited Sessions for the 2018 Annual Meeting in San Diego, California. The meeting will be held October 16-20, 2018.

Submitting a proposal offers ASHG members the opportunity to directly participate in the development of the scientific program. Through a rigorous review process, the ASHG Program Committee assembles the best program possible on a diverse set of topics in human genetics. A detailed proposal will enable the Program Committee to thoroughly evaluate the merit and relevance of the proposed topic and speakers.

The Program Committee encourages submissions covering the following topics:

  • Emerging Genomic and Bioinformatic Methods and Tools
  • Comparative Genomics on Species and Populations
  • Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications of New Technologies and Policies
  • Studies on the Molecular Mechanisms of Genetic Disease
  • Advances in Mendelian or Complex Trait Analysis
  • Innovative Approaches to Genetics Education
  • Employing Genetic Information to Improve Patient Care
  • The Intersection of Human Genetics with Other Disciplines or Investigative Approaches
  • Engagement of Stakeholders in Clinical Genetics and Genomics

In addition to the above topics, the Program Committee is particularly interested in sessions that integrate multiple basic science and clinical aspects of human genetic disease. Examples include, but are not limited to: (i) patient phenotyping/diagnosis; (ii) mapping disease loci and characterizing gene function; (iii) pathogenic mechanisms of disease-associated variants; (iv) molecular diagnosis and patient/family counseling; (v) therapeutic development; and/or (vi) disease management. Strong proposals should include novel aspects of the above areas, speakers with complementary clinical and basic science expertise, and be applicable to a broad audience interested in human inherited disorders.

During the submission process, the 2018 Program Committee (PC) members are available for questions and discussions to help you frame or design your proposal. You may also contact the PC chair, Heather Mefford, directly at For general questions or if you are unsure whom to contact, email



  • Proposals are due by December 14, 2017. Review begins right away and late proposals will not be accepted.
  • Invited Sessions will have a uniform format of four 30-minute slots. This facilitates attendee travel between sessions. There should be, therefore, four speakers within a given session. An exception may be granted for panel and debate style topics. If you are considering such a proposal, email for assistance during submission.
  • The proposer must be a current ASHG member (2017 and/or 2018) and must serve as one of the session moderators. PC members are not permitted to propose, moderate, or speak in Invited Sessions.
  • Before submitting a proposal, proposers should contact all speakers to ensure their availability for the ASHG 2018 Annual Meeting as well as their agreement with ASHG policies. It is important to stress that only a fraction of the submitted proposals can be selected for inclusion in the final ASHG 2018 Program.
  • ASHG records Invited Sessions (audio and slides only) so they can be viewed after the meeting via ASHG’s secure website. Submission of an invited proposal constitutes acceptance of this policy. Proposers should make certain that all speakers are aware of and in agreement with this policy.


  • Member speakers are provided complimentary registration to recognize their special contribution to the Annual Meeting (a member speaker is defined as a person who is/was a member of ASHG during any of these three years - 2018, 2017, 2016).
  • Non-member speakers are also provided complimentary registration and, in addition, are offered funds to offset hotel and travel costs. There is a limit of two non-member speakers per session and only one of these can travel from outside of North America due to the cost of air transportation.
  • ASHG aims to achieve gender balance among invited speakers at the Annual Meeting. We encourage those submitting Invited Session or Workshop proposals to include speakers from both genders. We also encourage diverse representation in terms of background, geography, and professional experience.
  • SPECIAL NOTE: Proposals are encouraged for Invited Sessions that are proposed, moderated, and presented by trainees. At least one Invited Session will be allocated as a trainee session. When submitting a proposal, please mark the appropriate checkbox to indicate your status. 


  • Please have all information in front of you before you begin the application process. We suggest you draft your proposal in a separate document first so that you can cut and paste details into the submission site.
  • If you have completed the above first step before you begin the process, the submission should take 20-30 minutes. If you do not have all of your information, the process may take up to 90 minutes to complete. Please set the appropriate time aside before you begin.
  • You will need the following information to complete the submission process:
    • Proposer: Full name and address of the proposer, session topic, session title, session description (100-250 words), rationale, learning objectives, and target audience.
    • Moderator(s): Full name and address of a second moderator, if applicable. The proposer must serve as a moderator. A second moderator is encouraged, but not required.
    • Speakers: Full name and institution, presentation title, and presentation description (100-250 words) for the four speakers, including presentations from the moderators. Remember: Vague abstracts may be difficult for the Program Committee to evaluate and may not be competitive.
    • When finished, click the “submit completed proposal” button to save your proposal. You will receive an onscreen confirmation with a proposal number. Please save this for your records. You will need your proposal number when making changes to your submission.
    • After submitting your proposal, please fill out a conflict of interest (COI) form to disclose any relevant conflicts of interest pertaining to the session. A personalized link will be on your onscreen confirmation and in your confirmation email. This disclosure is only for the proposer and must be completed before your proposal can be reviewed.


  • All proposals are reviewed by the PC. Final decisions will be sent to all proposers in March 2018.
  • When appropriate, the PC consults the Social Issues Committee (SIC) and/or Information & Education Committee (I&E) for reviewing proposals. If SIC or I&E committee members are involved in an invited proposal, they are required to recuse themselves from the review process.
  • Proposers may be contacted by a member of the PC during the review process and asked to provide additional details, as explained below.
  • The review of proposals is a multi-stage process. The following steps are taken in a genuine effort to ensure the best possible scientific program containing high-quality sessions.
    • The PC first shortlists proposals and determines which of the shortlisted proposals need to be revised.
    • PC representatives reach out to a subset of proposers with recommendations for revisions, which may include speaker substitutions or merging two or more similar proposals. Proposers contacted by the PC are given 7-10 days to submit a revised proposal. NOTE: Some proposals will require no revisions but may still be accepted. In that case, proposers will not be contacted until March 2018.
    • The PC reevaluates the revised proposals and selects the final list of accepted proposals. Although every effort may be taken by a proposer to make the requested alterations, the PC will invariably need to reduce shortlisted proposals further to achieve a final collection of sessions with sufficient breadth for the meeting. This may mean that, even with suggested changes, a proposal may not be accepted.
  • Proposers should share a copy of these instructions with every potential speaker to make them aware of ASHG policies and how the proposals are evaluated and selected.


For questions, please contact the Meeting Management Office at

The American Society of Human Genetics
9650 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD 20814


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