Proposing a Scientific Calendar Activity

Early submission of proposals is strongly encouraged

Each year, ICTP organizes about 70 activities (Schools/Colleges, Conferences, Workshops, etc) either on its Trieste premises, or at other outside venues, these as a rule in a developing or emerging country.  Topics for activities are not restricted to theory and the activities are selected on the basis of scientific novelty, impact on the international community with special emphasis on bringing together scientists from South and North, basic training for younger scientists, and hands-on training for computer-intensive subjects. Where appropriate, proposals that combine pedagogical material with advanced research results, or those that spur new results in an emerging or multidisciplinary field, or those that resolve an outstanding or controversial issue, will be preferred. Research-oriented non-pedagogical activities, as a rule, will receive funds that should mostly be earmarked for participants from developing countries. 

The deadline for proposals is 28 February 2020. ICTP announces the call for proposals on its website.

Proposals must be submitted exclusively via the ICTP online system:

Questions can be directed to the ICTP Scientific Programme Committee Office via email:

ICTP invites proposals from the international scientific community for any of the following types of activities:

  • Schools/Colleges: These largely pedagogical events cover a relatively broad scientific field normally through lectures at an expository level, and may include exercise sessions, discussion groups and computer laboratory sessions. The lectures are intended to be self-contained, requiring a general background of the subject, and addressing a young and relatively inexperienced audience. Typical duration of a school is 3 weeks, with three to five lectures and seminars per day, and of the order of three lectures from each lecturer.
  • Advanced Schools/Workshops: These events deal with specific or specialized topics. In some cases, particularly when held periodically over time, the main purpose may be to cover developments of the last few years. A fraction of the audience may consist of former participants who should be actively involved in the programme, for instance through poster sessions. Typical length is 2 weeks.
  • Conferences: These activities last for a few days to a week and consist of presentations of recent results on timely and exciting subjects. A typical Conference may consist of three one-hour morning keynote lectures that include a broader introduction for non-experts, and up to five shorter specialized afternoon lectures or seminars.
  • Extended Workshops: These less structured activities last from 2 to 3 months and cover selected research topics. Organizers should plan, in close agreement with members of an ICTP staff research group, on staying for the full length of the workshop. Informal seminars by the participants and discussion sessions will serve to foster new research collaborations.
  • Outside Activities: Regional activities, to take place in an emerging or developing country, meant for promoting science in the host country and the surrounding region. The proposal should be in a standard format as indicated for the above in-house ICTP activities. It is expected that some of the expenses for these meetings should be taken care of by the host institution, for example the board, lodging and travel for at least local participants and faculty. It is also expected that there will be logistical support on items such as secretariat, the use of the internet, telephone, fax, photocopier, office space and computers, pick-up service from and to the airport, internal transportation, housekeeping, lecture halls, laboratories, reception, lunch, dinner and coffee breaks. These commitments should be communicated to ICTP in a letter.
  • Co-sponsored Activities: Proposed activities that typically bring most of their own funding and organization, but seek an international venue and only modest support from ICTP. For consideration, they should be open to participants from developing countries on a cost-free basis, and should otherwise be relevant to ICTP's mission, according to the criteria spelled out above.


Prospective proposers are encouraged to contact relevant ICTP resident scientists for preliminary discussions and/or information (see research pages) in all areas where there is in-house interest and/or research at ICTP, including:

  • High Energy, Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics
  • Condensed Matter Physics including Statistical Physics
  • Mathematics
  • Earth System Physics including Geophysics, Ocean Dynamics, Weather and Climate Modelling, Upper Atmosphere
  • Applied Physics including Fluid Dynamics, Plasma Physics, Nuclear Data and Applications, Laser Physics, Medical Physics, Machine Learning, Computer Algorithms, Soft Matter, Biophysics, Radio Propagation
  • Quantitative Life Sciences
  • Web Technologies and Distance Education, Information and Communication Technologies, Open Source for Science and Development
  • Renewable Energies
  • High Performance Computing



All proposals are evaluated by an Advisory Panel. The criteria for selection are:

  • Scientific merit: timeliness, novelty, and research impact of the subject
  • High potential impact on scientists in developing countries
  • The reunion of communities: this is favoured over repetitious activities
  • External funding: activities should seek support to supplement ICTP's contribution


Important Notes:

In all programmes, keynote lectures should contain a well-defined pedagogical introduction, so as to reach a broader audience including non-experts.

As a rule, the ICTP may cover living expenses for lecturers, speakers, and developing country participants of an activity. Travel contributions are restricted to a few well-motivated cases.  ICTP activities do not normally charge a conference fee.

A school may be combined with a conference.

If proposals from science-adjacent areas come from different sources, the Advisory Panel may attempt to merge them in cooperation with the proposers, in order to encourage better interaction among segments of a larger community. The organizers should be open to such suggestions.

For logistic purposes, it may be useful to involve an ICTP scientist in each of the proposals, though scientific direction could reside outside. In all cases the ICTP will nominate a local organizer, who will work side by side with the external organizers, and help with selection of participants.  Financial authority will reside with an ICTP Scientific Staff Member, who may coincide with the local organizer.

Proposers must include a list of suggested programme directors (normally between 2 and 5 names), keeping into consideration a balanced geographical and gender distribution. Preference will be given to proposals where at least one of the directors comes from a developing country and at least one of the directors is a woman.

Decisions concerning the programme for a particular year are taken in spring the prior year. Since the decision process involves several stages, early submission of proposals is strongly encouraged.

Because of space and other logistical reasons, some iteration on the duration, size and time of the programmes may be required. In particular, it is desirable to plan activities outside the crowded summer months.

ICTP's partner institutes in Brazil, China, Mexico, Rwanda are also interested in hosting scientific activities at their facilities. Please refer to the details on the ICTP website:


Hosted Activities: Proposed activities that bring their own funds and organization (requiring, in particular, no secretarial help from ICTP), but seek an international venue, will be considered, outside of the regular call for proposals, provided that they are open to emerging country participants on a cost-free basis, and are otherwise of relevance for ICTP's mission, according to the criteria spelled out above. Requests for hosted activities will be considered on a first come-first serve basis. For all logistical purposes, hosted activities will be reserved second priority with respect to the selected ICTP activities.   If you are interested in proposing a hosted activity at ICTP, please contact:

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