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Guide to submitting a Congress fringe event

So you have an idea for a congress fringe event that you think delegates are going to love. Use our guidance to help you with your application and maximise your chances of selection.

How fringe events are chosen

A panel made up of the Chair and Vice Chair of Congress and members representing the RCN’s trade union and professional nursing interests will review all fringe events submissions in early 2018. They will select the events they believe will add most value to Congress.

What makes a good Fringe event

When the Panel reviews each fringe event submission they look at whether the event: 

  • will add value to Congress
  • will encourage employers to support their staff to attend
  • is relevant to health practitioner, student and/or nurse members
  • is a collaboration, for example with another RCN group
  • involves patients, or service users if relevant
  • demonstrates an awareness of different positions across the UK
  • is evidence-based and will be properly quality assured
  • has clear learning outcomes identified
  • session aims and objectives are achievable within 45 minutes.

Before submitting your application ensure your event meets as much of the above criteria as possible and explain this as clearly as possible in your submission.

Choosing when to host your fringe event

Fringe event slots will be 45 minutes long. We recommend allocating 30 minutes for presenting and 15 minutes for audience Q&A and a maximum of 3 speakers for a panel discussion.

When completing the online submission form you are asked to identify any days/times your speakers cannot make. The table below details all the available slots during congress. 

If your fringe event is selected, you will be contacted via email in February 2018 to confirm the allocated time slot.


Breakfast events 45 minutes
Before main hall debates commence
Lunch events 45 minutes
During main hall lunchtime break

Evening events 45 minutes
After the Main Hall conclusion
Sunday 13 May  No fringe events    
Monday 14 May      
Tuesday 15 May      
Wednesday 16 May    No fringe events  No fringe events

The format of your fringe event

Your fringe event could be in any one of the following formats:

  • Workshop/skills development - An opportunity for delegates to learn a particular new skill
  • Lecture - A talk/speech on a specific topic by a specialist/expert
  • Seminar - An informal interactive study on a specific topic, with a range of speakers
  • Discussion/debate - A topic introduced by a speaker who then facilitates open audience participation seeking their viewpoints; usually with a panel of representatives
  • Q&A session - Audience-led questions to a person or panel (usually senior in their field) without agenda.

You may wish to consider running a partnership event which may feature external (ie non-RCN) organisations but these must be led by the RCN. These should focus on the partnership and must not be a showcase for third-party products or services. Don’t forget to describe the format of your event when filling in the application form. 

Cost of hosting a fringe event

The RCN will cover the costs of room hire, catering (breakfast sessions only) and a standard AV package. Additional costs to cover speaker expenses may also be paid and you will be asked to provide estimated costs as part of your submission. The Fringe Selection panel will let you know if expense costs will be paid as part of their decision on your event.

We are sorry but we cannot pay speaker fees or honorariums.

Any other costs above the standard Audio Visual (AV) package, all approvals and associated costs, logistics, and contractual arrangements are the responsibility of the submitting body. 

Please email 
congress@rcn.org.uk if you have any specific questions.

Sponsored educational events

The RCN also offers sponsorship opportunities to organisations wishing to host their own educational sessions. To discuss the options for sponsored educational events please email our corporate relations team or call them on 020 7647 3940.

* The standard AV package consists of a laptop, projector and screen. Some larger rooms will have microphones. A full outline of your included AV will be listed in your event confirmation notification.

Please email congress@rcn.org.uk if you have any specific questions.

What happens next?

Submitters will receive an email in February with the outcome of the Fringe Selection Panel’s review.

Submit a fringe event

Ready to submit your proposed event now you've read our guidance? Submit it here.