ISHPSSB meets every two years, usually in June or July, for a period of about 5 days (or parts thereof). The meeting ideally presents the opportunity for informal discussions in a relaxed atmosphere, as well as having formal sessions. Those wishing to issue an invitation to host the site of a forthcoming meeting should make contact with the Secretary and the President of ISHPSSB as soon as is feasible. The Society has the goal of deciding on a site at least three to five years before a meeting is held, so that the subsequent site(s) can be announced at the preceding meeting.

This committee is charged with soliciting and reviewing proposals to host the ISHPSSB meeting.


  • The Site Selection Committee distributes a Call for Site Proposals. (See sample below).
  • The Committee provides any assistance needed to prepare proposal(s) for submission.
  • Proposals are submitted by email to the President who forwards them to the Site Selection Committee for review.
  • The Site Selection Committee makes a recommendation to the Council, which is responsible for the choice of the site.
  • Council votes on the site proposal(s).
  • The Site Selection Committee finalizes the terms of the arrangement with representatives of the approved site.

Example Timeline

The 2003-2005 Committee sought a site for the 2009 meeting. In the Fall of 2004 it issued the call for site proposals (below), for review of the received proposals before the Council meeting at the Summer 2005 meeting:

Call for Proposals for ISHPSSB Meeting Site in 2009

It may seem a long time away, but now is the time to start planning for the 2009 ISHPSSB meeting. The first step is to decide on a location. I invite all interested individuals who would be interested in having their institution host the meeting, to present a proposal to us within the next two months (by January 15). Proposals should include a general description of the institutional site, availability of housing (dorms, hotels, etc) and meeting rooms (large lecture halls for plenary sessions and enough smaller classrooms for individual sessions), availability of transportation (both internationally and locally), and other features (local activities, scenery etc) that would make the location attractive. Please send suggestions directly to me via e-mail at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or regular mail at Department of Biology, Washington University, St. Louis, MO 63130.

ISHPSSB Invitation Guidelines

Guidelines for Preparing an Invitation to Host the Site of the Biennial meeting of the International Society for History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology (ISHPSSB)

The Secretary and President will provide a time line for the process for issuing the invitation to a decision by the Council.

An invitation to host the site should address the following items and be sent to the President of the ISHPSSB:

Proposed Site for the ISHPSSB Meeting for {proposed dates, 20XX} at {place name}

Proposal by

  • {name of proposer}
  • {professional title of proposer}
  • {mail and email addresses of proposer}
  • {phone and fax of proposer}
  • What relation does the proposer have to the proposed site, e.g., faculty at the university?



  • Where is the meeting to be held? What are its advantages?
  • Transportation to site: Airports, Trains, Tram/Bus/Taxi services
  • Is transportation for international travelers easy? Is airfare competitively priced? (This usually means that more than one airline services the route(s).) Is there adequate local transportation to the proposed site?
  • Can tickets for local transportation to the site be purchased prior to the meeting?


  • Is parking available? What are the fees?


  • E.g., evening entertainment, restaurants proposed excursions?
  • (Some sentiment in ISHPSSB is that there not be too much to do away from the meeting, as a quiet place is more conducive to informal discussions.)

Climate statement:

  • Proposals should include a Climate Statement with respect to women's health and reproductive rights and the LGBTQ+ community.
As an example:

Climate Statement for Portugal

Portugal’s LGBTQ+ rights are considered progressive by most standards in the world, and the country is considered one of the friendliest for LGBTQ+ travelers.

It is also modestly liberal with respect to abortion. Women have the right to a state-paid abortion for up to ten weeks.

Though there is some variation in liberal attitudes from region to region, Portugal is considered one of the safest countries in the world for travelers; it should be a welcoming site for all ISHPSSB members.


Proposed Dates (Typically June/July):

  • The dates should not require travel on July 4 because of the US holiday; other possible conflicts with holidays in other countries should be checked.
  • Have potential conflicts with any other meetings (e.g., International History of Science; International Logic, Methodology, and Philosophy of Science; other) been investigated?
  • Are facilities known to be available? Have they been reserved? When will a letter from an official at the Institution be available to confirm that meeting (and dorm) rooms are available for the proposed dates?

