Open Science Meeting 2019: Transforming Land Systems for People and Nature

Call for Session proposals

Join us for the 4th Open Science Meeting of the Global Land Programme.

April 24-26, 2019
Bern, Switzerland

Download a PDF of the Call for Session proposals


Land use is key for achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in an increasingly threatened global environment. Should land system science produce a unifying vision for the planet? How do global narratives for use of land correspond to what people want when striving for access to land across diverse and distinctive regions? How can we support transformations that mutually reinforce global sustainability visions and goals, and people’s aspirations and needs?  

Land system science scholars will be confronting such questions at the fourth Open Science Meeting of the Global Land Programme (GLP 4th OSM 2019). It will be held from the 24-26 of April 2019 in Bern, Switzerland and will focus on topics and themes that aim to advance our understanding of how land systems can form the basis for sustainability transformations.

The land system science community is organized within the Global Land Programme (GLP), a Global Research Project of the Future Earth initiative. GLP is an interdisciplinary community of science and practice fostering the study of land systems and the co-design of solutions for global sustainability and represents the largest international research network in this field.

This conference represents a unique opportunity to build and enhance scientific capacity and enable transformations to a sustainable future by identifying core questions, synthesizing research, and setting future agendas.  Conference attendees will strive to develop connections between researchers and stakeholders from civil society, government, and the private sector, and to bridge science and decision-making for sustainable management and governance of land use worldwide.

We now invite session proposals that represent relevant and innovative research in land systems science within the three following main conference themes:

1. What are the visions for the planetary land system? Land as the nexus for addressing global challenges

Understanding land systems is key to addressing many complex threats facing the planet. This theme will focus on land systems science insights into complex human-natural system problems in the Anthropocene such as climate change, food security, and conservation of biodiversity. Questions and insights arising from integrated assessment, scenario research, geospatial analysis, earth system science and modelling as well as research focused on telecoupled systems and social and environmental impacts will help to build common understanding of land systems science as a nexus for developing global solutions. We encourage critical discussions on bold large-scale approaches that propose optimal visions including bioenergy transitions and land-based negative emissions, and rewilding visions such as Half-Earth.

2. What do people want from land? Navigating the trade-offs and fostering synergies in land systems.

Solutions to global challenges will only be viable when they are designed to meet the needs and value the priorities of peoples and communities. This theme will focus on taking into account the multiple goals, values, norms and functions that people assign to land, how they actually manage land systems, what solutions they are building, and who decides what to do with land. We encourage sessions that will explore how issues of land tenure, conflicts and power, nature and health, co-production of ecosystem services and agrobiodiversity, food systems and livelihoods, human mobility and migration, multifunctional land uses, large-scale land acquisitions, soil degradation and landscape restoration, among others can be articulated into local and global narratives that are safe and just. 

3. How do we support transformation? New frontiers in studying and governing land systems

Land system transformations in response to global challenges are already underway. The science community addresses such transformations in part by working to understand changes and evaluating their contribution to global sustainability transitions. Such approaches include techniques such as remote sensing, agent-based modelling, crowd-sourcing, and “Big Data.” Others are advancing the science of measuring economic, social and legal aspects of land system change or studying the territorial and flow-based governance of social-environmental systems, such as land reforms, land use planning, or supply-chains governance. Engagement with stakeholders can involve participatory research methods building on indigenous knowledge, ethnographies, and other qualitative analysis. Recent normative science includes the co-production of knowledge, and policy and program evaluation. We welcome contributions on the application of these tools to manage global challenges and support an equitable and productive future.

Session Formats

The conference will use various session formats to confront these challenges including presentations of the latest research findings, identification of new challenges emerging from the science, stakeholder engagement opportunities, and learning through immersive and integrative formats. The conference will feature plenary keynotes, parallel-keynote sessions, research presentation sessions, innovative and immersive sessions, short training and workshop sessions, and poster sessions. The Science Committee will balance session proposals received across the different formats to ensure a dynamic, interactive meeting.

