Propose a Chapman

Propose a Chapman

Participants and Size Timing/Scheduling Location Field Trips Schedule/Format
Financial Responsibility Program Approved Conferences Grant Funding Publicity
Program: Abstracts Poster Sessions and ePosters Guidelines Publication Logistics


Only AGU members may propose to convene a Chapman Conference. The Conveners should identify the topical focus of the proposed Chapman Conference. Conveners engage scientists with breadth of knowledge of the topic and diversity of opinions and they become the Program Committee.

Proposing a Chapman Conference is typically a two-step process: (1) the proposal is submitted to AGU and, if successful, then (2) the proposal is appropriately revised and submitted to funding agencies for meeting support.  The Conveners should first contact the Chapman Conference Chair before writing their proposal.  The Chair is open to dialogue and can be helpful with proposal guidance.  After these discussions, the Conveners will prepare a scientific statement of topics to be addressed at the Chapman Conference. This scientific statement should evolve into a cogent 5-10 page discussion document with alternative views of issues, and the defined scientific relevance of the focus. Appropriate references should be cited. This statement becomes the body of the proposal which will be scientifically reviewed within the AGU system and will become the core of the proposal submitted to various funding agencies. As such, the statement is of necessity concise, yet well documented. This statement will also be used to promote the Chapman Conference such as a submission to Eos, after the conference has been approved.

The Conveners should solicit and establish a Program Committee. The Program Committee should consist of members who can represent all controversial views of the topic. Individuals listed as being on the Program Committee should have agreed to serve in this capacity. Generally, there are 2-3 Conveners. It is recommended that one convener be a senior scientist in the field. This could impact the outcome of a highly successful conference. Usually a well-known scientist can help to attract keynote speakers and expected attendance. There should be a balanced and diverse committee (to include international, gender, and career-level diversity), both geographically and scientifically. The Conveners should work with the Program Committee to establish (1) potential participants, (2) size, time, schedule, (3) sponsorship, and (4) the program plan.

After a proposal is submitted to the Chapman Conference Chair, the Chair selects a committee of 4 -5 scientists to review the proposal.  The reviewers are selected based on their knowledge of the topic content.  The review process is generally completed within 4 weeks, and if approved, the Chair sends a letter of approval to the convener and informs AGU staff of the approval.

Participants and Size

The Conveners should establish an appropriate list of potential participants. Past experience suggests that the most productive Chapman Conferences include 80-120 people with 15-20 graduate students. Larger groups may inhibit adequate discussion and smaller groups usually cannot cover the breadth of the topic. Attendance can only exceed 150 participants if the conveners make a convincing case that such a large Chapman can enable a leap forward in their scientific field. The proposal to AGU should include a list of names and contact information of people who are likely to attend the conference (these can be placed in an appendix).  The length of this list should well exceed the expected attendance to ensure maximum participation at the conference.

Timing/Scheduling A Chapman Conference

The timing of the conference should be selected to optimize the scientific productivity of the conference. A period of ideally no less than 15 months should be allotted between the proposal stage and the conference dates. Chapman Conferences are planned so as to not overlap.

AGU accepts Chapman Conference proposals twice a year on 15 March and 15 September. AGU accepts and schedules four to five per year. Exceptions are granted for topics that are considered latebreaking and time sensitive. Additionally, Chapman Conferences should not conflict with major holidays and meetings of AGU or other societies. Furthermore, no Chapman Conferences are convened in the month of December. Visit the AGU Geocalendar to view upcoming meetings.


The duration of a Chapman Conference is normally three with a maximum of five days.  Conference objectives are best served when all participants remain for the full conference and participate in all activities, scientific and social. Conferences longer than three days in duration usually suffer serious attrition in attendance, particularly on the fifth day.


The site should be carefully chosen to promote conference objectives, to limit distractions, and to provide adequate facilities so that participants can meet, and have housing facilities and meals in a congenial, informal setting while keeping costs reasonable. Hotels and lodges in tourist centers or resort areas during off season, all-inclusive resorts, or college campuses during semester breaks often provide excellent facilities at reasonable costs. Locations may also be chosen to allow for a field trip to a site of scientific interest. Chapman Conferences can be held almost anywhere, although a site should be selected with consideration for travel problems and costs.  Proposals should indicate a list of three possible meeting locations (city and country), with a priority ordering.  Selecting a location is a balance between keeping costs low and making available a location that will attract attendees.  AGU Headquarters should be strongly considered given its excellent facilities, low costs, and convenient location to both Europe and the west coast of the U.S.

While conveners may recommend a venue for the Chapman Conference, the site selection is made by AGU.  When a Chapman Conference is held outside of the United States, preference is given to hotel groups that AGU has a global sales relationship with.

Field Trips

Field trips of scientific value are common in the Chapman Conferences. Field trips must focus on the scientific topic of the Chapman Conference. Locations may also be chosen to allow for a field trip to a site of scientific interest. The Program Committee can recommend a local person to assist with the development of the field trip. Additional sight-seeing activities can be organized by the conveners but are not managed by AGU.


