The European Society
of Human Genetics

Scientific Programme Committee

Scientific Programme Committee

Work of the Scientific Programme Committee

The functions of the SPC are:

  • to design the programme of the ESHG annual meeting. 
  • to nominate and invite speakers
  • to review submitted abstracts, accepting or rejecting them for poster or Electronic-poster presentation and selecting those for oral presentation
  • to select recipients of travel bursaries
  • to chair sessions at the meeting
  • to select winners of Young Scientist Awards
  • to select the person to receive the ESHG Award, the ESHG educational award and the Mendel award.

The Scientific Program Committee (SPC) consists of at least seven persons who are appointed by the Board. These have a term of four years. Membership of the SPC is not renewable for at least one year after the end of a term of office. Currently, the SPC consists of 27 member from 14 European countries.

Professor Joris Veltman, current SPC chair explains how the SPC functions.

Every year we have three face-to-face meetings with the SPC: One in July in the year before the conference, one in March and one during the conference.

In July we evaluate the previous ESHG meeting and think of ways to improve it. Most important during that meeting is that we decide on the invitation of next year’s speakers for our Invited Symposia and Educational Sessions. In 2017, we have more than 80 invited speakers, including the prestigious Mendel lecturer and the ESHG award lecturer. Presenting the most exciting and relevant new science in our field is the most important task of the SPC, and therefore inviting top scientists to our meeting is crucial. We do try to have a reasonable spread of countries represented and favour European speakers wherever possible, but this is definitely secondary to the quality of the science and the speaker. We also try to make sure there is something for everybody: for clinicians, for people delivering diagnostic services and people doing research. We firmly focus on education and training, and our educational sessions are meant to provide an introduction to the topic whilst providing all attendees with an up to date knowledge of the developments in the particular field. In addition, our workshops are a tool to make the programme more interactive, by allowing the audience to discuss hot topics in research, diagnostics and clinics. In order to cover the different fields and tasks properly, our SPC members have been selected to represent a diverse panel of genetic topics and expertise; from clinical genetics to bioinformatics, single cell sequencing and ethics. Since 2015, we invite our ESHG members to propose speakers online prior to this July meeting. Their suggestions are well appreciated and many of them are incorporated into the programme. 

In October, abstract submission opens for the ESHG, with a deadline in the beginning of February. In 2017, 2404 abstracts were submitted for the Copenhagen meeting. All of these abstracts are scored by a large group of volunteers, consisting of ESHG board members, SPC members and colleagues suggested by the SPC members. Each abstract that is submitted for an oral presentation will be scored by at least 9 reviewers, whereas abstracts submitted for poster sessions will be scored by at least 3 reviewers. As of 2015, abstract scoring is done in a blinded fashion, so the reviewers do not see the authors and their affiliations when evaluating the abstracts.

In March, during the second SPC meeting we evaluate the abstract scoring and select the top abstracts for the highlight session, and other high ranked abstracts for the concurrent sessions. In 2017, a total of 138 out of 2389 submitted abstracts were selected for oral presentations. Most of the remaining abstracts are selected for poster and E-poster presentations. Also we decide on abstracts to be rejected, poster award candidates and ESHG fellowships. For all of this work we get an enormous amount of support from a professional team of conference organizers of the Vienna Medical Academy, most in particular Kristina Libova and Jerome del Picchia.

At the ESHG annual meeting in May or June the SPC members are involved in chairing sessions and in scoring the Young Investigator Award and Poster Award candidates. The third SPC meeting of the year (on the last day of the conference) is then dedicated to the selection of the Young Investigator Award winners.

We very much welcome suggestions and comments of members and attendees. Not every suggestion can be acted on, but each one is welcomed and considered. Please send me or anybody else of the SPC suggestions at any time by email, or approach us at the next ESHG!



Scientific Programme Committee 2019-2020

    Term ends
Joris Veltman, ChairNewcastle, United Kingdom2021
Yasemin AlanayIstanbul, Turkey2021
Nicola Brunetti-PierriPozzuoli, Italy2023
Valerie Cormier-DaireParis, France2021
Jose Luis CostaPorto, Portugal2021
Elfride de BaereGent, Belgium2022
Vita DolzanLjubljana, Slovenia2021
Edward DoveEdinburgh, United Kingdom2022
Francesca Forzano, ObserverLondon, United Kingdom2020
Christian GilissenNijmegen, The Netherlands2023
Martin KircherBerlin, Germany2021
Zoltan KutalikLausanne, Switzerland2023
Maris LaanTartu, Estonia2021
Conxi LazaroToronto, ON, Canada2020
Celine LewisLondon, United Kingdom2022
Cecilia LindgrenOxford, United Kingdom2022
Ramona MoldovanCluj-Napoca, Romania2022
Serena Nik-ZainalCambridge, United Kingdom2023
Carla Oliveira, ObserverPorto, Portugal2020
Matti PirinenHelsinki, Finland2022
Aurora Pujol OnofreBarcelona, Spain2023
Sam RiedijkRotterdam, The Netherlands2020
Michael SpeicherGraz, Austria2020
Malte SpielmannBerlin,Germany2020
Doris SteinemannHannover, Germany2020
Zeynep TümerCopenhagen, Denmark2021
Enza Maria ValenteRome, Italy2020
Thierry VoetHinxton, United Kingdom2020
Bernd WollnikGöttingen, Germany2020
Karin Writzl, ObserverLjubljana, Slovenia2020
Johannes ZschockeInnsbruck, Austria2020


SPC members are appointed for a term of 4 years. SPC-chairs for 2 years renewable and shall automatically remain a member of the SPC for a period of 2 years after the end of chairmanship..  The local society of the country in which the conference takes place, can nominate up to 4 members to join the SPC for the year. Their term automatically ends with the conference. One out of the local members will usually be selected to join the SPC as a regular member.
The Secretary-General and Deputy Secretary-General are ex-officio observers.