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MAS Topical Conference: An Overview

This document provides an overview of an MAS Topical Conference, along with some basic guidelines for prospective organizers.

The Microbeam Analysis Society (MAS) provides a variety of technical programming to further its mission and to benefit its membership, including organizing symposia, tutorials, short courses and pre-meeting workshops at its annual meeting, the co-sponsorship of meetings or symposia of interest to its members that have been organized by other societies, and providing tour speakers for participation at the meetings of its Affiliated Regional Societies, among others.

The MAS Topical Conference

Another form of programming that has become a hallmark of the Society is the MAS Topical Conference (TC). MAS has organized these TCs annually since 2002, and through this experience has developed guidelines for planning and producing successful TCs. These guidelines are maintained by the MAS Topical Conference Committee.

A MAS Topical Conference typically consists of three-day plenary conferences dedicated to a topic of interest to the microanalysis and microscopy community and provides an excellent environment for scientific and technical discussion among students, researchers, and the vendor communities. Recent TCs have included tutorials and laboratory demonstrations of analytical instrumentation coupled with excellent technical programs. Education and student financial support are priorities of the TC program.

What defines an MAS TC?

The terms "MAS Topical Conference" or "MAS TC" are reserved for technical programming which has been:

  1. Proposed, planned, and produced in accordance with the MAS TC Guidelines; and
  2. Approved as an MAS Topical Conference by vote of MAS Council.

A good place to start is a web-based TC Proposal Form found here: it requests a variety of information that prospective TC organizers may wish to address when proposing the TC to MAS Council, and provides a sense of what organizing an MAS TC involves.

When do MAS TCs typically take place?

The preferred times of year for holding an MAS TC are:

  • Spring (late Apr / early May - preferred); and
  • Fall (late Oct / early Nov).

Black out period for MAS TCs is June through September to avoid conflict with Microscopy & Microanalysis (M&M), the MAS annual meeting.

When do I need to get started?

We strongly encourage prospective TC organizers to adopt a planning timeline that begins approximately 15 months in advance of the event. While this may seem early, this time frame allows organizers to meet publication deadlines to advertize the workshop in appropriate technical publications or prospective foreign participants to request foreign travel authorization, as well as the work of devising a logo to brand the TC, the recruitment of sponsors, etc.

The initial proposal can then be submitted for MAS Council consideration two weeks in advance of one of its regular meetings. This deadline falls the year before the TC is to take place nominally in:

  • mid-January for a proposed Spring TC; and
  • mid-July for a proposed Fall TC.

For more information

Please contact the TC Committee Chair to get more information, or with ideas and suggestions for a future TC. MAS is actively planning future TCs, so please make contact early.

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