Invited Sessions

Top 5 tips to craft an Invited Session proposal: Watch!

Invited sessions are developed and proposed by ASHG members around a particular topic of interest and run in concurrent timeslots. Typically, they include four talks and an optional introduction of the topic. Submitting an invited proposal offers ASHG members the opportunity to directly participate in the development of the scientific program. Through a rigorous review process, the ASHG Program Committee assembles the best program possible on a diverse set of topics in human genetics.


Due Date: December 12, 2019. Submissions are now closed.

Decision Rendered: March 2020

Speakers Required: Four, plus two moderators (see selection policies below)

Proposal Requirements: Session description, title, rationale, and audience; speaker contact information, talk title, and abstract; more details below

Session Duration: 2 hours

Topics Considered: All aspects of human genetics research, particularly topics that integrate multiple basic science and clinical aspects of human genetic disease; special slots are reserved for proposals related to research on genetics education and ethical, legal, and social issues

Formats Considered: Didactic sessions with four 30-minute talks OR four 20-minute talks followed by a 40-minute interactive panel discussion; interactivity is highly encouraged and will be prioritized during review

Benefits: Proposers, moderators, and speakers are provided complimentary registration to recognize their special contribution to the Annual Meeting

Resources for Crafting Proposals
Speaker Selection Policies
  • Member speakers are provided complimentary registration to recognize their special contribution to the Annual Meeting (a member speaker is defined as a person who is/was a member of ASHG during any of these three years – 2020, 2019, 2018).
  • Non-member speakers are also provided complimentary registration and, in addition, are offered funds to offset hotel and travel costs. There is a limit of two non-member speakers per session and only one of these can travel from outside of North America due to the cost of air transportation.
  • ASHG believes in the importance of diverse representation in speakers at the Annual Meeting, including gender, ethnicity, career stage, and balance of institution representation. In 2019, the speakers/moderators of the Invited Sessions were approximately 50% women and 50% men across all sessions. Proposers should strive to consider and include diverse speakers when crafting a session. Please note that diversity in speakers is one of the criteria used by the Program Committee to evaluate proposals.
  • Program Committee members are not permitted to speak in or moderate Invited Sessions during their tenure.
  • Proposals are encouraged for Invited Sessions that are proposed, moderated, and presented by trainees. At least one Invited Session will be allocated as a trainee session. When submitting a proposal, please mark the appropriate checkbox to indicate your status.
  • Proposals are due December 12, 2019. Review begins right away and late proposals will not be accepted.
  • Invited Sessions will have a uniform format of either (1) four 30-minute talks or (2) four 20-minute talks followed by a 40-minute interactive panel discussion. This facilitates attendee travel between sessions. There should be, therefore, four speakers within a given session.
  • The proposer must be a current ASHG member (2019 and/or 2020) and must serve as one of the session moderators. If accepted, the proposer will be required to be a 2020 member. PC members are not permitted to propose, moderate, or speak invited Sessions.
  • Before submitting a proposal, proposers should contact all speakers to ensure their availability for the ASHG 2020 Annual Meeting as well as their agreement with ASHG policies. It is important to stress that only a fraction of the submitted proposals can be selected for inclusion in the final ASHG 2020 Program.
Step-by-Step Submission Instructions
  • Pre-submission: Update ASHG Membership Information
    Before logging in to submit your proposal, confirm that your name and contact information are correct in your ASHG website account. The email address on your account will be used for all communications regarding your proposal and cannot be edited once you begin. We recommend you draft your proposal in a separate document first so that you can cut and paste details into the submission form. You may save a partially completed submission and return to it at a future date. All submissions must be completed by December 12, 2019.
  • Step 1: Beginning a New Submission
    Sign into the ASHG website to arrive at the submission portal. Select “Add New” to begin a new submission.
  • Step 2: Basic Session Information
    Enter a title, topic, and track for your session. This page MUST be completed first during submission. Saving this page will automatically create a draft to which you can return until the deadline on December 12, 2019.
  • Step 3: Detailed Session Information
    Enter the information described in each step, including:

    • Your session description, written for meeting participants, maximum 2500 characters
    • Whether you propose to include a 40-minute panel discussion and, if yes, what you hope to accomplish during that time and some example of questions you might discuss
    • Your rationale in proposing the session, including the target audience, for Program Committee review only
    • How your session attends to diversity
    • Four learning objectives for your session, focusing on the broad outcomes intended for the audience.
  • Step 4: Proposer/Moderator
    Use the people lookup function to search for yourself in the ASHG community database and add yourself as the proposer/moderator. Then fill out the financial disclosure information required for accreditation purposes. If you do not intend to moderate the session, cancel the submission and have one of the moderators submit the proposal instead.
  • Step 5: Speaker
    Use the people lookup function to search for each your four speakers in the ASHG community database and add them to your proposal. If you cannot find a speaker in the database, you will be given an option to add them after searching. After adding each speaker, enter their talk title and description and save the entry. The abstract is for Program Committee review only but should include specific results that the speaker will discuss, not a general overview of their qualifications. Your speakers should conform to the speaker selection policies above. Proposals that do not follow these policies will not be accepted. After adding your speakers, you will have the option to reorder them using “Sort Order” or further edit their information.
  • Step 6:  Co-moderator
    If you will have a co-moderator at your session, use the people lookup function to search for them in the ASHG community database. Reminder: Your co-moderator must also be an ASHG member.
  • Step 7: Review Summary and Complete Submission
    Review the full session information under the “Summary” tab. If you have missed any required information, there will be a notice at the top. You can also create a printer-friendly version of the submission on this page. Once you have filled in all required information, your session is submitted. There is no separate “submit” button.
    A successful submission will prompt a confirmation email. You will not receive additional confirmations if you edit your proposal.
  • Post-submission: Revise by December 12, 2019
    Log in to the submission site to revise your proposal by the deadline. Review the submission summary each time you make an edit to ensure that the submission is still complete. To withdraw a completed proposal, contact support at or call 217-398-1792.
Review Process
  • All proposals are reviewed by the PC, who are not permitted to speak in or moderate Invited Sessions during their tenure. Final decisions will be sent to all proposers in March 2020.
  • When appropriate, the PC works other volunteer committees to review proposals. If those committee members are involved in an invited proposal, they are required to recuse themselves from the review process.
  • Proposers may be contacted by a member of the PC during the review process and asked to provide additional details, as explained below.
    • The review of proposals is a multi-stage process. The following steps are taken in a genuine effort to ensure the best possible scientific program containing high-quality sessions.
    • The PC first shortlists proposals and determines which of the shortlisted proposals need to be revised.
    • PC representatives reach out to a subset of proposers with recommendations for revisions, which may include speaker substitutions or merging two or more similar proposals. Proposers contacted by the PC are given 7-10 days to submit a revised proposal. NOTE: Some proposals will require no revisions but may still be accepted. In that case, proposers will not be contacted until March 2020.
    • The PC reevaluates the revised proposals and selects the final list of accepted proposals. Although every effort may be taken by a proposer to make the requested alterations, the PC will invariably need to reduce shortlisted proposals further to achieve a final collection of sessions with sufficient breadth for the meeting. This may mean that, even with suggested changes, a proposal may not be accepted.
  • Proposers should share a copy of these instructions with every potential speaker to make them aware of ASHG policies and how the proposals are evaluated and selected.


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