Paul Embrechts Diepenbeek, February 1986
In organizing a sequence of meetings: Wiltshire (1978), Bressanone (1981), Leuven (1985), Varna (1985), in which young researchers from all over Europe come together, a number of traditions and experiences with the arrangements of these Meetings have accumulated. It is the purpose of these notes to make these experiences more widely available as potential guidelines to future organizers. I very much would like to stress that these points for a personal view, however they are all based on comments, advice and experiences gained at these meetings and delivered to me via a wide variety of people interested in the future of these gatherings.
The European Young Statisticians Meeting are held every two years (normally for a week during the period of half of August till the end of September). It is desirable to avoid any clash in time with other major meetings to be held in Europe during this period.
Although in some case the planning of future meetings involves more than 2 years of preparation, it is advisable that a broad basis for consultation on the future venue is available. If possible, the International Organizing Committee (IOC) at meeting n-1 should take a final decision on the venue for the meeting n.
At every meeting, the IOC for the next meeting is formed on the basis of genuine interest, geographical location, ... Members of the next IOC don't have to (and indeed preferably shouldn't) be drawn from the previous meetings' participants. It is however advisable to invite the organizer of meeting n-1 as a member of the IOC of meeting n. This to safeguard a minimum of continuation.
2. The notion of "Young Statistician"
The idea of the meeting is to provide young researchers, perhaps just started in, or about to enter post-doctoral positions (and reasonably committed to remaining in research), an introduction to the international scene within the broad subject area. It is within this spirit to be rather rigid about the age of participants.
The original definition of young, i.e. LESS THAN 30 YEARS OF AGE OR 2 TO 8 YEARS OF RESEARCH EXPERIENCE still seems flexible enough to accommodate most of the different systems of education in the various European countries. It is up to the members of the international organizing committee to ensure that, for their respective countries, an honest choice in the spirit of the above definition is made. In all cases should preference be given to first time participants. It is to be avoided that a small group imposes its personal preference on whom to invite and what scientific topics to be treated. Therefore it is advisable to ensure widespread information on the existence and format of these meetings, including announcements in the ISI newsletter. This, together with consultations of more senior members in the Bernoulli Society about appropriate candidates as potential participants should safeguard the original idea of a Young Statisticians Meeting.
It would be possible to increase the number of participants by for instance opening the meeting to participants from outside Europe. However, it is impossible to keep to the original idea of NO parallel sessions and everybody attending ALL lectures if more than sixty (say) researchers participate. In any such event, the IOC should think very carefully about the consequences.
Every member of the IOC is responsible for inviting certain number of young researchers from those countries for which he/she is responsible. Any invitation should be based upon wide consultation within those countries! The final decision always rests with the IOC and the local organizers.
3. The form of the European Young Statisticians Meeting
In its established form, a EYSM meeting runs from a Monday morning till the afternoon of the following Friday. All participants are chosen by invitation according to the above rule an in a uniformly distributed way (as much as possible) from all European Countries. Past experience has thought us, that roughly fifty participants is about right. It is up to the IOC to ensure that a fairly representative sample from young, European researchers, whose scientific research interests in stochastic range from pure probability theory to applied statistics, is invited. I would like to stress that every participant is expected to give a 20 minutes talk introducing his/her research field to a wide audience. An abstract of up to five printed pages should contain basic references for further study. The success of the meetings very much depends on the clear and introductory level of the talks given: all participants participate in all talks (hence NO parallel sessions).
Besides the talks there should be ample of time for informal discussions so that people can meet at leisure and as such a basis for future scientific collaboration will be formed. For this to materialize, it is very important that the right venue for these meetings to be held at is chosen. A separate building where the lectures are held together with the presence of sleeping and eating facilities for ALL participants is ideal.
4. Final Comments
It is to be stressed that both financially as well as scientifically these meetings are organized by young statisticians for young statisticians. This implies that it is entirely the responsibility of the local organizers to provide the necessary financial support.
The IOC is ultimately responsible for the scientific program and the appropriateness of the invited participants.
If the meeting is organized in a Western-European country, then financial means should be provided to pay for all the local expenses of at least fifteen participants from Eastern Europe. It is normally understood that the latter participants have their travel paid by their home country. The local organizers should do their utmost to ensure that expenses for participants are kept to an absolute minimum. i.e. no registration fee, free abstract booklet, cheap accommodation and meals, preferable free social program. The local organizers can always consider the provision of remunerations or economic support in exceptional cases not covered above.
The Bernoulli Society allows these meetings to use its name as an official flag and as such the Bernoulli Society is the patron of the European Young Statisticians Meeting. It has, however, from the beginning been clear that the responsibility for the organization lies with the individual IOC. It is important that this tradition is preserved.