Annual Symposium 2020 Guidelines


The Annual Symposium is the Academy’s flagship event and is intended to promote discussion and debate on an important issue in the social sciences and to influence public policy. The Symposium falls within the Academy’s Public Forums & Communication (PF&C) program, managed by the PF&C and assisted by the Public Engagement Manager.

  • The Committee encourages proposers to submit topics for the 2020 Symposium that are scholarly, multidisciplinary, and public policy relevant.
  • The format should be engaging and lend itself to audience contribution/participation, with sufficient time allowed for this in the program.
  • The content should be appropriate for an educated generalist, rather than a specialist audience.
  • Sessions should provide an opportunity for balanced debate on an issue with speakers representing the different points of view within the fields.
  • Speakers should be drawn from a range of disciplines and institutions and include relevant departmental representatives.
  • Where appropriate, the sessions should incorporate international perspectives.
  • Consideration should be given of past Symposium topics and the need for novel, topical discussions.

A template for Symposium proposals is provided in the 2020 Symposium Guidelines.

Note: The 2020 Symposium is currently schedule for mid-November 2020. In line with ASSA’s intention to rotate location and foster more national representation, the venue should be a capital city outside of Canberra.

Submissions are due not later than 28 July 2019 to 


The Convenors are responsible for organisation, planning, delivery and follow-up of the Symposium, with administrative support provided by the Academy. Given the workload, it is recommended that each Symposium have two to three Co-Convenors, one of which should be a Fellow of the Academy.

The role of the Convener includes but is not restricted to:

  • Scoping the Symposium including budgets.
  • Developing the Symposium program in consultation with the Academy and Committee.
  • Identifying and inviting speakers and presenters.
  • Provide guidance to speakers on the development of content, where required.
  • Develop and support the promotion/publicity of the Symposium.
  • Convene the Symposium and present content (in most cases).
  • Coordinating Outcomes and Products from the Symposium e.g. Publication, Communique etc.


The Academy’s budget for Symposia normally covers the costs of domestic return economy fares and accommodation for up to 12 speakers, chairs and convenors. There may be scope to increase this number or include an international speakers if proposers are able to attract additional sources of funding for the Symposium or other cost sharing arrangements. Travel arrangements are made through the Academy’s travel agent.

The Academy does not pay honoraria or per diem allowances for Symposium speakers. Accommodation is provided at University House (or equivalent). Speakers and Convenor travel to the city in which the Symposium is held is based on “best fare of the day” economy class tickets for domestic travel.

Proposal Selection

All proposals received before the deadline will be considered at the Executive Committee meeting in August. The Executive Committee may, for competitive proposals, survey all Fellows for their preferred topic from the proposals received.

Organisation and coordination

The Convenors work closely with the PF&C Committee, through the Chair, and the Public Engagement Manager in planning and preparation for the Symposium.


In the year before the symposium

  • May/June: Call for Proposals for the following year’s Symposium
  • July (late): Deadline for proposal submission
  • August: Public Forums Committee considers and makes recommendation to Executive Committee.
  • October: Proposers notified of selection outcome.

In the year of the Symposium (Broad timelines)

  • January – May: Proposers to develop and finalise detailed program, liaise with speakers, and advise them of the nature of the Academy Symposium.
  • June (late): All program details finalised for promotion (speakers and session chairs confirmed, timetable set, description finalised).
  • July: Academy prepares promotional material and formal program in consultation with Convenors. Public Engagement Manager contacts speakers to coordinate travel arrangements.
  • August (early): Travel arrangements for speakers, chairs, Convenors finalised (especially overseas speakers). Program and promotional material and marketing plan finalised.
  • August (late): Registrations open, special invitations to VIPs issued, promotional material distributed as per marketing plan.
  • September: Early-bird pricing, to cease one month prior to event.
  • November: Symposium event is held.

Past Symposium Titles

2019: Saving People and the Planet: exiting the consumptagenic system (TBC)
2018: Regenerating Trust and Equity in Australian Institutions
2017: Health Equity: Challenges and solutions
2016: Social Sciences: Understanding policy impacts
2015: Social Insurance for the 21st Century? : Exploring pathways for a sustainable, equitable and effective welfare system
2014: Population ageing and Australia’s future
2013: Levelling the spirit: Addressing the social impacts of economic inequality
2012: Australian social sciences in the Asian century
2011: Food regimes and food security
2010: Family fortunes and the Global Financial Crisis: The consequences of an economic downturn for work, families and children
2009: Space and place matter: Informing policy and planning through a spatially integrated social science
2008: Fostering creativity and innovation
2007: Power, people, water: Urban water services and human behaviour in Australia
2006: Australians on the move: Internal migration in Australia
2005: Ideas and influence
2004: Government as risk manager
2003: Youth in transition
2002: Building a better future for our children