IUBMB Conferences
IUBMB Congresses
Education Committee
Symposia and Interest Groups
Wood-Whelan Fellowships
Regional Organizations
Plenary Lectures
Distinguished Service Award
Jubilee Lecture
Travel Expenses


Guidelines for IUBMB Congresses

IUBMB Congresses are held triennially in countries that are members of the Union and have a record of being outstanding and memorable scientific events for the world community of biochemists. This tradition places an obligation on the organisers of all future Congresses to ensure their success.

Special Features of IUBMB Congresses

  1. Congresses provide unique occasions for expert review of international advances in biochemistry being comprehensive in their coverage of biochemistry and molecular biology and have an expected attendance of 2,500 - 6,000 persons.

  2. They provide concentrated opportunities to academic teachers and biochemists in specialized research or in routine work to broaden and upgrade their knowledge.  They provide occasions for those actively involved in specialized research to present and discuss their work with an audience of very diverse interests.

  3. A potential host organization must provide a written statement at the time of application giving assurances that the ICSU policy on free circulation of scientists, including a timetable for visa application and issuance, as recommended in the 1989 Resolution on the Free Circulation of Scientists, will apply.  This provides for written assurances that:

    1. no obstacles will be put to the granting of visas to bona fide scientists who wish to participate;

    2. information will be supplied concerning the mechanism for applications for visas and the time normally required between application for and receipt of a visa

    If the application is successful, the host organization will provide in writing an assurance to undertake to continue to observe the ICSU recommendations up to and during the Congress.

  4. A host organisation agrees, in writing, to observe the Guidelines for IUBMB Congresses.

  5. Congress organisers will keep the Executive Committee of IUBMB well informed of the status of their planning through the Chair of the Committee for Conferences and Congresses, and consult with that Chair on any matter of direct concern to IUBMB.  Planning of a Congress at all stages shall be made by the Organizing Committee and representatives of the IUBMB.  The organizers will supply that Chair with copies of all minutes of planning meetings and of all announcements and other publications.  That Chair is to be invited in the year that precedes the Congress by two years and at the expense of the Organizing Committee, to attend a meeting of that Organizing Committee.  During the same period, a member of the Organizing Committee will be invited, at the expense of IUBMB, to attend an annual meeting of the Executive Committee of IUBMB to discuss plans for the Congress.

  6. The Organizing Committee presents a tentative outline of the program for the Congress, including topics for symposia and colloquia and possibly plenary lectures, to the Executive Committee of IUBMB at least two years in advance of the Congress.

  7. A host society for a Congress selects the Organizing Committee and forms an Advisory Committee including representatives of the Executive Committee of IUBMB, composed of internationally distinguished biochemists from outside its country to serve as Advisors who will help identify topics for each symposium and possible speakers.

  8. The Organizing Committee canvasses the Interest Groups and the Committee on Symposia of IUBMB on the nature and scope of topics for symposia and colloquia, as well as making an open invitation for suggestions from the Adhering Bodies.

  9. The Organizing Committee ensures that the scheduling of the Congress does not conflict with any major scientific meeting.

  10. Whenever possible a Congress should be held in conjunction with national or regional meetings of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and /or related disciplines.

  11. Soon after conclusion of the Congress the organizers will supply the Chair with a full report of the Congress and recommendations for the benefit of future Congress organizers.

  12. The Chair will offer all assistance and advice to the organizers.


  1. Choice of lecturers, particularly plenary lectures, is governed by their excellence and didactic skill.  It should take into consideration the need for coverage of different areas of biochemistry, wide geographical distribution and reasonable representation of female and younger scientists.

  2. IUBMB-sponsored plenary lecturers are chosen in consultation with the Executive Committee of IUBMB.

  3. Congress organizers should consult IUBMB concerning the publication of plenary lectures in IUBMB journals.

Educational Activities

Since a large number of biochemists particularly from areas where biochemistry and molecular biology are less developed come from teaching institutions, biochemical education should be included as a topic of the program.  The Organizing Committee should consult with the Chair of the Committee on Education of IUBMB regarding the program of educational activities.

