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Progressive Palaeontology 2020 - Online: Abstracts and presentations

Year: 2020
Location: Online
Hosted By: University of Leeds
Organised By: Bethany Allen, Andrew Mair, Adam Woodhouse, Grace Lamyman, Frances Procter, Connor O’Keefe, Ailsa Roper, Karolina Zarzyczny, Owain Fletcher Williams, Ellie Heaton, Polly Spruce
General Contact Email:

Abstracts and presentations

ProgPal 2020 abstract booklet now available to download: 

Abstract submission

In order to allow as many delegates as possible to get the opportunity of presenting, abstract submissions for ProgPal are limited to one per delegate.

Abstracts should be submitted through the Palaeontological Association online submission form, available after registering for the conference. After registering as a delegate you will receive an automated email containing a unique weblink (at the bottom of email) - please use this to access the abstract submission form.

Submissions must include:

  • Title
  • Authors and affiliations
  • Abstract text (max. 250 words)
  • Indication of preference for Full Talk, Lightning Talk or Poster presentation
  • Whether/when you have presented at ProgPal before
  • Career stage (e.g. Masters, 1st Year PhD, 2nd Year PhD, etc.)

Full Talks will be 12 minutes in length, while Lightning Talks will be 4 minutes. Posters should be up to A0 in size, in either portrait or landscape orientation.

Abstract assessment

Previous ProgPal schedules have allowed for 15-20 each of Full and Lightning talks, and 30-40 posters. Given the unconventional nature of this year’s conference, we intend to accept a similar number of presentations, but this is subject to change in response to the number of abstracts we receive, the amount of work this represents for our committee, and maintaining a balance of presentation formats.

Should the organising committee receive more abstract submissions for full talks, lightning talks and poster presentations than they can facilitate, abstracts will be assessed on the extent to which they clearly communicate the aims, methods, results and conclusions of the work to be presented, and the clarity of the rationale and scientific significance.

The process for abstract acceptance will be as follows:

    • Abstracts will be anonymised before being distributed to a set number of people from the organising committee. Each person will then score the abstracts with respect to clear articulation of the aims (0-3), methods (0-3), results (0-3), conclusions (0-3) and scientific significance (0-3), as well as overall clarity to a non-specialist (0-3).
    • Average scores will be calculated for each abstract, and they will be ranked. Those scoring most highly will receive their preferred presentation format, continuing down the list until all available slots are filled.
    • In the likely event that scores are tied for Full Talks, preference will be given to a) abstracts on topics which are otherwise under-represented at the conference, and b) 2nd, 3rd and 4th Year PhD students who have not previously presented a Full Talk.

We want to stress that we encourage delegates to submit an abstract for the type of presentation they wish to give, and that each has its own merits. However, delegates should be aware that career stage is a criterion which will be used to separate equal-scoring abstracts if necessary.

Presentation formats

Upon abstract acceptance, talks will need to be recorded and sent to us ready to be uploaded to the PalAss YouTube channel. Videos should visually constitute what would normally be seen on a projector screen, alongside an audio recording of your oral presentation. Instructions on how to do this in Microsoft PowerPoint can be found via  the Microsoft office website (try “Record a slide show with narration and slide timings” and “Turn your presentation into a video”). Please be mindful of keeping your video to the allotted length of your talk (12 minutes for a Full Talk, 4 minutes for a Lightning Talk): be warned that we will trim it if necessary! You should save your video in a format which is accepted by YouTube - .mov, .mp4, .avi and .wmv are common acceptable formats. We've uploaded an example lightning talk to the PalAss Youtube channel, which also introduces you to our committee:

Posters should be up to A0 in size, in either portrait or landscape format. Please send them to us as a PDF file. Posters will be available to view through a password-protected portal on the PalAss website.

We will provide instructions on how to send us your presentation following abstract acceptance.

Research presentations will be available for the full duration of the conference. Live Q&A sessions will be scheduled during which presenters can be asked questions about their work. The format and timing of these sessions will be detailed in due course.


    • Abstract deadline 5:00pm BST Wednesday 29th April 2020
    • Decisions on abstracts circulated to delegates by 5:00pm BST Friday 8th May 2020
    • Registration closes 5:00pm BST Wednesday 3rd June 2020
    • Research presentation upload deadline 5:00pm BST Wednesday 3rd June 2020


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