The International Congress of Psychology is held every four years, under the auspices of the International Union of Psychological Science. The IUPsyS Assembly generally chooses a host country for this Congress eight years in advance of the Congress. The host country (national psychology association, coalition or representation) must be a member of IUPsyS. It is then the responsibility of the National Member (and its scientific community) to organize the Congress - including developing the program, issuing calls for participation, publicizing the Congress, arranging accommodation, arranging special programming, and usually arranging additional funding through grants, sponsorship, and the like.
To establish the feasibility of submitting an application, a potential applicant might begin with an overview of some logistical issues for proposing a Congress venue:
- Is there a conference venue to host at least 8000 participants?
- Are there sufficient hotel rooms (approx. 3000) close to the conference venue (or is transportation to the conference venue easy and frequent) that allow a range of rates?
- Is there a scientific community to develop the program?
How are Countries Selected?
If you believe your country/city would be appropriate for hosting an International Congress of Psychology, and if your country is a member of IUPsyS, you may wish to submit an application. It is the IUPsyS Assembly that votes for the selection. Although it is hard to predict just what features of a proposal define the voting outcome, the Assembly typically takes the following items into account (the order of the items which are listed here is not necessarily in the order of importance):
Geographical Rotation among continents and countries for the International Congresses of Psychology (ICP, under the auspices of IUPsyS) and the International Congresses of Applied Psychology (ICAP, under the auspices of IAAP). In an attempt to guarantee broad geographical coverage, the Assembly will be likely to favour applications that enable access across the major regions of the world. An additional factor is the location of large concentrations of psychologists. Therefore, some regions may be chosen more frequently than others.
For your information, here follows a list of recent and future Congress venues:
- 1988 ICP Australia
- 1990 ICAP Japan
- 1992 ICP Belgium
- 1994 ICAP Spain
- 1996 ICP Canada
- 1998 ICAP USA
- 2000 ICP Sweden
- 2002 ICAP Singapore
- 2004 ICP China
- 2006 ICAP Greece
- 2008 ICP Germany
- 2010 ICAP Australia
- 2012 ICP South Africa
- 2014 ICAP France
- 2016 ICP Japan
The scientific community in the Congress country is responsible for the scientific program. You should provide evidence that the scientific community in your country is willing and sufficiently able to develop a strong and balanced scientific program with broad international representation
Exchange: Developing a good program also requires communication with scientists all over the world. Is there a strong tradition of efficient scientific exchange between your country and the scientific world?
Communication: There is a requirement for intensive and frequent communication between the Congress organizers and the IUPsyS Executive Committee. For example, the overall structure of the scientific program, Congress publications (abstracts, proceedings), and other Congress details need to be approved by the IUPsyS Executive Committee, and other organizational components need to be discussed. It is therefore important that you can guarantee good communication with the IUPsyS Executive Committee and particularly with its officers and with the IUPsyS-ICP liaison.
Costs for participating in the Congress are another factor. The Assembly will expect that the Congress registration fee will be reasonable, that there is a range of good hotel rates (particularly including inexpensive ones), and that travel costs can be kept as low as possible. For your information the registration fees for the three most recent Congresses using early bird registration as reference were 300 US$ (Beijing), 300 Euros (Berlin) and between 1700 and 3600 Rand (Cape Town) depending on the participant's country.
Despite efforts to keep costs low, travel is expensive for young psychologists, and for psychologists from the developing world and transition countries. It is therefore important to provide a plan that will guarantee special fees, housing, and support for those colleagues. This plan should be clearly outlined in the budget, including special provisions for ARTS programmes (by agreement, at least 30 ARTS participants are provided registration waivers).
A balanced budget needs to be provided in outline. According to the IUPsyS Rules of Procedure, the local organising committee is entirely responsible for covering costs (in case of surplus, the IUPsyS Rules of Procedure provide information about the procedure to be followed). Thus, it is important to show realistically how the income (registration fees and other) will cover your costs. It may be helpful to consult the preceding organisers of Congresses in drafting the budget.
Remember the budget needs to cover the expenses of the IUPsyS Executive Committee meeting which is typically held in the Congress country three years in advance of the Congress. Moreover, the IUPsyS Executive Committee appoints one of its members to be the liaison person to the Congress and that person's costs needs to be covered for frequent attendance at the meetings of the local organising committee; the frequency depends on the existing communication with the IUPsyS Executive Committee but may mean at least once a year.
The International Congresses of Psychology adhere strictly to the ICSU principles of free circulation of scientists. Provide evidence that any scientist, from whatever country, will be allowed to enter your country without special requirements (except for the regular passport and visa). Based on former bids, it is a good idea to include an official letter from your country's government, stating explicitly that your country adheres to the ICSU principles of free circulation of scientists
Before the next International Congress of Psychology (in 2012 for 2020 Congress applications, in 2016 for 2024 Congress applications):
- Submit a letter of intent to the IUPsyS Secretary-General. This allows him/her to help you prepare the application file and to have preliminary discussions within the IUPsyS Executive Committee before the submission goes to the Assembly.
- The finalised application file should be forwarded to the IUPsyS Secretary-General several months ahead of the International Congress of Psychology. The IUPsyS Secretary-General includes the application file in the documents which are sent to all Assembly delegates a few months before the next Assembly session (the 2012 Assembly meets in July in Cape Town, South Africa).
- Typically (although it is not compulsory) applying countries organise a social activity (e.g., a reception at the Congress venue, Country’s embassy, or hotel of the city) during the first days of the Congress at which the choice is made. This allows the Assembly delegates to discuss informally the merits of the proposal.
- At the Assembly meeting during which a choice is made (2012 for the 2020 Congress; 2016 for the 2024 Congress) proposers typically take 10 minutes to highlight their submission, followed by a 5 minute Question & Answer period from the Assembly. The voting, which is final, follows. When there are many proposals, the Assembly may decide to vote in two steps: a first vote to reduce the candidate countries to two, followed by a second vote to determine the conference venue outcome.