Meeting Rooms:

  • Rooms for up to seven concurrent sessions are needed, plus a room for the plenary with up to 300-400. Rooms should be close to one another to allow session hopping. Are the meeting rooms air-conditioned? Do they have good acoustics?
  • Audiovisual equipment availability: Are overhead transparency projectors available for each room? Are microphones, slide projectors, VCR's, computer projectors available, as needed? Is this a. v. equipment available at no extra cost or for a reasonable charge?
  • Is there a convenient place for coffee breaks near the meeting rooms, but sufficiently distant that conversation does not disrupt the sessions? Will there be chairs (and preferably) tables near the coffee for informal get-togethers? Is there a supplier of drinks and food for breaks, who will deliver it near the meeting rooms?
  • What areas for informal discussions and even get-togethers are available, both during the day near the sessions and in the evening, perhaps in dorms?

Book Display:

  • A reasonable sized room is needed for the book display. It should be in a convenient place for people to browse during the day between sessions and it should be able to be securely locked at night.


  • How will reservations for accommodation be handled?


  • Describe rooms. Number available. What they provide, etc: Air conditioned? Linens?
  • Are there refrigerators in a common area or can they be rented by registrants?
  • What is the cost of rooms? single / double / student?
  • Can children be accommodated in dorms?

Hotels and B&Bs:

  • Proximity?
  • Cost?
  • Air-conditioned?
  • How many rooms available, and will a block be held for the conference's registrants?


  • Is there a common dining facility with reasonably priced meals?
  • Will those staying in hotels be able to eat at the common dining facility on a pay-as-you-go basis?
  • Will some sort of meal ticket have to be purchased? If so, please detail requirements.
  • What sort of arrangements are made for registrants who are vegetarian or who have other special diet needs?
  • Is a banquet or picnic planned?


  • What arrangements will the conference make or what help will be given to parents who need childcare?

Currency Exchange:

  • Will foreign travelers be able to convert to local currency nearby? If not, what advice should be given to foreign travelers before they arrive?
  • Are deposits and payments for rooms accepted through Visa, MasterCard and other commonly used credit cards? (Note: bank fees for converting foreign currency checks are very expensive, so the ability to accept credit card deposits is essential.)

Library, Copying, and Web Access:

  • Will registrants have access to a university library?
  • Is a copy machine available? with reasonable costs?
  • Can documents on computer disk be printed somewhere?
  • Will registrants be able to check their email?
  • Will a web site for the location be set up that can be linked to the ISHPSSB web page? by whom?


  • See the Appendix below for Accessibility Guidelines, for those in wheelchairs or with other difficulties in walking about.

Formal and Informal Gatherings:

  • Receptions? Informal last evening gathering with refreshments? Are sufficient chairs available?
  • Can the local arrangements staff bring food and drink (preferable to the institution providing these)?


  • Who will be available to help with running the meeting?
  • staffing registration table?
  • audio-visual aids?
  • others?


  • Proposed budget (to be worked out in consultation with ISHPSSB Secretary, Treasurer, Program Chair, President-Elect, and others, as appropriate).
  • Is there any chance of sponsorships by local institutions? or book publishers? Local arrangements folks should work with Secretary/ Treasurer/ President-Elect on obtaining sponsors.

Estimate of Conference Expenses:

  • Meeting Rooms
  • Audiovisual equipment
  • Postage, Supplies, Printing Costs (note what are these for)
  • Staffing for Registration and Other Services
  • Coffee break food and service
  • Receptions
  • Contingency Fund
  • Total

Estimate of Charges to Registrants:

  • Registration Costs (based on XXX {200-300? more?} registrations)
  • Dorm Room, XX per night single, XX per night double
  • Parking fees
  • Banquet or picnic XX per person
  • Estimated Total Cost to registrant: XX

Note: The local hosts will be working with the Program Chair, the Secretary, the Treasurer, and the President-Elect (if already elected) to work out various duties such as pre-registration and registration.

The Program Chair, who is elected by the membership, and the appointed Program Committee, decide on the content of the program; the local hosts will coordinate with the Program Chair in assignment of rooms for sessions, coffee break and reception times, etc.

Discussion needs to occur as to who is responsible for printing the meeting program and booklet of abstracts (and shipping to the site, if needed); this has been done in different ways in the past.

Appendix 1: Accessibility Requirements

Accessibility Survey for ISHPSSB Meeting Sites

Prepared by Ron Amundson

The following criteria should be checked to allow assessment of the accessibility of the meeting site. We do not assume that all criteria must be met for a site to be acceptable. Accurate information about specific barriers should be recorded. If a site is chosen that is not totally accessible, information about specific barriers and accessibility problems should be available in advance to allow potential conferees to plan and to make informed choices about attendance. The "Checklist" is followed by a "Narrative" with definitions and specifications.

