Hosting ICTIR

Call for bids to host the ACM SIGIR International Conference on the Theory of Information Retrieval (ICTIR) in 2019

Instructions for Submitting Formal Bids

The International Conference on the Theory of Information Retrieval (ICTIR) provides a forum for the presentation and discussion of research related to the foundational aspects of Information Retrieval (IR), including, for example, new or improved models of relevance, ranking, representation, information needs, and evaluation. The need for formal frameworks is universal across the many applications of information retrieval. In addition to the established approaches in IR, the conference encourages the submission of papers that are attempting to define new tasks, develop new search paradigms, or apply methods from related disciplines, such as natural language processing, machine learning, statistics, or quantum mechanics.

History: ICTIR grew from a series of SIGIR workshops on mathematical and formal methods for IR held during the years 2000 to 2005. In 2007, ICTIR became a BSG-IRSG supported conference held biennially (Budapest, Hungary in 2007, Cambridge, UK in 2009, Bertinoro, Italy in 2011, and Copenhagen, Denmark in 2013). In 2014 ICTIR became a fully-sponsored annual ACM conference with the BCS-IRSG maintaining its support. In 2015, ICTIR was hosted by the Center for Intelligent Information Retrieval, which is in the College of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, (, in 2016 ICTIR was hosted by the University of Delaware, (, and in 2017 by the University of Amsterdam ( In 2018 it will be held in Tianjin, China, and in 2019 it will be held in Santa Clara, US.

Present: We are now soliciting bids for organizing ICTIR 2020.  The preferred rotation for 2020 is Europe. The main conference is expected to be two to three days, with optional workshops/tutorials or social outing.

We are looking for exciting bids that propose new ways for researchers to interact and present their research, engage in discussions, build community and increase the audience. We are open to new formats and styles of papers, and potential collocations with other events, and so while ICTIR is currently held in late September / Early October, however, there is some flexibility in scheduling.

Bid guidelines
Below please find the instructions for the formal bid for ICTIR 2020. The deadline for submitting the formal bids is March, November 28th, 2018. Formal bids should be emailed to Leif Azzopardi ( Notifications will be sent out by April 28th, 2018.

Who May Bid
ICTIR will entertain bids from any group or organization, provided that the geographical constraints are met. The preferred location for ICTIR 2020 is Europe.

ICTIR expects the organizers to be: (1) recognized and active members of the Information Retrieval research community as well as, (2) active participants in current and past ICTIR and/or SIGIR conferences.

ACM requires that the conference chair, or chairs, and the treasurer be members of the ACM. ICTIR further expects that those individuals will also be members of SIGIR.

The Proposal
The proposal is a description of how you will address the technical and logistical issues involved in running a high quality conference in the location you propose. A few pages should suffice, but you may use more space if necessary. The ICTIR steering committee may wish to discuss aspects of the bid with the proposers prior to making a decision on the success of the bid, and so a principal contact should be designated.

The proposal should include the following information:

  • Your connection to the Information Retrieval research community in general and ICTIR and SIGIR in particular. ICTIR expects that the conference chair or chairs will have extensive experience (e.g., having served in senior roles in SIGIR or related conferences) and a positive reputation in the field.
  • Your experience in organizing and running technical conferences.
  • If you have started to think about a team, provide that information as well. Please do not actually recruit Program Chairs, etc, as the PC chairs must be approved by the ICTIR steering committee and this does not happen until after a formal bid is accepted.
  • Proposed dates. ICTIR is usually held in September/October but there is flexibility to change or collocate. Potential conflicts with other conferences that take place at around the same time of the year should be considered (e.g., CIKM and CLEF). The conference is expected to be three to five days long: e.g. a day for tutorials, three days for the main conference, and an optional day for workshops. The paper submission deadline is usually around the end of April.
  • The suggested conference venue. The venue should be easily accessible for people attending from across the world. The main conference is typically single track, but we are open to new formats. We expect conference registration to be approximately 100-200 delegates. You will need access to an auditorium that can hold this number of people for the opening/closing sessions and the main conference. Rooms for holding tutorials and workshops should be available. In addition, there should be appropriate provisions made for holding a poster session. Nearby places for lunch and breaks should be specified. Details with regard to the proposed social program (banquet, welcome reception) are also expected. Suggesting a few alternatives for a venue is an option.
  • Information about hotel, transportation and living costs, including information about how you might accommodate students at a reasonable cost should be included. If the location has hosted other technical conferences of roughly the same size it would be helpful to know about that as well. To help compare alternative proposals, please provide a summary of the estimated costs for the following individuals to attend the conference: (1) an ACM member who will attend the conference and a workshop, and who prefers to stay in the conference hotel or comparable accommodations, traveling from Boston, London, or Beijing; and (2) a student who will attend a tutorial, the conference, and a workshop, preferring quite cheap accommodations, traveling from the same three locations.
  • A draft budget should be provided. If your bid is successful, you will need to complete the ACM Preliminary Approval Form and the ACM TMRF (Technical Meeting Request Form) form. The latter asks for a detailed budget. We suggest that you browse through before preparing the budget draft.
  • Committed sponsors (host universities may sponsor bids) should be specified, if applicable.
  • The ability of the local community to provide organizational support for your involvement in the conference (e.g., support from department chairs, deans, or company management). Running a conference takes a significant amount of time, and its important that you have a good local group of technical and administrative people with whom to work.
  • Any additional information that you think is relevant.

As an example of an ICTIR bid, please find the bid by Ben Carterette and Hui Fang, the conference chairs of ICTIR 2016, at ictir2016Bid. We thank Ben and Hui for agreeing to share their bid online.

Important dates for formal bids
Bid submissions: March, 28th, 2018.
Notifications: April, 28th, 2018.

ICTIR Steering Committee
James Allan
Leif Azzopardi (Chair)
Ben Carterette
Bruce Croft
Hui Fang
Jaap Kamps (SIGIR representative)
Evangelos Kanoulas
Craig MacDonald (BCS representative)
Arjen de Vries
Emine Yilmaz

ICTIR Honorary Chair
Keith van Rijsbergen