Objective of the Policy

The objective of this policy is to ensure that the any event that carries the ISA name or logo is conducted in a manner that is consistent with the Society’s mission, protects ISA's intellectual properties, tax exempt status, and minimizes ISA liability. Each event should reflect the highest possible level of quality and professionalism, including well-defined objectives and efficient use of ISA’s resources. Events should be scheduled to avoid conflicts with other events and programs serving the automation community. As outlined below, ISA events should be approved by ISA Staff and authorized by the ISA Executive Board.

Types of Events

An ISA event is any meeting, symposium, conference, or exhibit conducted under or utilizing the ISA name and/or logo under the direction of the Society or a Society unit (division, district, or region) that is planned, organized, managed and implemented primarily by the ISA staff, in cooperation with involved members. An ISA section event is one that is held on a periodic basis primarily for the benefit of the ISA members who reside in the section. Section events do not fall under the ISA Events Policy. ISA events are normally open to both members and non-members, although admissions, if any, may differ between members and non-members.

ISA events typically are designed to accomplish one or more the following:

  • support ISA core competencies of standards, education and training, certification, publishing
  • exchange technology
  • promote volunteerism
  • generate income
  • promote the ISA brand
  • offer networking opportunities
  • provide vendors the opportunity to market automation products and services
  • increase ISA membership


A conference is a meeting sponsored or co-sponsored by the Society at which information is presented based on theme(s) or a technology focus. Cooperating societies may be invited to participate when the programming body deems it beneficial to the participants.

ISA units and affiliates will not expand conferences to cover a region or district unless all units within that area agree upon the logistics and distribution of the proceeds. In addition, the ISA Conference and Exhibit Committee should be made aware as soon as possible of the planned conference to reduce potential conflicts.


An ISA symposium is a meeting sponsored or co-sponsored by one or more department or division where information presented is targeted to a specific technical interest.


An exhibit is an event at which vendor products and services are displayed.

ISA units and affiliates will not expand exhibits to cover a region or district unless all units within that area agree upon the logistics and distribution of the proceeds. In addition, the ISA Conference and Exhibit Committee should be made aware as soon as possible of the planned exhibit to reduce potential conflicts.

Training Events

A training event includes course(s) developed and conducted directly through ISA or course(s) developed and conducted by an ISA unit or affiliate.

ISA sections, regions, or districts may develop and conduct training courses within their geographic area without the prior approval of ISA. However, these training courses may not be represented as offered by ISA or use any name or designation that is the same or similar to any ISA training course. [See Intellectual Property Policy INT 3.5]

Collaborative Events

These types of events include joint, co-sponsored, and partnered events where ISA is joined by one or more organizations for the purpose of conducting an event. Multiple Society units may participate. Collaborative events would require an agreement with another organization to conduct an event which uses ISA resources, ISA’s name and/or logo, or ISA’s endorsement in any way. These events should:

  • advance automation technology or the image of the Society
  • be consistent with ISA’s not-for-profit status
  • offer no direct or implied endorsements to commercial organizations or products
  • place no financial burden on ISA, unless approved by the Executive Board

Other organizations invited to cooperate in an event implies the organization will not share in fiscal responsibility, but does indicate significant participation, usually in programming and publicity activities.

Co-sponsored events imply shared fiscal responsibility with another society or organization, and are usually limited to nonprofit educational organizations. All ISA Society units requesting to sponsor, co-sponsor, or partner with another organization must first be approved by ISA Staff and authorized by the ISA Executive Board.

Meetings Co-sponsored or Organized by Other Not-for-Profit Organizations.

A detailed description of the involvement of any ISA unit in a meeting with another organization must be submitted to the ISA Executive Board for approval. The proposal should include, but not be limited to, financial obligations of the Society or the involved Society unit; description of how the ISA name, logo or brand will be used; extent of involvement of any ISA unit in the technical programming; the geographical boundaries of the intended audience; and any other requirements on the Society such as the desired use of any mailing lists. Commitments may not be made nor the proposed event announced in any manner until after approved by ISA Staff and authorized by the ISA Executive Board.

Meetings Co-sponsored or Organized by For-Profit Organizations

ISA’s nonprofit status in the United States and in other countries may be jeopardized by affiliation with for-profit organizations. In general, these affiliations are discouraged. Any ISA unit that is contemplating any type of joint activity with a for-profit organization must be approved by ISA Staff and authorized by the ISA Executive Board. The request for approval must include all the information requested above for not-for-profit organizations plus a copy of the most recent annual report or similar details of the organization’s finances, operations and ownership.

Leaders Meetings

Leaders Meetings are a series of governance and business meetings conducted in conjunction with the Executive Board Meetings. The president is responsible for selection of dates and locations for the meetings. The president will usually make these selections a year in advance in order to allow leaders to plan for their attendance. Meeting dates should be selected to minimize conflict with statutory holidays of countries from which significant participation (typically five or more individuals) is expected. Leaders Meeting should be scheduled to minimize the total time required to conduct the business of the meeting, with the intent of minimizing the total number of days and making maximum use of weekend days.

Event Presentations and Guidelines

Presentation Session

A paper presentation session is a segment of a symposium or conference that usually consists of three to five presentations. The session chair attempts to establish the framework of the session by orienting the audience to the general subject area, providing a brief introduction of each presentation and guiding the discussion periods. Approximately two-thirds of the time allotted for each paper is devoted to subject presentation and one-third reserved for general discussion. Refer to the Technical Publication and Presentation Policy for details regarding documents and presentation materials.

