Chair and committee information

A guide to successful chair and committee participation
Chairs and committee members at SPIE event

Thank you for your leadership

The responsibilities of being Conference Chair, Program Committee member, or Session Chair are crucial to the success of SPIE events, and it is you, our incredible volunteers, who are the true engine of the Society. On behalf of the Board of Directors and the entire staff of SPIE, thank you for volunteering your time and dedication—we truly could not do this without you.

Below you'll find specific information for each of these roles. If you have any questions or concerns at any point along the way, please don't hesitate to contact your Conference Program Coordinator.

Conference timelines and deadlines

Call for papers due from Chairs 26 October 2020
Abstracts due 28 April 2021
SPIE sends author notification to contact author 23 June 2021
Sessions display online July 2021
Registration opens July 2021
Submission system opens for presentations and manuscripts July/August 2021 
Hotel and travel information available online July 2021
Program posted online July/August 2021
Manuscripts due 18 August 2021 
Conference dates 13-16 September 2021

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Important resources for Conference Chairs

Program Committee member responsibilities

  • Give direction to the conference
  • Assist Conference Chairs in publicizing conference and soliciting abstracts
  • Suggest speakers to be invited
  • Participate in the presentation abstract and manuscript review process (as assigned by Chair)
  • Organize specific conference sessions
  • Serve as Session Chair as requested by Conference Chairs

Program committee members who are essentially inactive will be rotated off after two or three successive occasions exhibiting negligible involvement, in the interests of efficiency and to make space for new committee members.

Session Chair responsibilities

Before the conference:

  • Please view the technical program for information about the session you are chairing.
  • A copy of the author biographies will be sent to you. Contacting the presenters in your session(s) is a way of ensuring their attendance and commitment to the meeting.
  • If biographies for authors in the session you are chairing are missing, please email the authors and request brief biographies so that you can properly introduce them before their presentation.
  • Preregister for the meeting and save. Prices increase by $150 if you register after the preregistration cut-off, or onsite. As a Session Chair you are entitled to the reduced Author/Session Chair/Committee registration rate.


At the conference:

  • Check for any late program updates on the room sign outside of the meeting room.
  • You will receive a session report Form from the Conference Chair to use in tracking changes in your session.
  • Return the forms to the registration desk, the AV desk, or the AV room monitor. It is very important that these forms are returned to SPIE for paper and publication records.


Chairing the session:

  • Introduce the session topic
  • Introduce the speakers
  • Maintain the program schedule
  • Be prepared for the unexpected!
  • If you find a presenter has failed to attend:
    • Note the no show on the Session Report form
    • DO NOT move to the next paper. Attendees plan for the talks they want to hear based on the published schedule.
    • Choose one of these options:
      • Fill in the "hole" with a standby paper (if there are no official standby authors for your session, make arrangements in advance to have one or two "no strings" [no manuscript] presenters on hand)
      • Open the floor to an extended Q&A session for speakers who have already presented
      • Have one or two controversial topics ready for discussion
      • Bring a topic for presentation and/or discussion
      • Open the floor for discussion on any topic of interest to the audience
    • Start the next talk at its published, scheduled time.

If you have any questions or need more information, please contact your Conference Program Coordinator. (See list of Program Coordinators)