Call for Proposals

SER2021Call for Proposals
Symposia, Workshops and Training Courses

August 3 – November 15, 2020 CLOSED


The Scientific Program Committee is now inviting new proposals for symposia, workshops, and training courses to be held at SER2021, the 9th World Conference on Ecological Restoration, to be held virtually on June 21-24, 2021. The theme for the conference is A New Global Trajectory: Catalyzing Change Through the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. All proposals must be submitted through the online form provided below and must be received no later than November 15, 2020. Early submissions are highly encouraged, and reviews will be conducted on a rolling basis.

Those who had a symposium, workshop, or training course proposal approved for the Québec RE3 conference do not need to submit a new proposal for SER2021. You will be contacted by SER by November 16, 2020 to confirm that your proposal has been transferred to SER2021.

We are still determining how the change to a virtual conference will impact the length and format of trainings, workshops, and symposia; however, we are committed to a significant amount of participatory live interaction as a part of all sessions. Trainings and workshops will likely be held during the week of June 14 in advance of the main conference days. We appreciate your flexibility and will communicate any structural changes as soon as possible to session organizers.

Submissions related to one of the six thematic series of the conference are invited. We encourage submissions from all ecosystems, and we especially encourage practitioners to share their work. The six thematic series are:

1. Advancing the science and practice of restoration: This series focuses on improving the science or practice of ecological restoration, including lessons learned, linking science and practice, plant materials and seed-based restoration, new restoration techniques, and restoration effectiveness.

2.     Restoration as a nature-based solution: This series focuses on the use of restoration to address societal challenges and human health and wellbeing, including infrastructure, climate solutions, disaster mitigation, and water and food security.

3.     Multidisciplinary and cross-sectoral collaborations: This series focuses on restoration projects or programs that span multiple disciplines, including those that incorporate human health and wellbeing, rewilding and wildlife, conservation, and transboundary efforts.

4.     Scaling up restoration and adapting to limitations: This series focuses on the challenges and opportunities of significantly scaling up restoration, including the topics of landscape-scale restoration, corridors and connectivity, monitoring and evaluation, and implementing projects with limited resources.

5.     Empowering and engaging local communities: This series focuses on all aspects of working with local communities and increasing capacity for restoration, including citizen and participatory science, engaging stakeholders, creating a culture of restoration, working with youth in restoration, and Indigenous-led and local community-led restoration efforts.

6.     Planning, policy, and economics: This series focuses on topics including prioritizing restoration efforts, governance and public policy, land tenure, local and international restoration efforts, inspiring political will, innovative restoration financing, incentivizing restoration, and ecosystem services. 

Please carefully review the information below to aid your planning. You can direct any questions to

Symposia:  Symposia consist of a series of formal presentations (4 – 6 per session) on a given topic or theme with broad applicability and appeal for the field of ecological restoration. Symposia will be held concurrently with regular conference sessions during main conference days.

Workshops: Workshops are small, focused sessions emphasizing audience participation and group discussion. They are often led by a single organizer/facilitator, or a small group of facilitators, and aim to generate analysis and knowledge exchange around specific goals, challenges, problems, or research gaps. Workshops will be scheduled in the week before the main conference days (week of June 14). Organizers will have considerable flexibility to structure this time as they see most productive given their goals and objectives; however, the Conference Organizing Committee will determine minimum/maximum attendance and other details that may have financial or logistical implications for the conference. Participants may pay a separate fee over and above the cost of conference registration (to be determined in discussion with the Program Committee), and courses will be open to all attendees on a first-come, first-served basis; organizers may indicate if they want to open registration for their session to the public.

Training Courses:  Training courses focus on practical applications and professional development, and are intended to impart specific knowledge, skills, or methodologies. Courses will be scheduled during the week of June 14 in advance of the opening of the conference and will generally run for one full day (e.g. from 09:00-17:00). We will also consider longer courses spanning two days. Organizers need to ensure that their course can be completed in a completely virtual format. The programming and structure of each course is determined by the instructor(s); however, the Conference Organizing Committee will determine minimum/maximum attendance and other details that may have financial or logistical implications for the conference. Participants may pay a separate fee over and above the cost of conference registration (to be determined in discussion with the Program Committee), and courses will be open to all attendees on a first-come, first-served basis; organizers may indicate if they want to open registration for their session to the public.


