The General Meeting of the Association takes place every three years.
It is the largest and most important of the meetings sponsored by the Association, and is the only occasion on which members are able to meet and discuss their work with a large proportion of the membership. It is also the occasion on which the Business Meeting (or 'members' meeting,' as it is called in the Articles) takes place. Among other matters, this is when new members of the Executive Committee are elected, and the roles of President, Secretary, and Treasurer change hands.
The philosophy of the General Meeting is that all members should be able to present their research. With the increasing size of the Association, it is no longer possible to ensure that all members are able to make oral presentations. In recent meetings the role played by poster sessions has therefore gained in importance. A typical General Meeting consists of a number of symposia, a number of individual paper sessions, and two or more poster sessions. An attempt is made to strike a good balance between, on the one hand, offering a broad choice of presentations, and, on the other, keeping the number of parallel sessions to a minimum.
Whereas the task of running a General Meeting used to be one that was taken on by a local organiser, who made local arrangements, and the Secretary of the Association, who looked after the scientific programme, the scope and complexity of the current General Meetings means that local arrangements are dealt with by the Local Organising Committee, and the setting up of the programme is handled by a specially appointed Scientific Programme Committee.
The Association supports each General Meeting financially.
Past General Meetings
- 1963 Dec 12-16, Sorrento, Italy [before foundation]
- 1964 Dec 11-15, Frascati, Italy [before foundation]
- 1966 Mar 27-Apr 01, Royaumont, France [1st official plenary meeting]
- 1969 Apr 08-12, Leuven, Belgium
- 1972 Apr 12-15, Leuven, Belgium
- 1975 Apr 08-12, Bielefeld, (West) Germany
- 1978 Mar 28-Apr 01, Weimar, (East) Germany
- 1981 Apr 05-09, Sussex, England
- 1984 May 08-12, Tilburg, The Netherlands
- 1987 May 19-24, Varna, Bulgaria
- 1990 Jun 19-24, Budapest, Hungary
- 1993 Sep 15-20, Lisbon, Portugal
- 1996 Jul 13-18, Gmunden, Austria
- 1999 Jul 06-11, Oxford, UK
- 2002 Jun 26-29, San Sebastian, Spain
- 2005 Jul 19-23, Wuerzburg, Germany
- 2008 Jun 10-14, Opatija, Croatia
- 2011 Jul 12-16, Stockholm, Sweden
- 2014 Jul 09-12, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
- 2017 Jul 04-09, Granada, Spain