It is not necessary to actually use a wheelchair to determine accessibility, but it might be helpful. A baby stroller or other wheeled device might also be useful. It is easy for non-disabled people to step off a curb or up a short stairway without noticing it. If a wheelchair or stroller is not used, one must pay very close attention to [*** text missing ***]


  • Is the conference building itself accessible from the street? If not, record the problems.
  • Is the accessible route between conference rooms obvious to attendees? If an indirect route is needed for accessibility, that information must be written up and made available to attendees on arrival. (For example, if an elevator exists but is far from the conference rooms, the location of the elevator must be publicized. If a stairway is on the shortest route between buildings, but a longer route is accessible, the location of the longer route must be publicized.)
  • Are all conference rooms accessible (on one floor, or by elevator)? If not, how many are accessible and how many are not?
  • Are accessible hotels, restaurants, and dining areas available? If possible, list names of some accessible hotels, or names of those which are known not to be accessible.
  • Do accessible routes exist between the conference building(s) and dining areas or restaurants? Hotels?
  • Are all conference rooms accessible internally? If not, describe problems (no room for wheelchairs, raised platforms for speakers, etc.)
  • Are accessible bathrooms available in the conference building?
  • Many Universities and other institutions have staff who specialize in accessibility for disabled people. If such a person exists at the site, please supply contact information.


"Accessible Routes"

Accessible routes should be assessed between all conference rooms and rest rooms within the conference buildings, and outdoors between the conference buildings and restaurants and living quarters (hotels or dormitories). An "accessible route" is a pathway on a hard surface that can be traveled by wheelchair user and people with other mobility impairments. Outdoor accessible routes are normally concrete or asphalt. Brick or tile walkways are usually accessible, but cobblestones, uneven bricks, or gravel are a problem that should be noted.

Barriers along Routes

Routes which contain curbs or stairs are not accessible. Any ramp or slope on the route should be less than 1 in 12 in steepness. (This means that the ramp should be 1 foot long for every inch of vertical rise, or 120 cm in length for every 10 cm of vertical rise.) This is the typical slope of an American curb ramp. Some ramps in service areas, such as loading docks, are much steeper than this. It is not necessary for the inspector to actually measure the slope of every ramp. But it is important not to identify a loading dock ramp as "accessible." It is probably much too steep. It might be possible to find a route which is "accessible" only by using driveways. If that is so, the fact should be noted.

Barriers at Doorways

Accessible doorways should be 32" (81 cm) in clear width. "Clear width" is the actual space which a wheelchair can fit through when the door is open. (It is not the distance across the doorway, because most doors do not open far enough to use the full distance between the walls.) Many doorways have thresholds which can be barriers. If the threshold at a doorway is more than 1/2 inch (1.3 cm) the height should be noted.

Dining Areas and Hotel Rooms

It is important that at least some dining areas and restaurants are on accessible routes, and are internally accessible. If all conferees are expected to eat together, that location must be accessible. Information about which hotels or dormitories are known to be accessible, and which are known not to be accessible, should be made available before the meeting.

Hotel Rooms Internally

This may be difficult to determine. An accessible hotel must at least have rooms which do not require the guest to climb stairs. Doors to the room and bathroom should be accessible (both in width and threshold) and there should be enough space in the room for a wheelchair to go from the doorway to the bathroom and to the bed.

Rest Rooms Internally

Also difficult to judge. Most important is space. There should be room for a wheelchair to enter and to turn around inside the rest room. A 4 by 4 foot (122 cm) square space is adequate. Fully accessible rest room stalls (by American standards) must be 5 feet square. For practical purposes, if rest rooms seem to small for a wheelchair to enter or to turn around, that fact should be reported.

Conference Rooms Internally

Conference rooms must each have open floor space for a wheelchair to be located without blocking the door or aisles. Some conference rooms may have elevated platforms for speakers. These rooms should be noted, so that mobility impaired speakers can be assigned different rooms.

2015 Site Selection Committee Report

By Roger Sansom, acting chair of the 2015 (ISHPSSB 2017) Site Selection Committee.