Identification of Participants

Identification of the countries of participants is to correspond to the listing of Adhering Bodies in the membership list of IUBMB.

Satellite Meetings

Satellite meetings enrich the Congress experience and offer further opportunities for in-depth scientific discussions, with savings in time and money.  They should be organized with the approval of and most advantageously in association with the Congress organizers to avoid possibilities of overlap or competition with the Congress.  The Committee on Education and Committee on Symposia and the Interest Groups of IUBMB should be kept informed about plans for the satellite program.  These Committees and Groups only sponsor satellite meetings that have been approved by the Congress organisers.

IUBMB Activities

Congress organisers are to ensure that:

  1. The President or General Secretary of IUBMB is given an opportunity at the Opening Session to present a brief report on IUBMB activities.

  2. Space is provided in the printed Congress Program for IUBMB to present information about its structure and activities.

  3. Space is provided at the Congress for graphic representation of IUBMB activities and for exhibition of IUBMB publications.  Space is provided free of charge for the General Assembly Meeting.

  4. Free time is provided for the General Assembly Meeting, so that it does not overlap the scientific program.

  5. The IUBMB logo will be displayed prominently on all announcements and publications.

Advancement and Support of Young Scientists

  1. Younger biochemists are to be given opportunities to present their work in poster sessions and, as much as possible, to meet prominent scientists.

  2. Registration fees are to be reduced for scientists younger than 30 years.

  3. Registration fees are to be reduced for older bona fide students who present satisfactory documentation of this status.

  4. Congress organizers should ensure availability of cheap accommodation (for example in students dormitories).

  5. Recipients of IUBMB Travel Fellowships are to receive a contribution towards travel, free attendance at a pre-Congress meeting organized specifically for them, free registration and a contribution towards accommodation during the Congress.

  6. The selection of IUBMB Travel Fellowships is the responsibility of a Committee chaired by a member of the Executive Committee and further consisting of a representative of the Organizing Committee and of any Regional Organization of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology cosponsoring the Congress.

  7. The pre-Congress meeting for Travel Fellows will provide opportunity for presentation of their posters, oral presentation by a good number of Fellows of their research, and two or three lectures by prominent biochemists or molecular biologists.

Financial Matters

  1. The Union may offer a loan, within reasonable limits, at no interest to the Congress organizers as seed money which would be repaid in full.

  2. Any financial profit realised by a Congress, after repayment of any loan made as in 1 above, shall be shared to an extent agreed by discussion before the Congress between the organizers and the IUBMB Treasurer.

  3. Congress organizers are to provide free office space and meeting facilities for the IUBMB Secretariat and the Executive Committee of IUBMB during the period of the Congress.

  4. Registration fees are to be waived for IUBMB Plenary Lecturers and holders of the IUBMB Distinguished Service Award and, wherever possible, invited speakers.

  5. Free registration shall be provided to members of the Executive Committee.

  6. The IUBMB Treasurer is responsible for discussion and negotiation on all financial matters.

Applications to host an IUBMB Congress

Applications from Adhering Bodies to host an IUBMB Congress will be reviewed by the Executive Committee of IUBMB according to the following criteria (not necessarily in this order):

  1. time since the last Congress was held in that country;
  2. contributions of that country to international biochemistry;
  3. evidence of availability of appropriate infrastructure and facilities;
  4. estimated attendance;
  5. least cost and greatest ease of travel for the majority of biochemists;
  6. recent Congresses in that same geographical area:
  7. probability of political stability in the country;
  8. probability of financial success;
  9. attractiveness of the venue.

The Executive Committee of IUBMB will usually consider all applications at one of its meetings 7 - 8 years before the Congress year and select a short list.  Those Adhering Bodies will then be invited to present their application in detail at the meeting of the Executive Meeting held in the next year.  Final selection of the host Adhering Body and site takes place at that meeting.  For the Congress in 2006 preliminary selection took place at the Executive Meeting in July 1998 in Copenhagen, and a final selection was made at the meeting in May 1999 in San Francisco.

EC Meeting SFO
13-15 May 1999
(modified 3 April 2000)