Program Chair Toolbox

Abstracts on CD-ROM

Abstracts on CD-ROM have replaced hard-copy abstract books. The CD-ROMs are sold through the meeting registration system and on-site during the national meeting. Orders may be placed for past ACS national meetings or standing orders for future meetings. Contact ACS Office of Society Services at (800) 227-5558.

Abstract Separates

Divisions may prepare abstract books separately for distribution to their division members. Divisions distribute separates to the division members as a benefit of membership.


Abstracts are submitted through the PACS system by authors who want to present at a national meeting. Abstracts should be approximately 250 words in length. The ACS Bylaws require only that the title and author name(s) appear in the official program. However, most divisions require an abstract in order to be accepted into the program. Four divisions (FUEL, PETR, PMSE, and POLY) require preprints for acceptance.


The current method of calculating a return to the divisions for programming at the national meeting is:

  • 40% based on the number of people attending oral sessions at national meetings, determined from the attendance sheets submitted by the session chair for a Divisions' technical sessions.
  • 30% based on the Divisions' success in attracting member-registrants to national meetings.
  • 20% for poster papers - to encourage use of this medium.
  • 10% for exposition attendance by Division members.

For the 2007 allocation, the base payment to each Division is $4,000.00/Division, plus $1.60 for each paid member and paid National Affiliate of the Division as of December 31 of the second preceding year. This formula is under evaluation by DAC.

Audio Visual Equipment

Audio Visual Equipment The standard tech set for oral sessions includes an LCD projector, screen, laser pointer, and microphone. ACS does not currently provide a computer in each room. Laptops are normally provided by the speakers themselves or the session organizer. Special equipment requests must be approved by the program chair in order to be billed back to the division.

Awards, Divisions

Many divisions have their own awards that are distinct from the ACS National Awards. See a list of the current awards offered by each division.

Awards, National

The ACS national awards are administered by ACS. The national award winner may choose the division program in which the award address will be given unless the award itself specifies a specific division. Award addresses, with few exceptions, are given at the Spring National Meeting.

Business Meetings

Most Divisions hold one or more business meetings during ACS national meetings. Divisions are encouraged, if feasible, to hold their business meetings at the end of one of their technical sessions to help lower the demand for meeting room space. If a separate meeting room is required, then the room request can be made to ACS meetings. See Event Coordinator Resources for ACS National Meetings to find out how to make a meeting room request.

Bylaw VI, Section 6(c)

c) No paper by a chemical scientist residing in the United States who is not a member of the SOCIETY shall appear on the program of a national, regional, divisional, or other major meeting of the SOCIETY unless it be a joint paper with one or more SOCIETY members, or unless for a national, regional, or national-divisional meeting the author has been invited to present the paper at a symposium organized by a Division of the SOCIETY or by Sections of the SOCIETY, and the chairman of such Division or of the host Section has certified to the Executive Director of the SOCIETY prior to the publication of the program that presentation by the author of such paper is important to the success of the symposium. (1- 1-82)

Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN)

The weekly magazine is distributed to all ACS members.

Call for Papers

Call for Papers for national meetings normally publishes in February and August issues of C&EN, approximately 9 months prior to each national meeting. The Call for Papers lists the symposia titles, organizers, and the deadlines set by each division for abstract submittal.


The Division Officers’ and Councilors’ Caucuses are informal gatherings of past and present Division officers and councilors on the Tuesday afternoon at each national meeting. The purpose of the Caucus is to provide a forum for informal discussion of mutual concerns to the Divisions, as contrasted with (and sometimes leading to) the opportunities for formal consideration and action within the governance structure of the Society. All Division officers and councilors are encouraged to participate in these meetings.

Check Cashing for Speaker Reimbursements

Arrangements can be made for speakers to cash a division’s travel check with the ACS Finance Office during the meeting. A request for the names of the speakers and dollar amounts should be sent to the division Treasurer before each meeting. The Treasurer should then let the ACS Finance Office (Neil Pal, know the approximate total in order to have the cash on hand during the meeting. For each national meeting, the Finance Office is located in the registration area at the convention center.