Michel Morange was chair of the ISHPSSB site selection committee and the other members were Matt Haber, Chris DiTeres, Charbel El-Hani, and myself (Roger Sansom). On 2/8/15, Michel sent out the two proposals that he had received, along with his request to remove himself from the committee because he had taken over as president of ISHPSSB at the death of Werner Callebaut. At that point I volunteered to become president of the site selection committee. Also, Charbel El-Hani recused himself because he was on one of the proposing local organizing committees.

We received one proposal to host in São Paulo and one in Jerusalem.

São Paulo Hosting Organizations:

  • Institute of Biosciences of University of São Paulo
  • Institute of Biosciences – USP
  • São Paulo Local Organizing Committee:
  • Charbel El-Hani
  • (Federal University of Bahia)
  • Maria Elice Brzezinski Prestes (University of São Paulo)
  • Roberto de Andrade Martins (Federal University of São Carlos)

Jerusalem Hosting Organizations:

  • The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute
  • Edelstein Center, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • Jacques Loeb Centre, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
  • Cohn Institute, Tel Aviv University
  • Jerusalem Local Organizing Committee:
  • Ute Deichmann
  • Anthony S. Travis
  • Orly Shenker
  • Ehud Lamm

The committee reviewed both proposals and met online a few times to discuss them. The committee judged both proposals to be sound, but had a number of questions for each of the organizing committees, which were put to the committees on Feb. 26 and they were asked to respond by March 12. Both committees were asked

  1. Is homosexuality outlawed at the proposed host jurisdiction?
  2. Can you give us any indication as to whether any ISH members may struggle to be allowed to enter your country?

Each committee was also asked questions specific to their proposals, such as clarifying budget or facility issues or about other conferences or institutions that were mentioned in their proposals.

After receiving the responses, the committee met again and made the following judgments about the relative strengths of the proposals.

  • São Paulo would make the greater contribution to the internationalization and growth of ISHPSSB.
  • São Paulo has the strength of running concurrent with one established conference (The 2017 Brazilian History and Philosophy of Biology Meeting (EFHB)) and just before another in Rio de Janeiro (The 25th International Congress of History of Science, Technology and Medicine, to be held in from in July 23th to 29th).
  • São Paulo would require ISHPSSB members from USA and Canada to get visas, through a process that is complicated, takes quite a lot of time, and is costly (for Canadians US$40, for Americans Tourist visas cost US$100; business visas US$160).
  • Jerusalem would on average be less costly for ISHPSSB members to fly to.
  • Israel would deny entry to any members from Iran or Pakistan.

The committee found both proposals to have very different relative strengths and so proposed that the decision be made by the whole membership at the general meeting at the conference in Montreal. Both proposing committees were invited to attend to make presentations at the meeting. However, it was later determined that this violated the ISHPSSB bylaws, which require that the council make the decision. ISHPSSB secretary Anya Plutynski asked me for a brief summary of the Site Selection Committee's deliberative considerations for her to forward to the Council. I sent her the following.

The committee found that both proposals were sound in terms of their budget and facilities. The São Paulo proposal had the advantages of dovetailing with other conferences that some of our membership would be interested in and also might attract their members to us. We also judged that while technically both were proposals from a new continent for Ish, the South American proposal increased geographical diversity more than the Israeli one.

There are two relative weaknesses for the Brazilian proposal. First, because Brazil has a reciprocity policy concerning visas, US attendees would be required to go through a process to get a visa that will take three months and cost more than $160. For Canadians it will be more than $60. It should be noted that a few of our members may be unable to get into Jerusalem, but that should not be the case for Brazil. However, the committee judged that although no one would be ineligible for Brazil, the process is sufficiently cumbersome that some would somehow not manage to get in, because they did not start the process early enough, made some other mistake, or something went wrong. In addition, flying to São Paulo will on average cost more than flying to Jerusalem.

That's it in a nutshell.

The committee voted in favor of the São Paulo option and they made their presentation at the ISHPSSB general meeting. In addition the committee presented its rationale for recommending the São Paulo proposal and explained some of the difficulties for US and Canadians to get visas and some of the helpful resources available on web etc.

I apologized to Ute Deichmann at the conference for the opportunity to make her Jerusalem presentation being taking away, because the decision in favor of São Paulo had already been made.

The committee would like to thank both organizing committees for their hard work and to request that other ISHPSSB members undertake that same hard work to allow for future successful ISHPSSB meetings.