CFP: Semester Virtual Institutes

Virtual Chair solicits proposals for 3-5 thematic Virtual Institutes for the 2022 spring, summer, and fall semesters. Further questions on this program can be directed to <>.


These virtual institutes will gather together geographically-dispersed researchers to collaborate on a focused research topic. While an institute can be of any size, we find it is ideal to target 12 committed long-term participants and their students, all of whom will be provided with virtual desks. The institute itself consists of weekly sessions (recommended half-day duration), aligned with semester schedules and timed to be convenient in the time-zones of committed long-term participants. All participants are expected to be present in the venue during sessions and actively engage in structured activities. Participants should also be present for unstructured activities during the hours of the institute.

Prototype schedule

For example one way to organize such an institute is as follows: Each session is organized by one long-term participant. A typical session has the following structure and timing (the following example is in Eastern Time and is recommended for programs focused on the eastern US, Latin America, and Europe):

8am: 30 min structured activity

8.30am: 3 hours unstructured time

11.15am: 30 min structured activity

Examples of 30 minute structured activities include:

  • A collection of four 5-min open problem statements

  • A collection of two 10-min student talks describing a current research project

  • A 25-min research talk on a recent result

  • A talk dissection in which participants collectively watch a (recorded) talk and discuss it

  • A fireside chat, or outside-in talk with a guest speaker

During unstructured time, participants are encouraged to have impromptu conversations in the venue’s lounge at whiteboards or tables, hold research meetings in the venue’s meeting rooms or engage in solo work at their virtual desks. Participants with free time can conduct other activities at their virtual desk.


Proposals are accepted on an ongoing basis. Proposals received by Jan 31 will receive full consideration for spring 2022; proposals received by March 31 will receive full consideration for summer and fall 2022.

Proposals should contain:

  • The names and affiliations of the organizers.

  • A synopsis of the theme.

  • Related programs at other institutes (if any).

  • A list of senior participants that would be invited.

  • Preferred times for the weekly sessions (semester, day of week, and time of day).

Institute proposals should be submitted here:

Resources for Selected Proposals

Selected proposals will be sponsored by Virtual Chair and provided with:

  • Virtual institute space in the academic metaverse being developed by Virtual Chair and powered by Institute space includes virtual desks for senior participants, virtual desks for students, a seminar room, several meeting rooms, and spaces for informal conversations. Metaverse includes permanent desk space for academics, clustered by field to facilitate unstructured conversations.

  • Consultation with organizers with Virtual Chair staff technical aspects of organizing an institute.

  • Best practice guides and email templates.

  • (Limited) ongoing support for running the institute.

The virtual institute space will be the dedicated space of the participants of the institute for its weekly session and one hour before and after the session. Participants will have the option of obtaining a desk in the academic metaverse for meetings and other activities outside the scheduled hours of the institute (see CFP for Beta-testing the Academic Metaverse). The academic metaverse also is home to other virtual institutes, virtual seminars (see CFP for Weekly Virtual Seminars), and virtual conferences (see Virtual Chair website).