Committee on Divisional Activities (DAC)

The Divisional Activities Committee (DAC) is a standing committee of the ACS Council. DAC oversees and coordinates Division activities, recommends policies affecting Divisions, and promotes positive interactions among Divisions with other ACS units.

Committee on Meetings & Expositions (M&E)

Committee on Meetings and Expositions (M&E) The Committee on Meetings and Expositions (M&E) is a standing committee of the ACS Council. M&E studies policies and problems relating to meetings and expositions and makes recommendations to Council for discussion and approval.

Committee on Science (COMSCI)

The Committee on Science (COMSCI) is a Joint Board-Council Committee that provides an organizational framework to facilitate policy formation, action, and planning in several areas of ACS activity directly related to the science of chemistry. COMSCI regularly programs symposia at the ACS national meetings.

Communicating with Symposium Organizers

All symposium organizers should have a valid email address. The program chairs, ACS staff, and abstract authors regularly communicate the symposium organizers via email.

Contributed Papers

Contributed papers are non-solicited abstracts submitted to a symposium in response to the Call for Papers.


Cosponsorships occur at national meetings in two ways.

  • Cosponsorships frequently occur when two or more divisions, committees, or secretariats, share the organizational work and/or financial responsibility and benefits of planning a program. One of the groups is the primary sponsor, which has the full session listing in its program. ACS Divisions and committees are no longer required to have a formal written agreement among the parties for this type of cosponsorship. However, all groups must agree before-hand who is the primary sponsor, and if there are any financial obligations. It is highly recommended that the cosponsoring parties draw up a written agreement, especially if there are any financial implications.
  • Cosponsorships may also occur with other national and international scientific and technical societies. This type of cosponsorship must be carefully documented with the ACS Office of the Secretary in accordance with the ACS Bylaws. Find the proper procedures to follow with this type of cosponsorship.

Cosponsorships, Cooperative

A cosponsorship between two divisions that involve money or in-kind work

Cosponsorships, Nominal

A cosponsorship between two divisions that is a symposium of interest to another division or committee

Crosslisted Symposia

Crosslisted symposia are select symposia in other programs that a division or committee wishes to highlight for its members. The highlighted symposia are entered into the graybox material in the final program.

Even Programming

The Even Programming Policy optimizes the use of meeting room space at national meetings while minimizing the number of parallel-programmed sessions.

Event Management System

The National Meetings department uses the Event Management System, EMS, to manage all national meeting events. EMS has a Web component, Virtual EMS, which division officers use to submit their meeting room requests over the Internet.

Final Program

In 1998, the Board of Directors identified the web-based electronic version of a national meeting program as the official version of the technical program. The Web version is made available at the same time as the preliminary program publishes in C&EN.

Guidelines for Symposium Organizers

Find the guidelines and procedures for using PACS.

Handbook for Speakers, Bulletin 8

Find the guidelines for speakers.

Invited Papers

Invited papers are explicitly invited by the program chair or symposium organizer to be submitted for a national meeting. It is up to the division to sponsor the speaker's registration fee or not.

Locating a Past Meeting Papers

See the national meeting archive for past national meeting programs.

Location Preference Request

Program chairs are requested to fill out a Location Preference Request form provided in PACS to indicate which divisions they prefer to be near during the national meeting.

PACS – Program and Abstract Creation System

See the PACS abstract system for abstract submission and Program chairs and symposium organizers access.

Online Technical Program

The online technical program is the “official” program of the national meeting. The online technical program is updated regularly before and throughout the meeting as papers are withdrawn.

Poster Presentations

Each horizontal poster board measures 4 feet high x 6 feet wide (including frame). All presentations must be confined to poster board itself. Computer display equipment, sound or projection equipment, freestanding or three-dimensional displays, demonstrations/experiments, or tables for handout materials are not permitted in the poster session.

