IUBMB Congresses

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 and molecular biologists. This tradition places an obligation on the organizers of all future Congresses to ensure their success. The 26th IUBMB Congress in 2024 is in Melbourne, Australia, and the 27th IUBMB Congress in 2027 is in Cape Town, South Africa.


Special Features of IUBMB Congresses

  • Congresses provide unique occasions for expert review of international advances at the cutting edge of biochemistry and molecular biology. They offer comprehensive coverage of biochemistry and molecular biology and have an expected attendance of 2,500 – 6,000 persons.
  • They provide concentrated opportunities to academic teachers and biochemists and molecular biologists 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.
  • Prospective Congress Organizers should contact the Chair of the Committee on Congresses and Focused Meetings before submitting an application. The Chair will offer assistance and advice to the organizers at all stages.


Selection of the Congress venue

The Meeting venue will be selected by the IUBMB Executive Committee. The initial selection is based on a written proposal which should contain the following information:

  • A written endorsement from the Adhering Body with the name of the person responsible for the proposal and setting out the composition of the Organizing and Scientific Committees.
  • 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 1984 Resolution on the Free Circulation of Scientists, will apply. This provides for written assurances that:
    • no obstacles will be put to the granting of visas to bona fide scientists who wish to participate;
    • information will be supplied concerning the mechanism for applications for visas and the time normally required between application for and receipt of a visa;
  • The names of Societies approached for collaboration and, if available, copies of the correspondence;
  • A title for the Congress and an outline of proposed scientific themes;
  • The location and proposed dates. In order to derive travel concessions for staying over a Saturday night, the Congress should include a Saturday night;
  • The Congress facilities available, indicating the number and size of the lecture halls, space for poster boards and for the commercial exhibition and social facilities such as cafeterias and restaurants;
  • The availability of hotels and student accommodation, their locations and distance from the Congress venue along with approximate room rates both current and anticipated;
  • An estimate of the number of participants at both regular and reduced registration rates expected from the Constituent Society, the collaborating Societies and from outside the country;
  • An outline budget which includes: income from registration fees, IUBMB grants for invited plenary lectures and for the Young Scientists Program, commercial exhibition, other sources and potential opportunities for further fundraising; and expenditure on preliminary announcements, organizers’ expenses, conference facilities, speakers, abstracts, program booklet and bags, the social program, transport provision (if appropriate), security, insurance and any taxation charges which may be payable.


Obligations of Organisers

    • The Organizers of the Congress will undertake, in writing, to observe the guidelines for IUBMB Congresses.
    • The host organization will provide in writing an assurance to undertake to continue to observe the ICSU policy of free circulation of scientists up to and during the Congress.
    • Planning of a Congress at all stages shall be made by the Organizing Committee together with representatives of the IUBMB. The Congress organizers will keep the Executive Committee of IUBMB well informed of the status of their planning through the Chair of the Committee on Congresses and Focused Meetings, and consult with the Chair on any matter of direct concern to IUBMB. The organizers will supply the Chair with copies of all minutes of planning meetings and of all announcements and other publications. The Chair of the Committee on Congresses and Focused Meetings is to be invited in the year that precedes the Congress by two years to attend a meeting of the Organizing Committee. Cost for this visit will be paid by IUBMB.
    • During the same period, a member of the Organizing Committee will be invited to attend an annual meeting of the Executive Committee of IUBMB to present a tentative outline of the program, including topics for symposia, workshops, and plenary lectures. In addition, plans for the Congress including opportunities for accompanying persons outlining possible excursions and local attractions should be discussed. The costs of this visit should be paid by the Organizing Committee.
    • The Adhering Body for the Congress selects the Organizing Committee and forms an International Advisory Committee. This is composed of internationally distinguished biochemists and molecular biologists from outside the host country and should include representatives of the Executive Committee of IUBMB. The members of the International Advisory Committee serve as advisors who will help identify topics for each symposium and possible speakers.
    • The Organizing Committee canvasses the Committee on Congresses and Focused Meetings 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.
    • The Organizing Committee ensures that the scheduling of the Congress does not conflict with other major scientific meetings.
    • Whenever possible a Congress should be held in conjunction with national or regional meetings of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and /or related disciplines. The Adhering Body organizing the Congress should obtain the support of the appropriate Regional Organization (FAOBMB, FASBMB, FEBS or PABMB).
    • First announcement including URL of the Congress website should be available at least two years before the Congress.
    • Constantly updated versions should be made available on the Web. The website represents the major source of information about the Congress and every attempt should be made to provide the complete scientific program at least nine months prior to the Congress.
    • The organizers will supply the Chair of the Committee on Congresses and Focused Meetings with a full report of the Congress within three months of the end of the Congress (see form below). This report should include financial matters and recommendations for the benefit of future Congress organizers. Additionally, the organizers must send out a questionnaire to all participants at the end of the meeting provided by the Secretariat.