Tutorial Session

In a tutorial session, an industry expert leads a discussion on one topic followed by audience participation. The tutorial focuses on technology and sometimes involves equipment for hands-on activities or demonstrations. (equipment provided by presenter) Manuscripts are not required for tutorials.

Panel Session

In a panel session, five to eight experts discuss significant industry and technology topics. Each panel member may be assigned a specific aspect of the topic to address. Panel members participate in the discussion; the audience observes the panel presentations, discussions and challenges.

Poster Presentation

Poster presentations offer individuals a forum to present partially completed research in a visual format. They are also often used to make brief presentations of applications research and new concepts. Poster presentations are an ideal forum for face-to-face discussions.

Approvals and Clearances for Speakers and Authors

Authors are responsible for obtaining required company and security clearances and approvals. Materials not approved must be omitted from manuscripts by authors.

Expenses for Speakers and Authors

The Society does not pay expenses incurred by authors in connection with paper preparation nor meeting attendance, nor does it provide remuneration for papers published by the Society.


The Society encourages widest dissemination of papers presented at ISA events. Toward this end, the Society may publish the papers in a set of conference or symposium proceedings. If proceedings are not published for an ISA event, ISA may publish the papers in other publications, including ISA periodicals or on ISA’s website. Publication falls under the policies of the ISA Publications Department.

Coordination of Events

Any ISA events, including those described above are best implemented by adhering to the following the instructions which are intended to ensure consistent quality and protect ISA interest.

ISA events typically require the following tasks. These tasks are normally coordinated by the ISA staff:

Technical Program Development

  • printing and distribution of the call for papers
  • coordination of the technical conference development
  • printing and distribution of the preliminary technical program
  • proceedings production, including author kits, session chairperson instructions, reproduction of all papers (print, CD-ROM, etc.), and delivery to the event
  • printing and distribution of the final technical program


  • exhibit space sales
  • floor plan development

Event and Meeting Support

  • planning
  • publicity
  • registration, both advance and onsite
  • technical session support
  • onsite conference support
  • onsite exhibit support

Some of these tasks may be handled by contracted event planners or volunteers when desirable. committees of ISA members will be organized to assist in matters such as soliciting papers, reviewing abstracts, serving as session chairpersons, planning social activities, training courses, and evaluating the success of the event.

Site Selection

The following criteria are used in determining the location of an event.

  • Market – identification by exhibitors, Society unit, Chamber of Commerce statistics, etc.
  • Facilities – sufficient square footage
  • Meeting rooms
  • Hotels – rooms and social function space
  • Cost – facility, attendee shuttle service, other contracted services, etc.
  • Accessibility – airport, ground transportation
  • Attendee and participant activities
  • Labor and Security – experienced services personnel for registration, setup, security, etc.

Use of Intellectual Property

No Society unit may give any organization the right to use the Society name, logo or reputation. Any such requests must be reviewed and approved according to ISA’s policy on intellectual property.


The following are key requirements to ensure consistency and protect ISA interests. Any exceptions to this practice should be reviewed by ISA staff and approved by the Executive Board.

No Society unit may initiate any agreement or contract that may legally or financially bind the Society. All ISA units are required to enlist staff to review and execute any agreements or contracts. However ISA sections may enter into contractual arrangements that obligate the section only.

Volunteers working on behalf of a Society unit are encouraged to consult ISA staff for planning, management, and execution of an event. Adequate lead time (at least 30 days) should be given for staff to investigate options and negotiate contractual agreements to meet the needs of the particular event. The staff will make its best efforts to complete all reviews within the required time. If a review cannot be completed within the time required, the staff will inform the Society unit and explain any delays.

All contracts should be in writing and should be mutually binding on both the Society and the other party. Oral agreements should be avoided. Oral agreements can be as binding as written agreements, but misunderstandings frequently arise and enforcement is more difficult. All communications or negotiations with the other party should clearly indicate that no contract exists as a result of communication.

All contracts with facilities and suppliers should have cancellation clauses allowing the Society to cancel without liability on or before a specified date. They also should allow cancellation without additional liability if circumstances beyond the control of the party seeking to be excused prevent further performance of the agreement.

Once the written agreement is executed, any subsequent changes also should be in writing only.

Hotels and vendors should be willing to indemnify the Society for any claims which may arise from the provision of their services, and clauses to that effect should be included in the contract.

Every contract should provide contingencies in the event of default by either party. These contingencies will vary depending on the nature of the contract. 

Event Evaluation

For continuous improvement, it is important that the volunteers and the attendees of each event evaluate the ISA event. Evaluation data will be maintained for a reasonable period so it can be used to inform the Executive Board and volunteers of the success or failures of past events. By thoroughly evaluating all events, future events can be improved to provide increased value to ISA members.


ISA events will be scheduled to avoid conflicts with other ISA events. To that end, ISA will:

  • institute a master schedule of all ISA meetings with exhibits.
  • establish a standing committee to monitor ISA technical and exhibit scheduling and to periodically make recommendations to the ISA Executive Board on ways and means to avoid conflicts and to optimize the impact of the total ISA events activity.
  • periodically publish total ISA exhibit and technical meeting programs for the benefit of ISA and exhibitors.


Except for special provisions made in certain Joint Events, as approved by the Executive Board, ISA will maintain the copyright on all technical papers programmed by ISA.