Chapman Conferences are a self-supporting program of the American Geophysical Union, i.e., AGU does not provide monetary funding. It is recommended to identify potential financial sponsors for these conferences, especially to support conference participants. Depending on the time and location of the conference, different levels of financial support are appropriate. The American Geophysical Union is the principal sponsor of Chapman Conferences. Other societies, institutions, and organizations that are acceptable to AGU can participate as co-sponsors. Co-sponsorship is a natural way to recognize and promote interdisciplinary approaches to a problem and cross-disciplinary participation in the conference. Anticipated co-sponsors should be identified at the time the Chapman Conference proposal is submitted.

For conferences held outside the U.S., a local geophysical or equivalent organization should be asked to consider sponsorship to avoid the appearance of unilateral action in a foreign country. This sponsorship does not have to be in the form of financial assistance.  The AGU Development Office can assist with solicitations of sponsorships. Chapman Conference Conveners and Program Committee members can recommend potential sponsors.

Financial Responsibility

AGU takes full responsibility for managing conference finances including development of the conference budget and setting the registration rates. Revenue comes primarily from registration fees and sponsorship. Grant funding is normally used to support attendee travel. Some examples of expenses include food and beverage, room rental, and audio-visual equipment.


Establish a scientific plan for the conference. Include a list of identified speakers and determine their willingness to participate. Establish the daily themes for presentations, discussions, posters, panels and (where appropriate) scientific field trips. There should always be some free time allowed for informal gatherings and discussions. Having sessions from the early morning to the end of day is sometimes counterproductive. The Conveners have ultimate responsibility for the scientific program.  This program should be designed in a manner that ensures the maximum likelihood of the conference fulfilling its goals of changing the field of science. AGU will support the Conveners to design different dynamic and engaging session formats, including virtual sessions for an impactful meeting.

All Chapman Conferences should include a related data session or select data presentations encouraging the understanding of data management best practices in the complementary Earth and space science domains.

Approved Conferences

AGU staff and the Conveners will work together to produce a highly successful conference. It is a team effort. AGU partners with Conveners of approved conferences in the following areas:

Grant Funding

As indicated above, this is the second step of the Chapman proposal process.  Conveners will revise their Chapman proposal, as appropriate, and submit it to various funding agencies for travel and meeting support.  This financial support is a critical step toward ensuring a successful Chapman Conference.  While AGU is available to submit the grant proposal, the conveners will write it.  Conveners can submit the grant proposal directly to the funding agency but AGU must be named as a funding recipient.  As such the moneys are used by AGU to directly pay for food and beverage and meeting space rental fees.  Because AGU does not charge overhead, ideally the moneys would be paid by the funding agency directly to AGU.  In addition to requesting monies for AGU to pay for the meeting venue, Conveners may also request travel support for attendees, e.g., airfare and hotel.  The goal is to minimize costs for attendees, including minimizing the registration fee. The Conveners should work with AGU and the funding agency to assure that all necessary details for submission have been completed.


The Conveners will assist in the preparation of announcements and pre-conference publicity to be published in Eos and other appropriate journals, magazines, and the AGU Home Page. AGU staff prepares final copy for publicity pieces. The Conveners may provide AGU with a select mailing list of potential participants. Registration and housing information is sent to all who contribute to the conference program or express an interest in attending.

Program: Abstracts

AGU receives the abstracts and forwards copies to the Conveners. The Conveners and Program Committee arrange the program and provide the schedule to AGU. Abstracts or extended abstracts are published in a program distributed at the conference. The program is for attendees only and is not given or sold to others. The program, with abstracts, is also published on the Chapman Conferences and AGU websites. The convener’s primary responsibility is the scientific program. AGU will maintain an abstract management system to collect abstracts and will support abstract submitters, the Conveners, and the Program Committee. The Conveners and Program Committee are responsible for arranging the program in the abstract management system.

Poster Sessions

It is often advantageous to include poster sessions at Chapman Conferences. Some results can be presented more effectively and efficiently with posters. Posters allow more variety in types of graphic displays: charts, schematics, maps, photographs, and computer outputs. Poster presentations also give participants the opportunity for detailed discussions with colleagues with the technical materials conveniently displayed. By mixing regular sessions with poster sessions, authors have more time to exchange ideas and results. Please note, including poster sessions at a site in a remote location can be costly. This can be determined when AGU staff develops a preliminary conference budget. AGU has now implemented the display of ePosters at Chapman Conferences; please review guidelines.


The information presented at Chapman Conferences lends itself to publication.  The Conference Convener should consider carefully the question of publication. All publication proposals are subject to review by the appropriate publication board or editor. AGU must first refuse to publish a product before the Conveners can go to a non-AGU product/publisher.  To propose a special issue of an AGU journal, contact the relevant Editor-in-Chief. To propose a book, please refer to the guidelines and send to the AGU Books Editor, Ritu Bose.


AGU staff assumes responsibility for contracting all services required for the conference. AGU staff contracts with the facility and arranges for any necessary deposits, provides for food and beverage service, audio-visual equipment, and transportation. AGU staff has ultimate responsibility for all services required for the conference including setting registration fees. The Conveners should not pre-arrange facility contracts or other services required for the conference.

Chapman Proposal Checklist