The International Conference on Aquatic Invasive Species (ICAIS) is enhanced by a variety of perspectives, and our goal is to create an inclusive, respectful conference environment that invites participation from people of all races, ethnicities, genders, ages, abilities, religions, and sexual orientations.

To the best of our abilities and resources, we’re actively seeking to increase the diversity of our attendees, speakers, poster presenters, and supporting partners through our calls for abstracts and special session proposals, other open submission processes, and through dialogue with the larger communities we serve, in balance with the scientific and academic quality of the conference.

This is an ongoing process. We are talking to our co-hosts, technical program chairs and committee, and various innovators, experts, and organizations about this goal and about ways they can help us to achieve it.

Here are some ways we are building a more diverse conference experience:

  • Seeking recommendations on appropriate speakers and/or program committee members from the program committee and other stakeholders.
  • Striving for a diverse roster of keynote speakers and session chairs.
  • Forwarding our call for abstracts to relevant affinity groups with the message that we are looking for a diverse roster of speakers and poster presenters.
  • Encouraging potential speakers and poster presenters to submit an abstract for consideration.
  • Aiming to make the conference experience more welcoming and supportive.
  • Managing the ‘Oyster Program’ where organizations can contribute towards ICAIS travel grants and bursaries that help under-represented communities, students, and early career researchers to participate in ICAIS.

We value diversity in the communities we bring together, and we welcome your contributions to bringing balanced representation to ICAIS. We also welcome your input and ideas on best practices for how we can realize this vision to be sent by email to icais@invasivespeciescentre.ca.

Credit for the original version of this document goes to O’Reilly Media.