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Information about conferences, how to find them and evaluate their suitability.

Types of conferences

There are many types of academic gatherings, listed here are a few commonly used terms to describe them:

  • Conference is a large official meeting, usually lasting over a few days with a formal agenda, at which people come together to discuss their views on a topic. Conferences often feature keynote presentations as well as break-out sessions.
  • Congress would typically be held at regular intervals (for example annually or every two years), often featuring a series of invited talks or keynotes.
  • Meeting is often used interchangeably with Conference or Congress.
  • Symposium is a smaller conference, often featuring more narrow topics than a Conference, Congress or Meeting, usually runs over one day with multiple expert speakers.
  • Summit is often considered a meeting of decision-makers, where experts may be invited to contribute to the topic.
  • Seminar is a lecture or presentation with discussion delivered to a small audience on a particular topic or set of topics that are educational in nature.
  • Forum aims to encourage discussion and sharing of ideas, often in round-table format.
  • Workshop is similar to Seminar, but with an emphasis on “hands-on-practice” or laboratory work, where participants expect to practice new skills under an expert instructor.

Why attend conferences

Attending conferences is an excellent way to:

  • Stay up to date with research in your field
  • Network with your peers
  • Build or improve collaborations
  • Receive immediate feedback on your work
  • Possibility to reflect on your own research/study
  • Gain experience in presenting your research
  • Position yourself as an expert
  • Promote your coming or existing publications (referencing them in your slides)