Preliminary Program

The preliminary program published in C&EN and onsite program contains two sections. A general section listing social events and committee meetings, and information on registration and housing. The technical summary portion is a grid summarizing the symposia dates and locations.


Four divisions (FUEL, PMSE, PETR, and POLY) require preprints be submitted along with the abstracts. Preprints are essentially full papers that go into greater detail than can be provided by the abstract. Each of these divisions have their own procedures and guidelines (templates) for submitting preprints. FUEL, PMSE, PETR, and POLY use the ACS Preprint Server and PACS to submit their preprints. These preprints are made available over the Web to the division's membership through ACS Publications is working with these divisions to make the collective preprints available to libraries.


Sci-Mix is a general poster session, traditionally held on the Monday evening of the national meeting. Program chairs select the posters from their division that represent the best and most interesting that the division has to offer. The number of posters in Sci-Mix must conform to the following rule: a maximum of 20 posters per division or 10% of the total number of papers for the division, whichever is larger.

Secretariat, Formation and Dissolution

A Secretariat is an informal association of ACS Divisions formed to coordinate long-range programming at ACS National Meetings on a topic or group of topics of mutual interest. A Secretariat is dependent on its constituent Divisions for programming support and finances. It does not have individual Members, receive member-based financial allocations from the Society, or participate in Society governance. It does not at any time interfere with or attempt to supplant the interests of any Division of the Society.

Session Attendance Report Forms

Session Attendance forms are distributed to each technical session at the national meeting. The session chairs are asked to complete the forms and turn them in to the nearest operations office. The form information is then keyed into PACS by ACS staff after the meeting. Program Chairs are then asked to review/edit the report. The session attendance reports are used by ACS to calculate the yearly allotment back to the divisions for participating in the national meeting.

Social Events

Social Events are breakfasts, luncheons, dinners, receptions, and mixers with poster. Social events may be publicized, un-publicized, ticketed, or free. When food and beverage are part of the social event, the event coordinator must guarantee attendance up to 72 hours prior to the event.

Social Events, Ticketed

For ticketed events, tickets are sold through the registration system and onsite during registration. If the final event guarantee has not been met during pre-conference registration, the remaining tickets are given to the event coordinator, who has the option of selling them at the door.

Speaker Guidelines

Get the Handbook for Speakers.

Sponsored Speaker

Sponsored speaker are presenters who have been invited by the division to speak at the national meeting and whose registration fee will be paid by the division.

Sponsored Speaker Registration

Divisions are given access to the Sponsored Speaker Registration site where they may register their sponsored speakers. There is a special one-day registration rate available to non-chemical scientist speakers. ACS members who are sponsored must pay the regular member rate.

Strategic Plan

See Strategic Directions 2007 and Beyond.

Submit an Abstract

Find out how to submit an abstract for each national meeting.


The technical program is composed of symposia, which has a brief title indicating the nature of the presentation. Depending on the number of speakers, each symposium has one or more sessions. Each session contains the presenters for each AM, PM, or EVE period.

Symposium Organizer

One or more people who are responsible for reviewing and scheduling the abstracts submitted to the symposium.

Technical Program of National Meetings

The technical program published in C&EN contains the complete listing of all technical papers organized by divisions and committees. The technical program publishes in C&EN four Mondays prior to the meeting.

Transfer a Paper

Program chairs may transfer papers from one symposium to another within their division up until the final program is due to the ACS. Program chairs may transfer papers from one division to another if the two divisions agree to the transfer and if both divisions are still open for abstract submission.

Withdrawn Papers

Authors may withdraw their paper prior to the national meeting by sending the request to the symposium organizer, program chair, or ACS PACS Admin. Papers withdrawn in PACS prior to the final program deadline will not appear in the printed technical program. Papers withdrawn after the final program deadline will appear in the Web version of the technical program as withdrawn and will retain its original final paper number.