The call for verbal and poster abstracts is now open!

Deadline to Submit: May 3, 2021

Water and Health: Science, Policy and Practice abstract submissions will be accepted through May 3, 2021. Stay tuned as speakers, side events, plenaries, and other programming announcements are made during the coming months.

Submit an Abstract

How to Write a Successful Abstract for the 2021 UNC Water and Health Conference:

To present your research in the most effective way, and to increase your chances of having your abstract accepted for our UNC Water and Health Conference: Research, Policy and Practice, please refer to the abstract submission rubric. These criteria will be used by peer reviewers to select the abstracts for the verbal and poster presentations.

Your abstract should briefly explain the importance and novelty of the research, be accurate and succinct, and readable. Keep it short and to the point (500 words):

  • What (i.e. the focus): Clearly explain your idea or question your work addresses.
  • Why (i.e., the purpose): Explain why your focus is important.
  • How (i.e., methods): Describe how you collected information/data to answer your question.
  • Results: Share your results–the information you collected. What does the data say?
  • Conclusion: State your conclusion(s) by relating your data to your original question. Discuss the connections between your results and the problem. If your project is still ‘in progress’ and you don’t yet have solid conclusions, use this space to discuss what you know at the moment (i.e., lessons learned so far, emerging trends, etc).

Are you from a low-resource country and interested in receiving assistance with your abstract prior to submission for the Conference? Let us know here.

Abstract Assistance

Apply for the NEW Research Award on Sanitation Workers:

The 2021 UNC Water and Health Conference is issuing a special call for abstracts on the topic of sanitation workers. Submissions are due by 3 May 2021. This includes, but is not limited to, research in the following areas: (a) Health and safety- access to PPE and its use, mechanisation, COVID pandemic; (b) Labor rights, wages, working conditions, access to social security; (c) Livelihoods, rehabilitation; (d) Social challenges – caste/ethnic identity, social discrimination, exclusion; (e) Gender dimensions, disparities, intersectionality; (f) Policies, regulation, SOPs and enforcement; (g) Interventions to support sanitation workers- good practices and learnings.

As part of this special call for abstracts, the Water Institute at UNC and the Initiative for Sanitation Workers (ISW: WaterAid, World Bank, SNV Netherlands Development Organization, World Health Organization, and International Labor Organization) will present awards for the:

(1) Best Original Research Abstract
(2) Best Published Paper from 1 January 2019 – 3 May 2021

Winners in each category will receive an award certificate, a spotlight opportunity to present their work at the 2021 UNC Water and Health Conference, a cash award of $500 USD, waiver of conference fees for the next in-person conference, support for open access publication of the research paper in a peer reviewed journal (for original research), and an opportunity to get their work featured in an ISW-partner’s blog. The runner-up in each category will receive an award certificate, support for open access publication of the research paper in a peer-reviewed journal (for original research), and an opportunity to get their work featured in an ISW-partner’s blog.

Guidelines for Submission:
1. Submit your entry using the abstract submission form. Specify ‘Sanitation Workers’ as the
category, by selecting the ‘Others’ option. Select ‘Verbal Presentation’ in the Preferred
Presentation type.
2. If you are applying for the Best Published Paper award, please mention this and add the
publication link in the abstract.


Guidelines for Submitting:

Abstracts will be double-blinded, peer reviewed. Authors will receive notification by July 2021. Abstracts submitted after the deadline (May 3, 2021) will not be considered.

  • Abstracts must be submitted via the online form.
  • Abstracts are limited to 500 words.
  • Abstract titles are limited to 9 words.
  • Submissions must include key learning objectives for your presentation. Please include key learning objectives in the ‘Full Abstract Submission’ question on the form.
  • Submissions must include categories. Please select up to 3 on the form.
  • Incomplete abstracts can not be reviewed.
  • Multiple abstracts submitted on a single study will be rejected.

Unsure the difference between an abstract and a side event? Learn more about the different types of Conference events here.

Review Criteria (for all submissions):

  • Submissions will be ranked through double-blinded peer review.
  • Each abstract will be evaluated based on the degree to which it:
    • presents an original argument (not only a descriptive account of a project).
    • offers a clear rationale, intellectual-grounding, and outcome/payoff for the presentation (i.e., “so what”), including practical advice on best practices or tools that can be implemented by people in the community.
    • is clear and well written. Abstracts should be free from spelling and grammatical errors. Where appropriate, background, methods, results, and conclusions should be clear. For all abstracts, the topic and key learning objectives should be obvious.
  • Acceptance will be based on content, available space, and overall program balance.

Acceptance/Rejection Notification:

  • Notification regarding acceptance or rejection will be sent to the presenting author by email by July 2021; providing an accurate email address is critical.
  • If your abstract is accepted, you will receive an email that specifies whether it is accepted as a verbal or poster presentation.
  • You must RSVP by the date specified. Abstracts are withdrawn if your RSVP is not received by the specified date.

Session Formats:

  • Verbal presentations are assigned in 20 minute increments (15 minutes to present with 5 minutes for questions). Length and format are subject to change.
    • Verbal presentations should present original arguments.
    • Abstracts that are simply project descriptions will not be accepted.
  • Poster presentations are assigned and presented in a reception style format. If the Conference is hosted virtually, you will be required to pre-record your presentation and be present for a scheduled live Q&A session.

Preferred Presentation Format:

Please choose the formats in which you are willing to present/publish your abstract at the time of submission. This choice cannot be changed after the review committee has made its final decision (i.e., if you are not willing to present a verbal, please choose poster only).

  • Submitted abstracts will be considered eligible for either one verbal or one poster presentation.
  • Authors select one of three options:
    1. Verbal Presentation (will NOT be considered for poster)
    2. Poster Presentation (will NOT be considered for verbal regardless of score)
    3. Verbal or Poster Presentation (will be considered for either verbal OR poster based on score)

Please note that declining to have your abstract considered for poster presentation does not improve the chance of being accepted for a verbal presentation. This option should be selected primarily by authors not willing/able to present a poster.

Responsibilities of the Presenting Author:

  • The first author listed for each abstract serves as the presenting author and as the primary contact for all correspondence regarding the abstract.
  • The presenting author must be one of the co-authors listed on the submitted abstract.
  • The presentation at the conference must reflect the submitted abstract. Specifically, the abstract title, authorship, and scientific content must match the submitted abstract.