All proposals must be submitted through the online submission form below no later than November 15, 2020. Early submissions are highly encouraged, and reviews will be conducted on a rolling basis.

Proposals must be submitted in English.

Individuals may only submit one proposal for a symposium or workshop, in the interest of opening the conference to wider participation. However, there is no limit to the number of symposia in which a delegate may participate as a speaker. Organizers of a symposium or workshop are also free to organize a training course.

Symposia should include a minimum of four speakers and a maximum of six. Generally, speakers will each have 15 minutes for their presentations (12 minutes for their talk and 3 minutes for questions), unless short flash presentations are integrated. We are still determining the best structure for presentations (combination of pre-recorded and live sessions). Organizers and speakers will have a chance to conduct a live Question and Answer session as part of their session.  

Workshops will have a duration of up to 2 hours and will be scheduled in the week prior to the conference (week of June 14). Organizers of these sessions will have a great deal of flexibility to use this time however they see best to deliver their program and accomplish their goals—contingent upon review of their agenda by the Program Committee when prompted for this.

Training courses will be scheduled in the week prior to the conference (week of June 14) and will generally run for one full day. Exceptions may be possible for shorter or longer courses. The Program Committee will work with instructors on a case-by-case basis to determine the best structure and duration for their course.

Please note: Sympoisa may be scheduled for any time during the conference. The Program Committee will work with organizers to determine time slots for sessions that are reasonable based on the location of the speakers (morning or afternoon/evening US time slots), but the Program Committee will not be able to accommodate special scheduling requests.


All of the following information must be provided on the submission form.

  • Title of the symposium, workshop, or training course (25 words max.)
  • Thematic series that best encompasses the session
  • Abstract – a brief overview of the objectives for your activity, topics to be covered, and relevance to restoration science, practice, or policy (250 words max.)
  • One-sentence summary of the event (50 words max.)
  • Lead organizer (name, institutional affiliation, email address)
  • Two alternate contacts (name, institutional affiliation, email address)
  • Draft program for the event
    • Symposium: a list of invited speakers including their affiliation and location, the title of their presentation, and an indication of whether their participation is confirmed
    • Workshop: a brief overview of the structure and expected outcomes as well as speakers/presenters with their affiliation and location
    • Training Course: a draft syllabus detailing the topics to be covered, teaching methods to be used, expected learning outcomes, and course duration

Additionally, following proposal submission, training course and workshop instructors will be asked to complete an estimate of registration fees to cover expenditures they may require to successfully deliver their session, as well as a discussion of whether their session can successfully be delivered online.


All submitted proposals will be peer-reviewed by members of the Program Committee. Proposals will be reviewed on a rolling basis (i.e. reviews will be ongoing throughout the submission period), and acceptance notices will be sent as early as possible to allow sufficient time for organizers to finalize programming, coordinate with speakers, and seek institutional support as necessary. For this reason, we encourage you to submit your proposal at the earliest date possible.

All proposals will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Scientific merit, with emphasis on new research results, cutting-edge developments, novel perspectives, and innovative or interdisciplinary approaches
  • Clear relevance to the conference theme and thematic series
  • Broad applicability for restoration professionals working in a variety of contexts, ecosystems, or geographical locations
  • Submission of a complete and compelling proposal

Some additional criteria will be applied to symposium proposals:

  • Integrated treatment of the topic, such that presentations go beyond individual case studies and contribute to a cohesive, overarching synthesis
  • Likelihood of a successful session, as indicated by a large proportion of confirmed speakers

For training courses and workshops, budgetary and financial considerations will also factor into the review. We will look at the estimated cost of offering each course, including any financial support requested by the instructor(s), and will determine the viability of these proposals based on the minimum number of participants needed to cover expenses.


