Biochemical Society - Submitting a Harden Conference proposal.

Unique to the Biochemical Society, Harden Conferences are residential research conferences covering a specialist topic.

The planned scientific sessions feature speakers invited by the Programme Coordinators. Additionally time is left for extensive discussion and for short contributions (including posters and oral communications) by other conference participants.

In order to encourage free discussion, abstracts and proceedings of Harden Conferences are not published.

Acceptance by the Conferences Committee of a Harden Conference proposal means that the submitter (Programme Coordinator) is responsible for the scientific content of the meeting and the Biochemical Society Conference Office is responsible for the logistics, operations and budget. Programme Coordinators are expected to liaise very closely with the Conference Office staff to ensure the success of the event. You can view the terms and conditions for Programme Coordinators here.

Please use the following online form to submit your proposal. All proposals will be considered at the Conferences Committee Meeting at least 18 months before the proposed Conference date (proposal deadlines in February, May, August and November of each year).

Harden Conferences receive full secretariat services. To discuss the services available in full, or if you would like to discuss submitting a proposal, please Lorraine Reese  or email the Conferences department >

On the proposal form, please complete each heading and fulfil the specified criteria.

1. Full meeting title

Provide the working title for the Harden Conference.

2. Suggested date and duration

Programme Coordinators are asked to suggest a date for the meeting which should not clash with other Life Science events on a similar topic. Please contact the Conference Office for more information. See the Conference Office home page to view agreed future Biochemical Society conferences.

State the proposed length of the programme e.g. 3/4 days. Please note that Harden Conferences are usually 3 to 5 days in duration.

3. Venue

If you have suggestions for a venue, please ensure that it is spacious enough to accommodate a poster session and exhibition stands. If you do not have a venue in mind, the Conference Office will find suitable venues. The final choice of venue will rest with the Conference Office.

Please note that Harden Conferences are ‘fully residential only’ conferences and all registration fees offered will include onsite accommodation. Retreat style venues  are therefore most suitable.

A review of the Harden conferences means that they may now take place in Europe. Please state whether you would be happy for your conference to be run outside of the UK.

4. Relevant Research Area

Please indicate which Research Area your proposal is relevant to. Please note that before formal online submission, proposers need to discuss their proposal with the relevant Research Area(s). Proposals that have not been discussed with the relevant Research Area(s) are more likely to be returned to applicants for revision. Research Areas can be contacted directly to request feedback via email. Alternatively, proposers may contact individual member(s) of the relevant Area(s).

  •  I Genes
  •  II Molecular Structure and Function
  •  III Energy and Metabolism
  •  IV Cells
  •  V Signalling
  •  VI Biological Systems

5. Programme Coordinator

Please provide full contact details. Please note that at least one person of the Programme Committee should be a member of the Biochemical Society. If joint with another society, please list here.

6. Anticipated audience description and numbers

Include an approximate number of delegates, where they are based geographically, if they are likely to include Full/Student or Non Members of the Society, and what areas they will probably work in. Note: Harden Conferences usually attract an audience of up to a maximum of 150 attendees.

7. Case for the scientific programme

State the case for the science programme (300 words maximum) in terms of:

  • Importance
  • Timeliness
  • Attractiveness of publication
  • Topicality
  • When last organized as a Harden Conference (if appropriate)
  • Target audience

8. Please supply 4 – 6 keywords for the meeting (you can view the Society’s keywords here)

Please include some of the Society’s keywords that will assist with targeting the conference for marketing and promotion.

9. Harden Conference Format

Include a justification as to why the topic is suitable for a Harden Conference format (i.e fully residential and closed).

10. Include details of the additional programme that will allow for increased engagement with the audience

These can include discussion sessions, ‘Meet the expert/speaker’ sessions, breakout groups, mini workshops, flash poster presentations, networking sessions incorporated with the poster sessions etc.

Programme Coordinators are asked to include time for networking opportunities and poster sessions at Harden Conferences. Networking opportunities can include structured events such as the scheduling of meetings between delegates. The Conference Office can assist with organizing these events. Harden Conferences usually include free time in the afternoon for social activities. In addition, slots should be included for oral presentations selected from abstracts. 

11. Industry engagement

The Society encourages Programme Coordinators to engage industry as speakers, attendees and sponsors where appropriate. Please list companies and contacts that would be suitable to approach and outline any suggestions on how to ensure industry representatives are provided with opportunities to engage and interact with the audience.

12. Competing/recent meetings

Give information, if known, about any competing meetings and the last known meeting on the topic in UK/rest of the world.

13. Is this meeting part of a series, or a repeat meeting which has previously been sponsored by the Biochemical Society? 

If yes, please clarify if and how the following criteria are met:

Repeat meeting criteria:

  • Highlight why this meeting is timely now given the date this meeting was last organized
  • Demonstrate how the speaker list differs from the meeting previously organized by the Biochemical Society
  • Give details of new data which may be discussed and any areas of ‘Hot’ topics within this field
  • Highlight why Biochemical Society and Conference Office assistance is required 
  • Changing venue is encouraged to ensure that the repeat meeting does not become institution-specific

14. Speaker details

There is no prescribed invited speaker format, but a maximum of five invited speakers per full day of science is advised. Programme Coordinators are encouraged to invite as many talks from submitted abstracts as the programme allows – these ‘elevated’ speakers are not offered financial assistance.

Please see the list of Speaker allowances for Harden Conferences below.

Speaker travel allowances

Country Estimated cost
Costs are for flights into the UK from these countries:  


India £900
Israel £450
Italy £350
Japan £1000
Netherlands £250
Northern Ireland £120
Republic of Ireland £150
Russia £750
Scotland £120
Singapore £900
South Africa £900
South America £1000
Spain £300
Sweden £350
Switzerland £350
USA £600
Wales £100

Note the total speaker travel allowances will not exceed £1,800 per day of science.

15. Diversity guidelines

Appropriate representation of women as invited Speakers is required, and will be monitored by the Society. The Society aspires to 50% but recognizes that this target may be difficult to achieve in specific fields. At least 40% of the invited speakers should always be women. 

Programme Coordinators must:

  • Ensure a good balance between established and new investigators on the speaker list.
  • Ensure that there is an attempt for broad geographical representation where possible.

16. Budget – Sponsorship and support

To cover costs and keep delegate fees down, the conference office provides full support for the organisation of sponsorship and trade exhibition. If you have any existing contacts with potential sponsors, please list them here.