Call for Papers
We want BSides Zurich to be a conference where attendees and speakers have a real opportunity to mingle and engage in active discussions. In order to achieve this, we chose an atypical conference format that our attendees have really enjoyed.
There are a total of 6 talks plus a keynote, all in English. Talks are grouped by 3 and are divided into two sessions (morning and afternoon). Each talk is only 20 minutes long, and after the 3 morning talks, each speaker gets an assigned room for a 30-minute-long breakout “discussion” session. Participants can pick the talk that interested them the most and attend that session. Or they can just ask a few questions, and hop onto another session! Think of discussion sessions as a 30-minute-long Q&A where participants and speakers can really take time to ask and answer questions, deep-dive into that demo, and get into the nitty-gritty details of their topic. The same happens after lunch, in the afternoon.
A typical day at BSides Zurich goes like this:
08:45 – 09:30 Registration 09:30 – 09:45 Welcome and Event presentation 09:45 – 10:30 Keynote 10:30 – 11:00 Coffee break Morning session 11:00 – 12:10 3 x 20 short talks 12:15 – 12:25 Short Coffee break 12:30 – 13:00 Discussion groups hop on hop off 13:00 – 14:15 Lunch break Afternoon session 14:30 – 15:40 3 x 20 short talks 15:45 – 15:55 Short Coffee break 16:00 – 16:30 Discussion groups hop on hop off 16:35 – 17:00 Closing remarks and... swag 17:00 – Social Drinks
In a nutshell, as a speaker you should remember to prepare a talk that you can give in 20 minutes, and enough material for a 30-minute-long Q&A.
Submitting a talk
Submit a talk: https://pretalx.com/bsides-zh-2023/cfp
Deadline for submissions: 2023-06-01 23:59:59 CET
As mentioned above, your talk should be 20 minutes long, and provide enough discussion points for about a half hour of Q&A session. If you’ve never presented before, we’d be very happy to mentor you to give you all the chances of producing a knockout talk!
We would like to specifically encourage people from underrepresented groups to submit a talk. We are committed to providing the safe and welcoming environment for everyone.
The process for submitting is fairly straightforward - provide an abstract of your talk (ideally with an outline of the points you’re planning to cover, and some discussion points you’re planning to raise during your breakout session) and send it to us.
The main topic, as you may have guessed, is cybersecurity, and any topic goes: reverse engineering, application security, forensics, incident response, threat intelligence, hardware exploitation…
- Language: the talk and slides must be in English.
- Duration: Talks are 20 minutes long, so make sure you keep it short and sweet!
- Q&A: The breakout sessions are about 30 minutes long and will give you plenty of time to go into more depth.
- We recommend that you end your presentation with questions that will encourage dialogue with your audience – people are often shy to start with!
Mentoring program opt-in: email us at
bsideszh [at] gmail [dot] com.
Deadline for mentoring program opt-in: 2023-05-18 23:59:59 CET
Our industry is full of experienced speakers who give great talks. But we also like to have new people talk at BSides!
To encourage first-time presenters to submit papers, we have been running a special opt-in mentoring program. This is specifically geared towards first-time presenters, but also experienced speakers who feel unsure about the format of their talk and whether it’s adapted to the conference.
The program pairs potential presenters with some members of the Program Committee, so that they spend some hours working together (usually asynchronously over email) to generate feedback and tweak the presentation so that it’s better suited for the conference format.
Some more clarifications:
- The program is completely opt-in, but we do ask participants to commit to working on the feedback from their mentors to make it worth everyone’s time;
- The Program Committee does not take participation in the mentoring program into account when picking talks. Participation in the program will not be reflected in the conference agenda, or otherwise shared outside the Program Committee;
- Although the resulting presentation will have higher chances of getting accepted, going through the mentoring program offers no guarantee that your talk will get picked.
- Deadlines for participating in the mentoring program are about a month earlier than for regular submissions.
After submission deadline is over, each submission gets reviewed by a subset of the Program Committee and rated according to criteria like technical depth, novelty, potential for creating interesting discussion, etc. When all ratings are in, the organizers and Program Committee members meet and pick the talks that made it to the top in most areas.
Tips for good submissions:
- Make sure to respect the format (20 minutes talk, adapted to the breakout session model);
- Please no sales pitches or single product reviews;
- No demos or videos in your talk (it’s OK to keep them for the Q&A/Discussion session);
- Make sure to put sufficient care, attention, and time into your submission. If it’s botched or unclear and we’re not able to properly evaluate it, we won’t accept it.
Timeline, deadlines and links
Deadline for opting-in to the mentoring program: 2023-05-18 23:59:59 CET
Deadline for submissions: 2023-06-01 23:59:59 CET
Program Committee review: TBA
Communication to speakers: TBA
- Submit a talk: Pretalx
- Opt-in to mentoring: Send an email to
bsideszh [at] gmail [dot] com
If you have any doubts or questions about the Call for Papers, please reach out
to us via email (
bsideszh [at] gmail [dot] com) or on Twitter
- Alexandra Sandulescu
- Andrea Hauser @aha_181
- Antonio Sanso @asanso
- Christine Fossaceca @x71n3
- Maciej Kotowicz @maciekkotowicz
- Michael Schneider @0x6d69636b
- Pasquale Stirparo @pstirparo
- Stefan Friedli @stfn42
- Thomas Chopitea @tomchop_
- Thomas Roccia @fr0gger_
- Tom Ueltschi @c_APT_ure
… and more to come!