All symposia, workshops, and training courses must have a lead organizer who serves as the primary point of contact for the Program Committee. We will also ask you to name two alternate contacts.

We will provide virtual logistical support for all symposia, as well as training on how to use any virtual systems selected for the conference. However, the conference is not able to provide any registration subsidies or waivers, or any other forms of support for the organizers or individual speakers named in any of the proposals. All participants will be required to register and pay for the conference. SER2021 is happy to discuss sponsored workshops, training courses, or symposia with organizers who are able to bring such a sponsorship to the event.

The conference will also provide virtual logistical support and virtual platform trainings for training courses and workshops. Assuming minimum registration rates are reached, course instructors/organizers can incorporate registration fees for the conference in their course budget and will be asked on the proposal submission form to indicate any other financial support they may require to successfully organize and deliver their course. The Organizing Committee will take these needs into consideration as part of the proposal review process.  Any additional financial support will be reflected either in the training course or workshop registration rate and/or the minimum of participants required.

Coordinating with invited speakers:  Symposium organizers are responsible for serving as the primary point of contact with their invited speakers throughout the planning process. Organizers will need to help ensure that all of their speakers submit abstracts through the online submission form before the specified deadline of 29 January 2021, and that all of their speakers register for the conference before the deadline for presenter registration on 15 March, 2021. Speakers who fail to register by this date may be excluded from the conference program. Organizers will also be responsible for ensuring that speakers in their session have uploaded any pre-recorded talks by the deadline (to be determined) and understand how to join any live virtual sessions that are part of your session. We encourage symposium organizers to proactively communicate with their speakers about any updates or changes affecting their session, such as scheduling details, cancellations, and other circumstances as they arise.

Scheduling:  Symposia may be scheduled at any time during the conference, although the Program Committee will be working to develop a schedule that ensures sessions are assigned to time slots that are reasonable for the speakers given their geographical location. Due to the large number of presenters and sessions we expect to receive, the Program Committee will be unable to honor special scheduling requests. Please make sure your invited speakers are aware of this when they agree to participate. Training courses and workshops will be scheduled in the week leading up to the conference (week of June 14).

Addressing cancellations and filling gaps:  If an individual presenter from your symposium cancels, withdraws, or fails to register for the conference before the deadline, we ask that you find another speaker to replace them. If you are unable to secure enough speakers to complete your symposium or to fill any such gaps, the Scientific Program Committee may assign an appropriate speaker to your session from the general pool of contributed abstracts. The Committee will make every effort to coordinate with you and obtain your approval if this occurs.

Registering for education credits:  Organizers are encouraged to register their symposium, workshop or training course as a pre-approved source of continuing education credits (CECs) under SER’s practitioner certification program (CERP). Accreditation under other organizations may also be possible (e.g., Professional Wetland Scientist through Society of Wetland Scientist, Professional Biologist, Chemist, Geologist). This can help increase participation and encourage attendance by a particular target audience. We will provide more details about pre-approval under SER’s program and potential for certification under other programs at the time we notify you of acceptance.  


03 August 2020            Symposia, workshop, short course proposal submission period opens

15 October 2020           Deadline for proposal submissions

13 November 2020       Abstract submission period opens

13 November 2020       Early registration opens

15 January 2021           Final batch of proposal acceptance notices sent

29 January 2021           Deadline for abstract submissions

1 March 2021               Final batch of abstract acceptance notices sent

15 March 2021             Deadline for Early Bird registration

15 March 2021             Deadline for presenter registration


Please do not submit a proposal unless you are confident that you will be able to fulfill your obligation to organize and deliver the activity proposed (we recognize that uncertainty due to COVID19 still exists, but we are planning to be able to accommodate whatever situation we are in at that point in time). Once a symposium, workshop or training course has been accepted, scheduled and announced, cancellations are disruptive and potentially preclude other delegates from participating in the conference program.

If you are a symposium/session/workshop organizer and extenuating circumstances force you to withdraw your event, we ask that you notify us as soon as possible at




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