2nd Canadian National Undergraduate Bioethics Conference Logo

CNUB Conference Bidding Policy

Please note: In the case of bids for the conference selection meeting taking place at the 2nd CNUB Conference, the following sections of the bidding policy document do not apply: 4.c.; 5.b.i.; 5.b.iii.(optional instead of required); 5.b.iv.(optional instead of required); 5.b.vii.(see inclusion/exclusion criteria instead for guidelines on length); 5.b.ix.(see inclusion/exclusion criteria instead for submission deadline); 5.b.xiii.(optional but encouraged).

National Undergraduate Bioethics Conference Bidding Policy — Canada

Originally drafted by the International Student Bioethics Initiative; used and modified with the permission of ISBI (now defunct). The Canadian Student Bioethics Initiative offers its sincere thanks to ISBI for their permission to use and modify these guidelines to guide the organization of Canadian National Undergraduate Bioethics Conferences, and selection of future conference hosts!

  1. History
    1. The growing interest in bioethics has prompted student-oriented national conferences. Beginning with Princeton University in the spring of 1999, followed by the University of Virginia in 2000, and the University of Notre Dame in 2001, national bioethics conferences are following a rich tradition. [A complete list of national undergraduate bioethics conferences, both in the U.S. and Canada is available in Appendix A of this document.]

      A method of selecting future conferences was started at the University of Virginia to consolidate resources so that there will not be multiple conferences competing for attendance. The International Student Bioethics Initiative (ISBI), in conjunction with the planning committee chairmen of the third, fourth and fifth national undergraduate bioethics conferences, organized a committee structure within its organization in order to respond to the need to streamline the bidding process. The goals of this committee structure were to make the bidding process less time consuming, more organized, and conducive to student involvement in bioethics.

