Call for Scientific Session and Workshop Proposals 

Overview  |  Scientific Session  |  Workshop  |  Design Competition Team Contacts 

Download Call for Scientific Session and Workshop Proposal Packet

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Session, Workshop, and Design Competition Team Proposals deadline: 30 October 2020.

Thank you to all who submitted a proposal for CERF 2021! 

The Scientific Program Committee for the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation’s 2021 Conference (CERF 2021) invites proposals for Special Scientific Sessions and Workshops. This conference will celebrate the golden 50th anniversary of CERF and reflect as we look forward to the next 50 years. Proposals are encouraged to promote interactions and discussions surrounding the conference theme: “CERF at 50: Celebrating Our Past, Charting Our Future.” The Committee expects to include topical sessions and workshops in the conference that span the fundamental fields of coastal science, including topics that are historically popular among the CERF membership. We are also announcing a new collaboration with the Estuarine and Coastal Modeling Conference, for which we greatly encourage submission of special sessions.

The CERF 2021 biennial conference represents an important milestone in the history of our federation, as it will occur on the 50th anniversary of CERF’s founding. Planning for CERF 2021 is now taking place at a unique moment in the world with the intersectional challenges of the global COVID-19 health pandemic and global attention to social justice and anti-racism led by the Black Lives Matter movement. As we tune into the theme of “Celebrating Our Past, Charting Our Future”, we must grapple with and take responsibility for the ways that racism and bias have shaped our federation, and innovate and advance our work into a future that is not only inclusive, but also seeks to openly acknowledge the legacy these systems have left within our field, our institutions, and the communities we work with. These are important conversations we are having now at CERF and will be at the center of CERF 2021.

We are also organizing a meeting in a future with a great deal of uncertainty regarding public health and COVID-19. Hope is ever-present, largely due to our fellow scientists in the biomedical fields. Their commitment to moving us forward with modeling, treatments, and vaccines inspires us to keep moving onward in our own coastal and estuarine research, including the opportunity to gather and share cutting edge progress at CERF 2021. At this time, CERF 2021 will be held virtually.  We welcome your feedback, good ideas, and experiences in virtual conferences.

Scientific Session Proposals

Please consider submitting a proposal to convene a special scientific session that explores CERF’s traditional science, education, and policy disciplines from a unique perspective, taking advantage of the diverse experiences of conference attendees. 

Sessions are encouraged that integrate historical perspectives on the development of a field, shifts in conceptual paradigms, lessons learned, grand challenges for the future, and solutions that will shape coastal resources for generations. 

Research outcomes that have direct applications for management; conservation; and diversity, equity, and inclusion can be integrated within topical sessions.  Of particular interest are research approaches that directly incorporate diversity and inclusion that bring in unique perspectives and talents that accelerate science. Proposals may want to include perspectives addressing social implications of coastal and estuarine research, as well as outreach and educational strategies to effectively communicate findings to diverse audiences. 

We encourage educators to submit a session proposal related to their experience with teaching and/or scientific communication, as presenters in an education session will also be permitted to present their scientific research in another session.

Because many presenters will rightfully want to present their technical research, we encourage session chairs to creatively build exploration of the conference theme concepts into the goals of their research-focused sessions.  Likewise, we hope chairs will ask presenters to do the same with their research presentations.

While any appropriate topic may be submitted, sessions are encouraged that address following:

  • Learning from Historyillustrate how key estuarine and coastal disciplines have evolved from early foundational studies to current perspectives and paradigms, including changes in technological capabilities, interdisciplinary research approaches, successes in management and policy, integration of diverse stakeholders, and challenges to prevailing theories
  • Grand Challenges: Understanding Impacts of Global Climate ChangeScience reconstructing historical changes, documenting current shifting baselines, and predicting future trends in ocean warming, intense storms, hydrologic trends and extremes, sea level rise, ocean acidification, and their coupled physical, biogeochemical and ecological impacts at multiple spatial and temporal scales and across the land-sea interface 
  • Identifying Solutions Solutions to decrease physical, chemical, and/or biological stressors; restore resilience; and manage habitats and their biological communities to increase resilience towards climate change. Transdisciplinary design and adaptation for sustainable, resilient urban coastlines
  • Highlighting ways in which Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and fundamental coastal science are complementary and effective in answering scientific and social issues
  • Innovative approaches to science that Directly Incorporate Diversity and Inclusion.
  • Engaging Diverse Stakeholders and Sharing Successful Experiences – managing multiple, conflicting uses of coastal resources across the natural and sociological continuum; integration, quantification, and valuation of ecosystem goods and services; and engaging diverse stakeholders (e.g. citizen science programs) to acquire new data, understand and solve coastal problems
  • Strategies to Addressing Racism in STEM and the legacy of underrepresentation in our fields
  • Anticipating Uncertain Futures: lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Advances in Estuarine and Coastal Modeling Advances in physical, biogeochemical, and ecological modeling and their applications to investigate diverse topics such as eutrophication, coastal flooding, harmful algal blooms, plumes and pollutant transport, climate change, waves, microplastics, etc.
  • Advances in Data Science and Their Applications to Coastal Research and Managementmanagement, analysis, and synthesis of modern datasets (continuous monitoring, remote sensing, gene sequences and bioinformatics) to glean new information about estuaries and coasts, including quantitative description of status and function and development of predictive models and tools
  • The “Outwelling Hypothesis” nearly 60 years later
  • Exploring Working Coastlines how ecosystems and economic activity interact on the coast and the role science has or could play in improving the interaction.  May address urban estuaries, highly managed ecosystems, intensive tourism, recreational and commercial fishing, port operations, aquaculture, oil and gas exploration and extraction, and offshore wind energy
  • Characterizing, Communicating, and Managing Threats to Estuaries – addressing environmental change and variability associated with greenhouse gas emissions, population growth, resource acquisition and scarcity, war or other conflict, and biodiversity loss and interactions
  • Transdisciplinary design and adaptation for sustainable, resilient urban coastlines: realizing triple-bottom line outcomes

