Annual Biology Conference

A showcase of postgraduate student research in Biological Sciences

Our 2023 sponsors

About the ABC

The Annual Biology Conference (ABC) is a single day symposium organised by the School of Biological Sciences. It provides an opportunity for postgraduate research students of the school to present their findings to colleagues, peers and the wider scientific community.

The communication of science and the presentation of research ideas and results are important skills for emerging scientists. The ABC allows students to develop public speaking skills and gain confidence and experience in delivering a presentation to a larger audience.

It is the expectation of the Biological Sciences Teaching and Learning Committee that every postgraduate research student will participate.

Prizes and awards will be presented in a number of categories. Morning and afternoon tea will be provided and a social gathering will follow at the conclusion of the presentations.

UC Biological Sciences students can apply for a number of volunteer positions to help organise the conference, through these roles students gain valuable skills in communication and organisation.

Timetable and abstract book

Timeline 2023

  • Apply for student positions May
  • Register to present  June
  • Upload your abstract 25–29 Sept 
  • Upload your social media by October 24 4pm
  • Presentation rehearsal October 25, (time and venue tba)
  • Upload your presentation file October 25, 2–4pm
  • Conference October 26, 9am–5pm

Student position descriptions

Oversee the process of gaining sponsorship for the ABC event. Personalising existing letter templates to previous sponsors and identifying potential new sponsors if required. Communicating with potential sponsors. Managing communications with sponsors.

Mentor: Angela van Diepen 


  • June–September: contacting sponsors (6–10 hours) 
  • October: coordinating display stand requirements (2 hours) 
  • On the day: Meeting and greeting any sponsors who wish to attend (1 hour) 
  • Post event: Thank sponsors in writing, make recommendations for future conferences (1 hour) 

Oversee the coordination of student positions for the whole ABC event.

Mentors: Matt Walters and Hazel Chapman


  • June–October: Not for the faint of heart, this person will assist with the production and delivery of the event. (2–3 hours a month) 

This role would be well suited to people looking towards a future in science event management, science communication or science leadership. 

Coordinate the submission and editing of abstracts to produce the abstract book.

Mentor: Brigitta Kurenbach 


  • September– early October: Receive abstracts via online submission form and follow-up with those that have not submitted. Lead the editing and preparation of abstracts then pass them on for formatting. (3–4 hours) 

Lead and manage the session chairs. Be the key point of contact for chairs on the day.

Mentor: Brigitta Kurenbach 


  • September: Assist with advertising chair positions and selecting people. (1 hour) 
  • Week before: Prepare packs for each room. Review and update information. (2 hours) 
  • Day before: Meet with chairs and ensure they are briefed on procedure. (1 hour) 
  • On the day: Be the main contact person for chairs, deal with any issues that arise. (2-3 hours)

A team of people who can share the different communications roles as they choose to plan, develop and deliver communications across the school's media platforms. Photographers to capture in images the spirit of the day. Media liaisons to connect with UC Communications team to create news story ideas and liaise with any external media present at the event.  

Mentor: Matt Walters 

Social media timeline:

  • September: Contact screen administrators to arrange access to screens around the venue (1 hour)
  • October: Coordinate and preload submitted tweets (2 hours)
  • On the day: Monitor social media and contribute to the conversation (6 hours)
  • Post-event: Analyse the impact and make recommendations for future conferences (1 hour)

Photography timeline:

  • October: Coordinate with the Social Media Team to capture photographs in the lead up to the event for sharing with external media and on social media. (2 hours)
  • Week before: prepare a list of key moments during the day that need to be photographed. (2 hours)
  • On the day: Capture photographs of key events during the day and share with social media team to ensure good coverage of the day. (3-6 hours)
  • Day after: Deliver photographs to Biological Sciences administration team for use in subsequent newsletters and mailouts. (1 hour)


Provide computer support for loading talks and on-the-day problem solving.

Mentor: Hazel Chapman 


  • October: Through consultation with AV Services, ensure thorough knowledge of common IT problems encountered with presentations (especially video embedding). Communicate to presenters how best to avoid these problems. Prepare basic information for chairs on how to solve common problems (up to 3 hours). 
  • Day before: Manage the uploading of talks to computers and memory sticks (3 hours). 
  • On the day: Be key contact person at the conference support desk to solve problems should they arise. (2-3 hours)
  • After the event: Debrief. (1 hour) 


Provide problem solving and hands-on help to ensure ABC runs smoothly.

Mentor: Hazel Chapman, Matt Walters and Brigitta Kurenbach 


  • October: Keep in regular contact with staff mentors to help with logistical organisation. (1-2 hours)
  • Week before: Gain good knowledge of the event plan and timetable to ensure timely response on the day (1 hour)
  • On the day: Be the key person(s) on the conference desk to handle questions as they arrive and hand off to relevant people as required (IT support, Chairs, Timetable, etc). (6 hours)
  • After the event: Debrief. (1 hour)

Details for presenters

  • The ABC symposium has been scheduled for Thursday, October 26, 2023. The start time is 9:00 am. Rooms are  lecture theatre E8 of the engineering core to begin and then presentations are given in E5-7.
  • Presentations are expected from current PhD, MSc thesis (year 5/Part 2) and BSc(Hons) students enrolled within the School of Biological Sciences and Biomolecular Interaction Centre (BIC). Doctoral students are expected to present twice during their PhD, other students only once – you may present more often if you wish.
  • Oral presentations in 2023 are 10 minutes long with 3 minutes for questions and discussions.
  • The preferred format is with Powerpoint or PDF file.
ABC button image for Biology