Call For Papers

We want this conference to be different, in the sense that we more highly value having attendees interacting and exchanging ideas, both between themselves and the speakers, than having talks with meticulous details. In order to achieve this, we chose a particular, different format.

Moreover, we are doing our best to improve every year, and offer the best conference experience to both attendees and speakers. That’s why this year we are very happy to introduce some big news, the Shepherding process.

If you plan to submit a talk, please read this section carefully because you, the speaker, will play a very important role. This is the format (time-slots may slightly change), with one morning and one afternoon session:

09:45 – 10:00 Welcome and Event presentation
10:00 – 10:30 Keynote
10:30 – 11:00 Coffee break
Morning session
11:00 – 12:00 3x20m presentations
12:00 – 13:00 discussion groups hop on hop off + coffee break
13:00 – 14:00 lunch
Afternoon session
14:30 – 15:30 3x20m presentations
15:30 – 16:30 discussion groups hop on hop off + coffee break
16:30 – 17:00 closing remarks

You have one slot of 20 minutes to give your presentation. After the talks of your session are done, the speakers move to three separate rooms where attendees can join and engage in active discussions with you and the other participants.


We’re giving you a chance to submit your paper or presentation one month before the official CfP deadline, and we’ll work with you to make it better to increase your chances of getting it accepted by the official submission process.

  • Shepherding deadline: 23:59 Zurich time (UTC+2), Saturday, 1st of June
  • Official CfP deadline: 23:59 Zurich time (UTC+2), Friday, 28th of June

What’s the Shepherding process?

Every year we receive many promising submissions that, although very close in the scoring to those who ultimately make it to the conference, fail to be accepted because they somehow just missed the mark, or they’re not well-adapted to the BSides Zurich format. The shepherding process is designed to provide feedback to submitters in the hope that the revised submission may have more chances to be accepted (but, keep in mind, there are no guarantees).

Who can participate?
We know our talk format is a bit special, so we encourage everyone to participate in the process. This may be particularly useful for those of you who have less experience submitting to Call-for-Papers, would like guidance on how to make their presentation better, or are just not sure if their research is on-topic. To be eligible for Shepherding, you need to:

  • Be willing to submit your material one month before the standard CfP deadline.
  • Be willing to put in some more work with a member of the Program Committee who will spend a few hours with you to help you refine your submission.

What next?
Someone from the Program Committee will reach out to you with some initial feedback on your submission. You’re then free to work with your mentor to improve your submission and submit it again by the official CfP deadline, where the Program Committee will re-evaluate your submission as if it was brand-new.

Additional details

Only submissions received by 23:59 Zurich time (UTC+2), Saturday, 1st of June, will be considered for shepherding. All final submission (included the refined one from Shepherding) must be received by 23:59 Zurich time (UTC+2), Friday, 28th of June.

Full papers will be given preferential treatment over abstract-only submissions but all submissions will be given full consideration.

Submissions which the Programming Committee determines to be product pitches will be rejected.

Again, all official submissions must be received by 23:59 Zurich time (UTC+2), Friday, 28th of June.

Format and Rules

  • You have 20 minutes to give your presentation, so make sure you keep it short and sweet! The Q&A/Discussion session is about 45 minutes long and will give you plenty of time to go into more depth.
  • After all presentations are delivered, there will be a Q&A/Discussion session that will take place in separate rooms, one per speaker. The Q&A/Discussion sessions allow participants to go more in depth on the topic(s) they are more interested in, and provides an opportunity to discuss and give input. We recommend that you end your presentation with questions that will encourage dialogue with your audience – people are often shy to start with!
  • The talk and slides must be in English.

Your talk will NOT be picked IF:

  • It does not fit the submission format (20 minute talk, fitting Q&A/Discussion model)
  • It’s a sales pitch or review of a single product.
  • Your presentation includes demos or videos (it’s OK to keep them for the Q&A/Discussion session)
  • We cannot adequately assess your submission; make sure to put sufficient care, attention and time into it.

We are looking for a diverse set of topics in the area of information security such as, but not limited to:

  • Reverse Engineering
  • Web Application Security
  • Network Security
  • Digital Forensics / Incident Response (DFIR)
  • Threat Intelligence
  • Software/Hardware Exploitation
  • Cryptography
  • … you name it!

Submissions will be reviewed by our Program Committee and will be chosen on a “number of votes” basis.

If everything is clear and you are still convinced you can rock the stage then you are what we are looking for. Follow the CfP application form link and apply to our CfP.

A sample submission can be found online here. We provide this as a general example. Your detailed outline need not look like ours, but it should be more than enough information to convince us of the merit of your talk.

If you have any doubt or question about the CfP, please reach out to us via email (bsideszh [at] gmail [dot] com) or Twitter @BSidesZurich

Program Committee