Session proposals are encouraged to frame scientific topics in a broadly relevant way, encouraging diverse participation and engagement. Sessions arising from a single project or program or based on a singularly local question or issue (e.g., species, process) are less preferred.

Scientific Session Submission Information

Proposed special sessions may have a combined oral/poster format and may include standard 15-minute presentations, interactive discussions or panels, and/or 5-minute lightning presentations. Video presentations may substitute for all or part of an oral presentation. Poster presentations can use new technologies (e.g., enhanced reality, QR codes) to provide a better understanding of the study (e.g., sampling site, methods, results). Be prepared to act as the convener of the proposed session and/or identify others to help develop and chair this session. We emphasize that in this new world where virtual presentations are an expectation in our hybrid meeting format, session conveners may be asked to moderate the discussion in ways that will benefit all participants. If you have a novel way to share presentations in a hybrid in-person/virtual format, please also bring those ideas to your special session proposal. The Scientific Program Committee will work with you to develop diverse participation and options for an integrated synthesis component. 

Please indicate in your proposal whether your session could be offered fully or partially online to a virtual audience attending remotely. 

Information you need to submit a Session Proposal

  1. Lead convener name with full contact information.
  2. Other convener names (limit to 3 other conveners) and email addresses.
  3. Identify the preferred session format. All oral sessions will have an associated poster session. All sessions include oral sessions unless submitted as poster only.  For oral portion, Traditional (15 minutes), “lightning talks” (5 minutes), combination may be submitted). 
  4. Session Title (limited to 10 words). If your title is greater than 10 words, it may be shortened before publication.
  5. Proposals. Submit a short description and optional long description of the session or workshop theme. (No tables or graphics, please.) As part of your description, please complete the statement, “The session should be of interest to ….”  Please restrict the body of your optional long description to one page (500 words). You will also be asked to select indexing keywords that describe scientific field, ecosystem/habitat, and geography, and a short description of 50 to 100 words for inclusion on the web site, in the call for abstracts, and in the program book.
  6. Online option.  Please indicate if your session could be offered a.) Fully Online (completely virtual for presenters and audience),  or b.) Partially Online (some presenters and audience physically present, others attending remotely).  In 300 words maximum, explain if your session has any unique requirements that lead you to choose one of these options. This choice will not mandate your session format but may be used to evaluate options for sessions in the event that online delivery becomes necessary.

Workshop Proposals

Workshop proposals are encouraged to offer participants an interactive experience addressing the conference theme, technical/scientific content, professional skills development, or other topical areas.  Training workshops that focus on technical/scientific topics and skills or career development, outreach, and communication are solicited. The ideal workshop will have broad appeal among CERF conference attendees at all career levels and across academia, government, NGO, and private sectors. In addition to the themes outlined above, workshops that address the following topics are encouraged:

  • Introductory R
  • Introductory GIS
  • Statistics and data processing (e.g., R, mapping/GIS, bioinformatics, data visualization)
  • Remote sensing
  • Tools for data gathering (e.g., acoustic telemetry, drones, satellite imagery)
  • Certification workshops (e.g., in sampling or analysis skills, use of tools)
  • Using historical data to address modern challenges
  • Grant writing for traditional and non-traditional funding bodies
  • Successfully navigating the tenure track (work-life balance, focus areas, how much is enough?)
  • Successful job hunting inside and outside academia
  • Incorporating Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) in research
  • Conducting coastal and estuarine research through the lens of justice, equity, inclusion and diversity
  • Effective co-production of actionable science