Choice of lecturers, particularly for 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 junior scientists.

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

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


Educational Activities

Since a large number of biochemists and molecular biologists 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 Training and the Committee on Congresses and Focused Meetings of IUBMB should be kept informed about plans for the satellite program. These Committees only sponsor satellite meetings that have been approved by the Congress organizers.


IUBMB Activities

Congress organisers should ensure that:

    • The President or General Secretary of IUBMB is given an opportunity at the Opening Session to present a brief report on IUBMB activities.
    • Space is provided in the printed Congress Program for IUBMB to present information about its structure and activities.
    • An IUBMB stand is provided in the Congress exhibition area free of charge so that IUBMB can publicize its activities and exhibit IUBMB publications.
    • Space is provided free of charge for the General Assembly Meeting which should be held during the Congress. The General Assembly Meeting should not overlap the scientific program.
    • An office space and meeting facilities are provided at the venue for the IUBMB Secretariat and the Executive Committee.
    • The IUBMB official logo will be displayed prominently on all announcements and publications. The official IUBMB logo must be reproduced in its exact form and colors and cannot be “re-created” or “reinterpreted”.


Advancement and Support of Young Scientists

    • Trainee and early career biochemists and molecular biologists are to be given opportunities to present their work in poster sessions and, as much as possible, to meet prominent scientists.
    • Registration fees are to be reduced for scientists within 10 years of PhD at the time of the Congress.
    • Registration fees are to be reduced for older bona fide students who present satisfactory documentation of this status.
    • Congress organizers should ensure availability of cheap accommodation (for example in students’ dormitories).
    • Recipients of IUBMB Travel Fellowships will, in general, receive a contribution towards travel, free attendance at a pre-Congress meeting (Young Scientists Program) organized specifically for them, free registration and a contribution towards accommodation during the Congress.
    • 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 or the Young Scientists Program.
    • 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

    • The IUBMB Treasurer is responsible for discussion and negotiation on all financial matters.
    • IUBMB may offer a loan, within reasonable limits, at no interest to the Congress organizers as seed money that would be repaid in full.
    • IUBMB will in general provide additional financial support for plenary lectures and for the Young Scientists Program.
    • Congress organizers can also apply directly to the Committee on Congresses and Focused Meetings for support of 2-4 Symposia and/or Workshops at the Congress and to the Committee on Education and Training for support of an Educational Symposium.
    • 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.
    • Registration fees are to be waived for IUBMB Plenary Lecturers and, wherever possible, invited speakers. Free registration shall be provided to members of the IUBMB Executive Committee (8 persons). Holders of the IUBMB Distinguished Service Award and of the Lifetime Special Award should also be provided with free registration should they decide to attend the Congress.
    • Any financial profit realized by a Congress, after repayment of any loan made as in 2 above, shall be shared to an extent agreed by discussion before the Congress between the organizers and the IUBMB Treasurer.


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 listed in order of importance):

    • time since the last Congress was held in that country (see list);
    • contributions of the country to international biochemistry and molecular biology;
    • evidence of availability of appropriate infrastructure and facilities including the safety of participants;
    • estimated attendance;
    • least cost and greatest ease of travel for the majority of participants;
    • recent Congresses in that same geographical area;
    • probability of political stability in the country;
    • probability of financial success;
    • general attractiveness of the venue;
    • existence of a suitably experienced local team.

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 Committee held in the next year. Final selection of the host Adhering Body and site takes place at that meeting.

EC Meeting Bangkok | 27-28 November 2004
A.N. Modified 25 March 2021
I.C.G. Modified 10 September 2022


Application and Report Forms

Hosting an IUBMB Congress – Application Form

Hosting an IUBMB Congress – Report Form