Organising a workshop in your own country


BCSS can organise workshops in Malaysia, but for events in other countries we need to work with a local partner.

The key condition is that both of us work towards conservation of wildlife, and seek to build capacity to analyse wildlife data and produce information for management and policy.

In the past we have worked with the following partner organisations:

* Some staff of these partner organisations are also members of the BCSS instructor team.

The following information is based on past experience and is intended to ensure smooth cooperation and a trouble-free workshop. It is mainly concerned with the "Boot Camp" but much will apply for other workshops.

The role of BCSS

We provide the instructors and the teaching materials, including the equipment for the hands-on activities.

Our instructors are prepared to give their time free of charge - or rather their employers will - provided that:

(a) it's open to wildlife researchers from organisations other than your own*, though you can reserve up to half of the places for your organisation,

(b) it's not a profit-making event, though charging a reasonable registration fee to cover costs is ok, and

(c) we can use our existing materials.

* we regard ATBC and SCB as "aggregators" as their members' principle affiliations are with universities, government, or other NGOs.

We will provide publicity for the workshop via our BCSS home page and emails to all alumni and others who have expressed interest (now almost 1000).

We consider three experienced instructors to be the minimum for a Boot Camp. As part of our effort to build instructing capacity across the region, we will often bring in additional assistant instructors/facilitators, subject to the partner's agreement. We will bear travel costs for these additional instructors, but we ask the local organisers to assist with in-country accommodation and travel.

For more advanced workshops, such as "Bayes with JAGS" and "Simulations", completion of an R Skills Review is a prerequisite. BCSS will take care of checking the scripts submitted by applicants. See the additional information here.

The role of the local partner

Logistics: the partner needs to handle all the local logistics, including:

  • the classroom; a good classroom is essential for a happy workshop; see here for details of our needs.
  • morning and afternoon tea/coffee breaks, also lunch if this is included.
  • accommodation and in-country transport for instructors.
  • if instructors need visas, assistance with the necessary documentation.


  • Our workshops in Malaysia are self-financing, ie, the registration fee is set to cover the costs. Other organisers prefer to seek donor funding for all or part of the costs.
  • Participants or their organisations should bear at least part of the cost, even if it is only their travel to/from the venue.
  • Funding should include instructors' in-country costs and regional flights for three people.
  • All transactions - the collection of registration fees and the payment of bills - should be handled by the partner.

Recruitment and registration:

  • Applications should be open to all; if this is not possible, we need to agree on restrictions and make these public.
  • We need to post either a web link or an email contact for further information; the web link must not require log in (ie, not Facebook); if an email contact is given, responses must be given within 4 working days.
  • Our Boot Camp is an unconventional stats course: we do not deal with significance or p-values; it's important that applicants understand this, eg, with a link to this page.
  • The maximum number of participants is 20; many of our activities require at least 16, so that's effectively the minimum number.
  • Selection of participants is done by the local partner; this can be "first come, first served", as with our own workshops. Our target audience is field biologists working in conservation, not people with proven maths ability, so selection should be based on biology and the conservation value of the work.
  • It's good if a few of the participants have done a Boot Camp before; they can help others with computer issues and practical activities - and might in future become instructors themselves.
  • Applications should be from specific individuals who wish to attend; if an organisation wants its staff to attend, it must ask them to send in individual applications.
  • Two weeks before the start of the workshop, we need a list of participants with brief background information and email contacts; from that point the instructor team need to communicate directly with participants re software and materials.


One of the local organising team should have already attended a Boot Camp. The Boot Camp is unconventional in both content and teaching methods, so attending is the only real way to appreciate what is needed for a successful workshop.

Someone from BCSS (usually Ngumbang or Mike) should make a site visit to meet the local team and check out the proposed venue. This should take place early in the planning process. We would bear the costs of this, but would need the help of the local team to arrange in-country transport and accommodation.

Practical stuff - a check list

This is intended to be a comprehensive do-not-forget list, many of these items will not be relevant for your workshop.

  • size of room (KMUTT is 7.5 x 13.5m)
  • layout (movable tables), blackout, acoustics;
  • risk of last minute cancellation;
  • hours available (do we have to be out by a specific time?);
  • planned starting/finishing times
  • any issues with working weekends and public holidays?
  • can we access the room the day before the workshop to set up?
  • lockable at lunch time?
  • reliable power supply (or backup supply)?
  • number of power outlets around the room (need to spread load)?
  • extension leads for 20+ laptops = ca 30 outlets after daisy-chaining; folks will also want to charge their handphones;
  • projector? ceiling mount good but need remote, we can bring our own; screen.
  • BIG whiteboard, also flipchart easel if possible (not essential)
  • stationary items: 2 reams of plain A4 paper; maybe notebooks and pens/pencils for participants.
  • Wifi for all participants (login, passwords);
  • coffee breaks: where? (close to meeting room best); who? (eg. caterer)
  • lunch? provided (caterer?) or nearby canteen/restaurant?
  • hard-copy handouts (for quizzes and practical activities): print locally or bring from Malaysia?
  • name tags? name plates? we can bring these;
  • printing of certificates at end of workshop - best done locally as we need to check names and logos.
  • accommodation: for instructors? for participants? included in registration fee?
  • public transport to venue? For international participants, how to get to venue/accommodation, when to arrive.
  • publicity? registration form and list?
  • registration fees (amount, how to pay, when to pay = early bird deadline)
  • accommodation costs for participants (how to book/pay)?
  • finance: who funds flights, accommodation, meals for instructors?
  • dates and schedule (esp days off);
  • day off activities?
  • formal opening? we try to avoid this! If necessary, arrange as an evening reception before the workshop starts.

The small print

Intellectual property and data confidentiality

Creative Commons LicenseAll the teaching materials prepared for BCSS are the property of the authors and are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. As such, the partner and participants have an irrevocable, royalty free, non-exclusive licence to use the works and to share and adapt the works, provided that appropriate credit is given to the authors and any changes made are clearly indicated.

Some of the materials are the IPR of third parties. These are subject to their own individual licence terms. This applies in particular to images used in the materials.

All the software required for the workshop is licensed under some Open Source or Free Software licence, and is free to use. (Although we use Microsoft programs for demonstrations, the same results can be obtained with LibreOffice software.)

BCSS treats the information and scientific data provided by participants and partner organisations as confidential and will not disclose the information or data to any third party, unless (a) the information or data are in the public domain, or are subsequently placed in the public domain, within any jurisdiction, or (b) the owner of the data gives express permission for the disclosure.


BCSS will provide the equipment needed for all the activities planned during the workshop. This equipment shall remain the property of BCSS and shall be returned to the BCSS office after the workshop. The equipment will be carried by the instructors as checked baggage, and any baggage charges shall be included in the travel costs to be reimbursed. If necessary, the local partner will facilitate customs clearance on arrival in the country and on departure.

Insurance and liability

BCSS or the individual instructors will take out travel insurance for the duration of their absence from home. (Travel insurance normally needs to be arranged in one's home country.) The cost of insurance will be part of the travel costs to be reimbursed by the partner organisation.

Neither BCSS nor the individual instructors shall be liable for any loss or injury sustained by participants in connection with the workshop and the partner organisation shall indemnify BCSS and the instructors against such claims.


Page updated 12 Sept 2019 by Mike Meredith