COSAC 2022 CfP – Chair’s Guide to Proposing a Paper

COSAC Chairman’s Guide to Proposing a Paper for COSAC

COSAC-in-person is back!  The COSAC agenda selection process is extremely competitive: last year even with our extended virtual programme only 1 in 3 proposals made it to the final agenda.  Now that we will return to our normal in-person agenda structure we expect the selection process to be even more competitive and challenging. 

COSAC – CONFERencing The Way It Should Be

  • Exchange opinions or get advice (OED)
  • Have discussions; exchange opinions (Cambridge)
  • To exchange viewpoints or seek advice for the purpose of finding a solution to a problem (Merriam Webster)

So, here are the things you should understand about the nature and benefits of the event before reflecting the unique COSAC culture in your proposal to present:

COSAC is Designed for Experience – Don’t Present Basics

The COSAC delegate typically has in excess 15 years of experience.  They appreciate skipping the time-wasting basics presented in other places: they have been there, done that, and in many cases invented the concept.  

Blind Selection – Explicitly Address the COSAC Evaluation Criteria

Value beats reputation every time.  We take great pride in ensuring an open and fair selection process designed to eliminate all bias.  Ten assessors rate the proposal exclusively on the value factors in the Call for Papers: value to Practitioners of more than 15 years’ experience; timeliness; uniqueness; and approach.  The COSAC agenda is selected ‘blind’.  All identifying marks are removed such that only the Chair knows the identity of the proposer. 

Highly Interactive – Confer, Don’t Lecture

COSAC is not an event at which to expect an anonymous sea of faces.  Expect to be enriched by a culture in which everyone has an experience worth sharing and an idea worth exploring.  You will be interrupted.  You will be challenged.  The group should be treated as peers seeking mutual value rather than a traditional audience to be lectured.  And value will be demanded.  

Unique Trusted COSAC Community – Deliver Value Through Trust

The COSAC ethos is to maintain a highly trusted community in an environment of shared experience.  To protect and enhance that culture of trust, content can be presented under Chatham House Rule or full NDA.  Trust-protected proceedings are never published outside the conference.

Forward-Thinking & Pragmatic – Emphasise ‘Valuable’, Unique’ and ‘Timely’ Evaluation Criteria

So, you presented your session at multiple other conferences already?  Frankly, it is unlikely to generate much interest at COSAC.  Often, COSAC has resolved a subject by the time it becomes a hot-topic agenda item at ‘normal’ events.  The group expects to be inspired by a blend of leading-edge strategy and innovative thought-leadership balanced with real-world pragmatism & realism.  You will be pushed to deliver, and speaker feedback ratings are expected to exceed 90% excellent or outstanding.

Commercial-free Environment – Under No Circumstances Include Sales Material

Sales and product content is strictly prohibited in COSAC sessions, and the event has no exhibition to distract from in-session value-creation.  Proposals containing explicit or inferred sales material will not be short-listed for consideration.

Intimate & Collaborative – Actively Pursue Audience Collaboration

Strictly limited numbers ensure intimacy of debate and a detailed collaborative approach.  COSAC is focussed on solving collective challenges while bringing value to every individual participant.  Presenters should encourage sharing of experience and mutual respect for every viewpoint is expected.

Truly Global – Respect Diversity

For many years COSAC has been proud to support a truly global community and present an agenda of interest and value to people with a rich tapestry of backgrounds, cultures, life experiences, skills and talents.  We believe that the diversity of our participating community enriches us all, improves the quality and effectiveness of our security decisions, and enables learning through diversity.

Fully Residential Networking – Commit to the Whole Event

The COSAC event runs from Sunday evening through Thursday afternoon (Monday evening through Thursday afternoon in APAC) in a fully-residential format.  Presenters are expected to commit to participating in the entire event.  Fly-in fly-out speakers do not typically succeed at COSAC and tend to attract very low audience numbers.

Fully Inclusive – Be Prepared for After-Hours Immersive Discussion

Successful proposals are given a specific timeslot on the agenda but don’t be fooled into thinking discussion ends at that time.  COSAC is a deeply immersive experience and fully inclusive of all conference sessions, master classes, workshops, breakfasts, refreshments, lunches, dinners, and networking events, so a truly successful COSAC session inspires discussion and debate long after the formal conference session has finished.  

If you believe you can bring true value to COSAC and meet the hugely demanding expectations of the COSAC community, please submit your proposal for a conference session at


David Lynas