Information you need to submit a Workshop Proposal

  1. Workshop point of contact names (maximum of 2 people) with full contact information.
  2. Schedule Time Requested: 2 to 7 hours. >1 day offsite workshops may be facilitated through CERF.
  3. Workshop title (limited to 10 words).
  4. Proposal. Submit a description of the workshop theme and format. Please include:
    1. Workshop presenters. May be different from point of contact.
    2. Target audience as applicable, include career stage (student, early career advanced professional), employment sector (academic, government, NGO, private), field of expertise (if applicable).
    3. Format. e.g., seminar-style lectures, panel discussions, group discussions, computer-based activities.  If the workshop has different sections (e.g., starting with a short lecture, moving to a computer activity, and concluding with a discussion), please describe.
    4. Enrollment limit. If attendance must be a limited for logistics reasons, please specify an enrollment limit. Otherwise, state “no limit.”
    5. A/V needs for workshop leaders and participants (e.g., if participants must bring a laptop)
    6.  Online option.  Please indicate if your workshop could be offered a.) Fully Online (completely virtual for presenters and audience) or b.) Partially Online (some presenters and audience physically present, others attending remotely).  In 300 words maximum, explain if your session has any unique requirements that lead you to choose one of these options. This choice will not mandate your workshop format but may be used to evaluate options for workshops in the event that online delivery becomes necessary.

Please restrict the body of your workshop description to one page. Upon acceptance of your proposal, you must provide a short description of 50 to 100 words for inclusion on the web site, in newsletters, in the call for abstracts, and in the program book.

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Design Competition Team Proposals

The CERF 2021 Coastal Design Competition is a forward-facing initiative to inspire students and faculty across disciplines to work together in proposing design solutions and innovative strategies to make our coastal environments more resilient in the face of coastal impacts of climate change. The Design Competition is also intended as a complementary way in which CERF can also collaborate with local communities to problem solve together around pressing challenges. The 2021 Coastal Design Competition focuses on critical issues of coastal settlement, ecosystem restoration, flood protection and economic development highlighting the capacity of faculty-led, transdisciplinary teams to solve coastal problems and respond to climate change. The site location for the project is a community in the coastal Virginia area.

Submissions of Design Competition Team proposals are requested for teams to engage with the challenges of coastal design with interdisciplinary faculty-student teams to address the following:

  • Promote coastal resilience and adaptation by designing systems and solutions that reduce vulnerability of coastal communities
  • Utilize research to meet or respond to public interests or needs, showing design solutions that increase the research “impact” or relevance; and how actions affect research by demonstrating data-driven design solutions using interdisciplinary techniques.
  • Engage in problem solving that elevates the voices and needs of community members in a collaborative, co-production model.

The competition requirements emphasize data-driven design and actionable plans that work with and for community priorities. The Design Competition organizers will work directly with local contacts to organize site visits for the teams to maximize input of local community priorities from the start of the design process. The Competition is a two-stage process. In stage 1, we are soliciting proposals in a competitive process. Successful proposals will conduct projects and compete their final design proposals at the 2021 CERF conference.

Information you need to submit a Design Competition Team proposal

  1. Competition team point of contact names (maximum of 2 people) with full contact information.
  2. Proposal. Submit a description of the Design Competition Team and Expertise, Proposal Narrative and Community Engagement Philosophy. Please include:
    1. Faculty Team Members – May be different from point of contact. Include disciplinary, institutional and professional (if applicable) affiliations
    2. Faculty Team Expertise – Describe faculty team expertise in addressing coastal resilience issues and how diversity, equity and inclusion were considered in faculty team composition.
    3. Methodology – Describe the method of student engagement (e.g., class(es); extracurricular; paid; for credit, etc.) and how diversity, equity and inclusion were considered in student team composition.
    4. Narrative – Describe specific goals of the project team regarding Coastal Design and resilience for the competition, and how application of data across multiple areas of disciplinary expertise will be used to drive the development of design solutions.
    5. Community Engagement Philosophy – Describe the Team’s philosophy and approach for engaging local communities, and approaches for elevating diversity, equity and inclusion. Please note that support will be provided in this regard, this section is intended to solicit early thinking and cultivate a community-centered culture for Design Teams.
  3. Online option.  Please indicate your willingness to participate in the competition if it is necessary for the conference to be held online.

Please restrict your proposal submission to no more than two pages. Connections with underrepresented groups are encouraged along with diverse teams and thoughtful inclusion of regional Minority Serving Institutions.

Six teams will be selected to develop design projects over the course of spring and summer 2021 for presentation at the 2021 CERF Conference. Supporting materials including detailed site information, webinars and community engagement opportunities will be made available to selected teams. Final proposals will be juried and winners announced by a panel of experts during the Conference.

Upon acceptance of your proposal, you must provide a short description of 50 to 100 words for inclusion on the web site and in newsletters. Your general abstract submission will be published on the Conference website and abstract book.

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Please contact the Scientific Program Committee Co-Chairs (Martha Sutula, Jeremy Testa, Benjamin Walther) individually or at [email protected] to discuss ideas for sessions or workshops.

Submit Online

To submit a proposal, please use the online submission portal. There you will find further instructions for submitting proposals.

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