Participants are invited to submit abstracts for oral presentations (now closed) or posters. When submitting, be aware of the broad background and expertise of the target audience.

Call for abstracts is closed


NWO Life2021 has its live programme on the afternoons of 26, 27, and 28 May. On top of that, our platform will be open for participants the week from 25 May until 28 May as well as for another month afterwards. As long as the platform is open, participants will be able to have a look at the content including the (pre-recorded) oral presentations and posters that will be selected out of the submissions from the call for abstracts.

Three poster prizes will be awarded to junior poster presenters (Master students, PhD’s and postdocs).

Life2021 hosts 5 tracks:

Track 1: Biology of Molecules, Cells and Tissues; ‘Biomolecular networks within and between cells’

Track 2: From Genes to Organisms; ‘Genome regulation: how tissues and organisms form and survive’

Track 3: Organisms in their Environment; ‘Interactions with the environment: for better and for worse’

Track 4: Life and Planet; ‘Networks within and between ecosystems’

Track 5: Advanced Methods, Data and Analyses to understand Living systems; ‘Connecting the dots: novel approaches in biological measurement and analysis’


Tips for an attractive scientific poster

A poster is a great way to communicate your work and interact with other researchers. An attractive poster can help you with this! Below we will give you five tips for a scientific poster design.  Apart from a great design it is important to keep in mind who your audience is. NWO Life2021 is a broad life sciences conference and not all participants are aware of the ins and outs of your specific field. When designing your poster, try to think about whether someone from another research field will be able to understand your poster. This can increase the interactions you will have with other researchers when presenting your poster!

Format requirements

Posters for NWO Life2021 should be in a portrait orientation and should be uploaded as PDF. For those visiting your poster on the platform, we ask you to also upload an accompanying audio clip of 1 minute maximum (MP3 or m4a). If you want to include the NWO logo, you can find our new logo here.

Best practices for designing a poster

There are a few ‘best practices’ when it comes to designing a poster that can increase its effectiveness for communicating your research. Proper design therefore helps to draw people into your story and explain your research.

  • Readability

Posters should be readable. When people are admiring your work its text and figures should not be too small. For example, your title needs to leave an impact, so think of using an appreciably bigger font size. In contrast, use smaller font sizes than the regular body text of the poster for all the ‘administrative sections’, such as the affiliations, acknowledgments and references. Also think of contrast; dark-coloured letters on a light background are often easier to read than light-coloured letters on a dark background (same goes for photos used as a background). TEXT IN CAPITALS IS LESS-EASY TO READ than a regular font. Here is our lifehack to check the readability of your poster: print your A0-sized poster on an A4-sized sheet of paper. At this scale all your body text and caption should be readable; if it’s not, your font size is too small.

  • Text and word count

A poster is a presentation form, but think of it more in terms of an illustrated abstract. It is by no means meant to be the equivalent of a peer-reviewed paper printed on an A0 sheet. The optimum word count for an A0-sized poster lies around 500-600 words (or less). Therefore, the challenge is to design a poster that has enough information for a reader to understand and enjoy your work without needing you there (e.g. when you are away on a coffee break); while you can also use the poster to illustrate and discuss your work when interacting with someone directly during the poster session (i.e. actually presenting with your poster).

  • Structure and layout

Help your audience in reading your poster. Use a recognizable structure and flow of the story. Provide context for the work that you present and include a clear conclusion/take-home message. So, use a design that helps to tell the story. For example, (1.) apply numbering to your sections, or (2.) be creative in using colours or other means that show the connectivity of text, figures or different sections on the poster. Condense your information into powerful phrases; use bulleted lists as opposed to lengthy sentences, or full paragraphs. In a block of text, sentences broken off at ~10 words contribute to its readability. Also pay attention to aligning text blocks and figures and leave some breathing space around your text and figures. Make sure the poster doesn’t look cluttered.

  • Figures

When including figures on a poster, note that a figure for a poster needs to be a bit more ‘robust’ and readable than the ones you design for a scientific peer-reviewed paper (e.g. thicker lines, lower complexity). It’s a philosophy comparable to the readability of the poster with respect to font sizes. Also, figures need to be self-explanatory. If you are not standing near your poster, a reader should still be able to make out what the figure conveys.

  • Creativity and interactivity

Go wild, be creative! Make your poster stand out among the many other posters at our conference. However, try to be methodical about this and don’t let it be at the expense of the scientific content of your poster. Avoid too many base colours in your poster; three tops. Find ways to make your poster interactive. Include QR-tags for directing readers with their smartphone to online content such as a video of your work, a website or your email address to contact you. Gadgets really can help!

Contact NWO via life2021@nwo.nl if you have any questions or encounter problems with the submission.