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Call for EOI - Conference Scientific Program Committee Chair #OTAUS2021

Call for Expressions of Interest - Conference Scientific Program Committee Chair

29th National Conference and Exhibition, 23-25 June 2021

Cairns, Queensland

Closing date: MONDAY 30 SEPTEMBER 2019

The Board of Occupational Therapy Australia is now seeking a call for Nominations/Applications for Chair of the Conference Scientific Program Committee (CSPC) of the Occupational Therapy Australia 29th National Conference and Exhibition (2021).


The OTA National Conference and Exhibition provides unique opportunities for our diverse community of occupational therapy researchers, developers, creators, educators, and practitioners. Our continuing mission is to be the leading/premier occupational therapy conference in the Asia Pacific region. The OTA Conference Scientific Program Committee (CSPC) Chair has a rare opportunity to inspire and lead a talented and deeply committed team of committee volunteers to deliver the Occupational Therapy Australia 29th National Conference and Exhibition 2021.

OTA Conference Scientific Program Chair works in close conjunction with the Conference Convenor, the OTA Conference Events team, the appointed Conference Organising Committee (OC) and Conference Scientific Program Committee (CSPC).

Conference Scientific Program Chair

Time Commitment

This role normally begins approximately 18 months (i.e. commencing around early December 2019) before the conference and continues for two months after the conference to contribute to the final report that is presented to The Board. The Scientific Program Chair should have the capacity to provide approximately 4 hours / week for 18 months; during the period of establishing the conference program, the Scientific Program Chair should have the capacity to spend up to 16 hours / week for up to 4 weeks during November 2020 for the draft compilation of the scientific program. This includes a two-day meeting in the Melbourne office.

There is no expectation that the Scientific Program Chair will automatically fulfil the Conference Convenor role.

Strategic Vision

To ensure the delivery of a diverse evidence based scientific program, maximising professional development opportunities for Australian occupational therapists and leading to excellence in professional practice.

Specific Responsibilities

The following list is a "high-level" view of the specific responsibilities associated with serving as the Conference Scientific Program Committee Chair.

Managerial Responsibilities

  • Responsible for developing the EOI’s for the Conference Scientific Program Committee (CSPC) and select and appoint CSPC members
  • Attend and chair the CSPC meetings, inclusive of a two-day face to face meeting in Melbourne.
  • Contribute to all scheduled Conference Organising Committee teleconference meetings
  • Responsible for shortlisting keynote speakers with the scientific program committee (shortlisting only, selection remains the responsibility of the Conference Convenor along with The Board)
  • Responsible for shortlisting invited speakers with the scientific program committee
  • Oversee the Call for Papers process; this could include facilitating a webinar on writing abstracts.
  • Oversee the Abstract Mentoring Program
  • Oversee reviewing of abstracts; this will include facilitating a webinar with CSPC to discuss rating criteria.
  • Provide advice to the Conference Scientific Program Committee (CPSC) and Organising Committee (OC) regarding the sorting and review of abstracts, development of streams leading to the development of a conference program.  
  • Oversee scientific program development
  • Oversee scoring for prizes and awards
  • Oversee program changes and updates
  • Conduct a briefing time with the Conference Convenor and non-OT keynote and invited speakers to discuss objectives for their presentation and perhaps ways to tie this in with the Conference theme. 
  • Responsible for scoring abstract conflicts as needed, correcting program changes and managing program updates in accordance with the critical pathway.
  • Liaising with the OTA conference events team for recruiting and managing volunteer chairs for all of the conference sessions of the OTA 2021 National Conference.
  • Coordinate the evaluation of the processes used by the Conference Scientific Program Committee to achieve continuous improvement.   
  • Contribute to the planning and evaluation of the Occupational Therapy Australia National Conference as a member of the Conference Organising Committee.
  • Responsible for coordinating members of the CSPC to oversee and develop particular area/s of program planning, these areas include but not limited to:
  • Education Day, Call for Papers, Abstract Mentoring, ePosters, Occupation Stations, Workshops/Panels sessions and any other new program initiatives

Fiscal Responsibilities

  • Work with the Conference Convenor to ensure invitations to speak fit in with the budgeted travel and operating expenses.


  • Contribute to the development of OTA conference policies and procedures as requested.
  • Facilitate and participate in timely communication with all committees to provide direction and solve problems.
  • Liaise with Scientific program committee to identify abstracts of interest to the media and advise Conference Events team of suggestions
  • Assist Conference Events team in highlighting topics and papers which could market the conference to different attendee interests.
  • Represent the OTA conference to other organisations, the media, and the public-at-large.

Selection Criteria


  • Conference Scientific Program Chair must hold current membership with Occupational Therapy Australia throughout the duration of their conference planning cycle.
  • Conference Scientific Program Chair must hold a PhD or demonstrated equivalent research experience (e.g. publication track record)
  • Experience in and current knowledge of convening a conference or other large professional development event.
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently and perform effectively as part of a team. 
  • Demonstrated high standard of oral and written communication skills, time management, and organisational skills to ensure effective teamwork.
  • Ability to attend monthly teleconference meetings, and spend substantial time in late 2020/early 2021 to complete the scientific program.
  • Able and willing to devote the necessary amount of time to do the job; have solid support from both their employer and family and able to attend the full Conference.


  • Conversant with the issues facing occupational therapists and the profession in Australia
  • Previous experience as a Scientific Chair for a conference
  • Attended international conferences
  • Connected to an established network of individuals within the occupational therapy profession in Australia

Application Procedure       

All nominations are considered by the CEO and Board. To be nominated, the candidate should send the following items (as Word files) by email to Samantha Hunter (conference2021@otaus.com.au) with reference: EOI 2021 Conference Scientific Chair nomination:

  • A cover letter addressed to the Occupational Therapy Australia CEO, Samantha Hunter
  • The selection criteria
  • The nominee’s summary CV (max. 2 x A4 pages) including contact details for two referees

Closing Date: MONDAY 30 SEPTEMBER 2019.

It is not mandatory that individuals meet every desirable qualification to be eligible for the position of Chair and interested persons who do not meet all qualifications are encouraged to discuss their interest with OTA.

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