Sessions are 1 hour and 30 minutes each. Participants are invited to submit session proposals under one of the formats listed below. Based on the selected session proposals a call for abstracts will be launched. We also welcome proposals for innovative formats not listed below, with pre-approval from the Science Committee (please contact Patrick Meyfroidt

1. Research presentation sessions

  • Research sessions provide an opportunity for individual scientists to present recent findings of relevance to the conference themes. These sessions are 1.5 hours and will generally be comprised of five 15-minute presentations (12 minute talks + 3 minutes for Q&A) on related topics.
  • Session proposers should identify and confirm 2-3 presenters in the proposal and ensure that, when abstract submission is open, these presenters submit their abstract. All abstract submissions are subject to review by the Science Committee.
  • The remaining slots will be allocated by the Science Committee based on submitted abstracts. Special consideration will be given to early career research contributions.
  • 10 minutes of each session should be reserved for a general introduction, synthesis or overall discussion led by the session chair or an invited stakeholder.
  • Based on the number of sessions and abstract submissions, some sessions may be requested to accommodate more than 5 talks with shorter time allotted to each presenter (i.e., “flash talk” sessions).

2. Innovative and Immersive Sessions:

  • We encourage ideas for creative, innovative and experimental sessions during the conference lasting 1.5 to 2 hours. Innovative sessions are nontraditional conference sessions such as roundtable discussions with stakeholder participation (including policy-makers, non-governmental organizations, private sector representatives); panel presentations with opportunities for audience participation; World Café or other forms of open, interactive discussions; video, documentaries, photo, music and creative research communication formats; and games and crowdsourcing exercises.
  • The session proposal should include the scientific rationales for the session as well as a description of the proposed format. 
  • Other formats are welcome - be creative and do not feel limited by these examples!

3. Short trainings and workshops

  • Short training and workshop sessions of 1.5 hours can be proposed to provide an educational opportunity on a specific topic such as a model, research approach and methods, or policy tool.
  • Half or all-day post-conference workshop proposals may be submitted to be held on Saturday, April 27th.

Session selection criteria

The sessions will be selected by the Science Committee, using the following criteria:

  1. Scientific quality and societal relevance
  2. Relevance to conference themes
  3. Anticipated interest of participants in the sessions.
  4. Overall quality of the proposed session and innovative format.

Session proposal format:

  • Title
  • Session Organizers
  • Session Description (maximum of 300 words)
  • Names of confirmed presenters

IMPORTANT: To allow as many participants as possible to take active part in the conference only one oral presentation per participant is allowed (as presenting author). This rule will be strictly enforced, with accepted presentation being cancelled if the presenting author does not register. Participants are allowed to provide an oral presentation while at the same time being part of an interactive and immersive session.

Key Dates

Session submission deadline: August 20th, 2018
Abstract submission opens: September 15th, 2018
Abstract submission deadline: October 30th, 2018
Abstract acceptance notification: December 15th, 2018

Important Links and Contact Information

To get started, please create an account and submit your session proposal using CONFTOOL, and read carefully the submission instructions provided there:

For contact information, please visit the conference website:

Please contact conference staff with any questions at:

We look forward to seeing the land system science community gather for this thrilling event.

On behalf of the Science Committee of the GLP OSM 2019,

Patrick Meyfroidt (Chair of the Science Committee)
Navin Ramankutty (co-Chair, focal point for Question 1)
Allison Thomson (co-Chair, focal point for Question 2)
Darla Munroe (co-Chair, focal point for Question 3)
Ariane de Bremond
Jinwei Dong 
Ricardo Grau 
Patrick Hostert
Esteban Jobbagy
Peter Messerli
Graciela Metternicht 
Daniel Mueller
Jonas Nielsen 
Unai Pascual
Casey Ryan
Rinku Roy Chowdhury 
Peter Verburg 
Gete Zeleke