      St. Francis Xavier University, the host of the First Canadian National Undergraduate Bioethics Conference, modified this committee structure and the conference bidding guidelines. The committee structure and conference bidding guidelines were further modified by the Canadian Student Bioethics Initiative (CSBI) to better suit the Canadian National Undergraduate Bioethics (CNUB) Conference series. The Canadian Student Bioethics Initiative, following the guidelines laid out in this document, now facilitates this bidding process.
  2. Conference Coordination Operations
    1. The purpose of Conference Coordination is to review the format for selecting host institutions for undergraduate bioethics conferences. Conference Coordinators shall:
      1. Draft, approve, and publish standard guidelines for submitting hosting proposals and a fair method of selecting host institutions.
      2. Facilitate communication between host candidate institutions, current host institutions and others interested in student bioethics conferences.
      3. Publish selection guidelines on the host conference websites and conference packets prior to the selection meeting.
      4. Email any conference listserves notifying all interested in attending the current conference of the opportunity and guidelines to bid to host a future conference.
      5. Be present at any bioethics-related meeting to communicate the hosting guidelines to interested institutions, and to facilitate consultation regarding the subsequent improvement of conference planning and hosting.
      6. Provide the content for a web page hosted by CSBI with all of the official conferences, with dates and contact information.
      7. Have the authority to amend these guidelines, but must publicize these amendments at least five months before hosting proposals are due.
  3. Selection Committee
    1. The purpose of the selection committee is to assemble at every official spring conference, review hosting proposals, and to vote to select the hosts of future conferences according to the criteria and procedures outlined in this document.
    2. Selection committee composition
      1. Conference coordinators shall facilitate and direct the selection committee meeting.
      2. Representatives for proposal presentation from host-candidate institutions shall not serve on the selection committee but should be present for proposal presentation.
      3. Only one voting delegate from a host-candidate institution shall have the opportunity to serve on the selection committee.
      4. One non-voting representative from the current host institution shall be present at the selection meeting and shall be responsible for the final tabulation of votes and reporting of results.
  4. Selection Process
    1. The proposals shall be submitted at each official spring conference.
    2. Host institutions shall be selected no more than two years in advance.
    3. Institutions are not required to have a representative present at the conference in order to submit a proposal, but should [please] keep in mind this is their chance to answer questions and promote their proposal.
      1. Absentee bidders should be aware that they will need a very strong proposal to be competitive. Such institutions may designate a surrogate representative from another institution who will be attending the conference, or may elect for a representative from the conference coordination committee to present their proposal in a fair and objective manner.
    4. The selection committee (described in section 3) will meet at a session at the spring conference to vote and select the future host institution based on the criteria established in this document.
    5. Individuals who are not on the selection committee may observe the session, but only selection committee delegates may participate by asking questions and making comments.
    6. At least one non-voting representative from the current host institution, preferably from the conference coordination committee, shall be present at the selection session to ensure that everyone understands the criteria established in this document.
  5. Proposals
    1. Requirements for host institutions
      1. Must be located in Canada.
      2. Must be a strong undergraduate education institution or have a strong undergraduate education vision and mission.
    2. Proposals should include and describe the following:
      1. A letter from the provost or a dean at the institution acknowledging the institution is undertaking the planning process. This is a letter acknowledging that students are undertaking the planning process. Information regarding the costs, facilities, and involvement required for hosting previous conferences will be available by request from previous conference host institutions.
      2. Facilities available for hosting the conference at the institution.
      3. Major objectives of the conference. The proposal should explicitly state that the conference is geared toward undergraduate students and those who work with undergraduate students. The main focus or theme of conference should be clearly stated.
      4. Letters of student/faculty/administrative support.
      5. A 30-day window within which the conference will be held.
      6. Contact information and names and years of student coordinators (must be 3 or more students).
      7. The proposal should be no more than 2 pages, single-sided for the above information, and may contain up to 3 extra pages single-sided with whatever additional information the prospective host would like to include.
      8. Proposals are required to address these components in order to be reviewed.
      9. Proposals must be received by the conference planning committee at in Microsoft Word format no later than midnight 1 week before the start of the conference.
      10. Signed permission for proposals to be posted on the Canadian Student Bioethics Initiative website — should their bid be successful — so that students who cannot attend the current conference may view other proposals for future reference.
      11. Potential host institutions are required to provide three copies of their proposal to the selection committee, and may simply bring these copies to the conference or mail them to an address posted on the conference planning website if said potential institution cannot send a representative.
      12. Two representatives for proposal presentation from host-candidate institutions may present their proposal for no more than 5 minutes at the selection meeting (19/02/2005) and should be present to answer any questions. The order in which the presentations are given shall be randomly determined.
      13. Potential host institutions must submit information to the conference selection committee about bioethics activities and/or student interest in bioethics at their institutions.
  6. Voting
    1. After reviewing proposals, the selection committee shall vote on the future host institution.
    2. In order to vote, selection committee members must be present at the selection session described in section 4.d.
    3. Each institution shall have the opportunity to select a maximum of two selection committee delegates.
    4. Each selection committee delegate shall have one vote.
    5. A host-candidate institution shall have the opportunity to be represented by only one voting delegate on the selection committee.
    6. Conference coordinators present may have one vote each and may choose to decline the opportunity to vote. Voting conference coordinators represent the conference coordination committee and may not also serve as a selection committee delegate representing their institution. (They have only one vote, and may not have their vote count as more than one).
    7. The presence of at least three voting delegates is required for a decision.
  7. Decision
    1. Representatives for proposal presentation from a host-candidate institution shall not be present during discussion or voting by the selection committee.
    2. The institution whose proposal receives the most votes shall host the future conference.
    3. In the event of a tie, the selection committee and conference coordinators present shall use its discretion to select the host institution(s) in a manner that optimizes the opportunities and resources available for undergraduate bioethics education development.
    4. In the event that only one post-secondary institution submits a bid, the selection committee and conference coordinators present shall use its discretion to select the host institution(s) in a manner that optimizes the opportunities and resources available for undergraduate bioethics education development. If the selection committee is not satisfied with the submitted conference bid, or if there are no bids from other post-secondary institutions to host future conferences, the selection committee will re-open the bidding competition for future Canadian National Undergraduate Bioethics Conference hosts, and will meet at a later date to determine future host(s).
  8. Inability to Fulfill Hosting Responsibilities
    1. The hosting university is responsible for effectively planning, obtaining funding for and executing the conference in the designated thirty-day time range determined in their proposal. (please refer to section 5.b.v.).
    2. In the event that a chosen institutional host is unable to fulfill its responsibilities of effectively planning, obtaining funding for and executing the national conference, they are required to notify the Canadian Student Bioethics Initiative as soon as possible and at least one year in advance of the proposed date.
    3. Alternative hosts will be determined by a meeting administered by the Canadian Student Bioethics Initiative.

Appendix A: Past National Undergraduate Bioethics Conferences

United States

  1. Princeton University, 1999
  2. University of Virginia, 2000
    (keynote address text, not the official conference website)
  3. University of Notre Dame, 2001 (Spring)
  4. Emory University, 2001 (Fall)
  5. Boston University, 2002
  6. Texas A&M University, 2003
  7. University of Michigan, 2004
  8. University of Pennsylvania, 2005 (upcoming)


  1. St. Francis Xavier University, 2003
  2. University of Toronto, 2005 (upcoming)