The International Congress of Psychology is held every four years, under the auspices of the International Union of Psychological Science. The IUPsyS Assembly typically chooses a host country for this Congress eight years in advance of the Congress. The host country must be a member of IUPsyS. It is then the responsibility of the National Member (and its scientific community), with the guidance and support of the IUPsyS, to organize the Congress – including developing the programme, issuing calls for participation, publicising the Congress, arranging accommodations, arranging special programming, and securing additional funding through grants, sponsorship etc.
To establish the feasibility of submitting an application, a potential applicant might begin with an overview of some logistical issues for a potential Congress site:
- Is there a conference venue to host at least 8,000 participants?
- Are there sufficient hotel rooms (approx. 3,000) close to the conference venue (or is transportation to the conference venue easy and frequent) that allow a range of rates?
- Does the psychological scientific community have the capacity to develop the programme?
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. The IUPsyS Assembly, the ultimate decision-making authority of the Union makes the selection via a transparent voting process. Although it is hard to predict the features of a proposal that determine 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) is an important factor. In an attempt to guarantee broad geographical representation, the Assembly will be likely to favour applications from major regions that have not previously hosted an ICP. However, the location of a large concentration of psychologists is another factor and thus some regions may be chosen more frequently than others.
For your information, here follows a list of recent and future Congress venues:
- 2028 ICP Australia
- 2024 ICP Czech Republic
- 2020+ ICP Czech Republic (virtual)
- 2018 ICAP Canada
- 2016 ICP Japan
- 2014 ICAP France
- 2012 ICP South Africa
- 2010 ICAP Australia
- 2008 ICP Germany
- 2006 ICAP Greece
- 2004 ICP China
- 2002 ICAP Singapore
- 2000 ICP Sweden
- 1998 ICAP USA
- 1996 ICP Canada
- 1994 ICAP Spain
- 1992 ICP Belgium
- 1990 ICAP Japan
- 1988 ICP Australia
The scientific community in the Congress country, with the guidance and support of the Union, is responsible for the scientific programme. Applicants should provide evidence that the scientific community in your country is willing and sufficiently able to develop a strong and balanced scientific programme with broad international appeal and representation. The programme is also expected to reflect developments in psychology and the Union’s vision, mission and strategic priorities.
Exchange: Developing a good programme also requires communication with scientists all over the world. Is there a strong tradition of psychological scientific exchange between your country and the global psychological scientific community?
Communication: There is a requirement for intensive and frequent communication between the Congress organisers and the IUPsyS Executive Committee. For example, the overall structure of the scientific programme, Congress publications (abstracts, proceedings), and other Congress details need to be approved by the IUPsyS Executive Committee, and other organisational 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 in-person Congresses using early bird registration as reference were 300 Euros (Berlin, Germany), between 1700-3600 Rand (Cape Town, South African), and 40000-50000 yen (Yokohama, Japan) depending on the participant’s country.
Despite efforts to keep costs low, travel is expensive for students, young psychologists, and for psychologists from the Majority World 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.
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 the Congress 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 need to be covered for frequent attendance at the meetings of the Congress executive, scientific and local organising committees; the frequency depends on the existing communication with the IUPsyS Executive Committee but is usually at least once a year, with more visits the year prior to the Congress.
The International Congresses of Psychology adhere strictly to the International Science Council’s (ISC) Principles of Free Circulation of Scientists. Provide evidence that any scientist, from any 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 ISC principles of free circulation of scientists.
Before the next International Congress of Psychology (in 2024 for 2032 Congress applications):
- Submit a letter of intent to the IUPsyS Secretary-General by December 15th, 2023. This allows him/her to help you prepare the application file, arrange support during the application preparation process (as necessary) and 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 at least three months ahead of the International Congress of Psychology. The IUPsyS Secretary-General includes the application file in the documents which are shared with all Assembly delegates prior to the next Assembly session.
- 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 selection is made. This allows the Assembly delegates to discuss informally, the merits of the proposal, with the applicant’s representatives.
- At the Assembly meeting during which the selection is made, applicants have 10 minutes to highlight their submission, followed by a 5-minute Question and Answer period. The voting, which is final, follows.