Session Types

Plenary sessions

Plenary sessions feature experts from the UK and overseas, handpicked and invited by the Scientific Committee, based on their expertise in a specific area of research. Presentations cover a comprehensive range of topics from the main programme streams, and focus on the newest and late-breaking practice-changing often unpublished data in addition to an overview of the topic.  All speakers are briefed to give talks that are accessible to a broad scientific audience. Their talks may address a broad area of work, summarise their state-of-the-art research, or discuss an important area of policy relating to cancer. There are plenary lectures on each day of the Conference.

Recent advances sessions

These sessions aim to explore practice-changing topics and give knowledge and updates on specific areas of research and their outcomes. They follow the main streams of the programme and discuss topics with a multidisciplinary approach in mind; making them accessible to a broad scientific audience.

Specialist sessions

Specialist sessions aim to attract professionals in the areas on which they focus. They cover all streams and present detailed information with a more focused approach than Recent advances sessions. Sessions relevant to basic scientists and clinicians will run on each day of the Conference, plus additional sessions that may be relevant to both, as well as other audiences.

Bench to bedside and back sessions

These sessions generally present site-specific research with a cross-cutting approach that covers basic, translational and clinical science. Sites are identified by the Scientific Committee and change every year unless there are important developments or new data on a specific site that has been included before.

Proffered paper sessions

Proffered paper sessions give an opportunity to those who have submitted an abstract to present their work orally. They are grouped by type of science presented (following the main Conference streams) and in broad terms cover basic, translational and clinical research. Presenters are selected by the Scientific Committee from the highest scoring abstracts received.

Educational sessions

These sessions are designed to get attendees up to speed on a topic and are generally run before that topic is presented at the Conference in other sessions.

Best of… and Clinical Trials Showcase sessions

These sessions aim to focus on the best studies either presented in the last 12 months at other meetings or new data not yet presented, and attract a broad scientific audience interested in either basic, translational or clinical science. Whenever possible, speakers for these sessions are selected from submitted abstracts.

Meet the expert sessions

These sessions are informal sessions during which attendees have an opportunity to meet an eminent researcher in their field (typically a plenary speaker presenting at the Conference or a Scientific Committee member) and ask questions in a more relaxed environment. Sessions are moderated by a member of the Scientific Committee.


Workshops cover a topic with a hands-on approach and aim to involve attendees and produce very specific outcomes. For example these sessions might include debates, discussion fora, use of data sets, analysis tools, research methods, grant proposal writing, etc. They are educational in content, and provide a non-biased approach.

Spotlight on NCRI activities sessions

These sessions are focussed on NCRI activities and initiatives and include work that NCRI Clinical Research Groups are doing, as well as other NCRI Initiatives and Consumer Forum-led activities. These follow the format of a workshop or a specialist session but might be shorter in duration. Typically speakers in these sessions are involved in NCRI activities.