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Guidelines for chairpersons

Speakers/authors may be nominated by the session convener(s) to act as chairperson of a particular oral, poster, or PICO sub-session. In order to maintain the overall quality of the scientific programme, it is essential that the chairpersons perform their functions properly. Below you will find a brief description of these functions:


It is prohibited to take photos of and/or to copy electronically any scientific material during all sessions. Chairpersons and the technical assistants should make sure that these rules are adhered to.



A technical assistant will be present in the lecture room. The assistant will help the chairperson and speakers in setting up the speakers' notebooks or installing the presentation files on the lecture room notebook.

Conducting the session

The chairperson is responsible for conducting the session. S/he is expected to open and close the session on time and to ensure that the speakers of the session are present and that they are able to make their presentations without disruption. All times allocated for presentations include also the time for discussions and change-over. For example, a 15 min oral presentation should consist of 12 min actual presentation + 3 min discussion.

Verification of presenting authors and handling of no-shows

Before each presentation the chairperson should verify that the speaker is listed in the programme as one of the authors. If this is not the case and the speaker is not sufficiently acquainted with the work in order to answer questions, only the title of the paper should be read. If none of the co-authors is present, these no- shows have to be recorded. The lecture room assistant will compile a list.

Time schedule

In view of the many parallel sessions, the time schedule of the session must be strictly kept. Any disruption is extremely frustrating for those wishing to attend only selected presentations. Therefore, if a gap should occur in the time schedule and no stand-by paper is available to fill in, discussions on the previous talks or short oral introductions of poster papers, if not foreseen in the programme, should be stimulated.

Notebook presentations

The set-up of presentations is organized in the respective lecture rooms. Authors who wish to give a presentation using their own notebook must connect it to the VGA panel at the speaker's desk in the order of presentation and test it before the actual session starts. Please avoid setting up or disconnecting notebooks during the session. Authors who wish to give a presentation by using just their own data medium (USB flash drive) should use the lecture room notebook. The chairperson should verify that such a presentation can be given.

Programme changes

Any programme changes received after the programme book has been compiled and ready for print will be included in the "Daily programme". This revised session programme is shown outside of the corresponding lecture room well before the session starts. The chairperson will receive her/his copy from the assistant, and s/he is kindly asked to return it after the session. Any last-minute modifications should be noted in these programmes by the chairperson.

At a glance: 10 rules for oral sessions

  • Prepare yourself by reading the abstracts to be able to lead a lively and interesting discussion.
  • Get to the venue early and make sure all equipment is working properly.
  • Find out in advance whether all your speakers are present.
  • Let your speakers know how you plan to run your session.
  • Introduce yourself and the speakers.
  • Communicate how much time is left to the speaker.
  • Keep control of questions and answers.
  • Prepare some questions in advance.
  • Do not be afraid to move on without questions if time is running out.
  • Do not let the session overrun.

These 10 rules were inspired by the article by Bateman & Bourne (2009), doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000517.


Presenting Interactive COntent (PICO) is a concept to combine the advantages of short oral presentations with watching the presentations afterwards again on touch screens, to hold discussions with the author and colleagues, and to network. PICO sessions take place in the form of a PICO spot, a combination of an audience together with a number of touch screen displays. The PICO session starts with two minute presentations of all authors (2-minutes-madness). Chairpersons are asked to ensure that the rather tight schedule is kept. An assistant will be available at the PICO spot. After all authors presented the essence of their work in two minutes, the chairperson invites the audience to move to the touch screens (PICO viewing).


Chairpersons of poster sessions should gather and guide the audience from poster to poster in the order of their appearance, and they should invite the authors to present their posters for some minutes and stimulate discussions afterwards.