Call for Papers

Automatic Control – Meeting Societal Challenges

The 21st IFAC World Congress will take place in the metropolitan city of Berlin. It is the three-annual forum of excellence in control science and technology of the International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC). It showcases and allows to explore the frontiers in control science and technology and their applications. It is attended by a worldwide, interdisciplinary audience of scientists and engineers from academy and industry. The IFAC World Congress offers an up to date, complete and universal view of control and analysis techniques. 

We invite you to submit contributions to the 21th IFAC World Congress. Details on the submissions categories and the submission process are summarized on this page. The timeline for the submissions process can be found on the key dates bar to the right of this page. Following the IFAC standards, all contributions will be peer reviewed. The program will be organized accordingly to the IFAC technical areas.

The call for papers for late braking results as PDF can be found here.

The call for papers as PDF can be found here.

All submissions (contributions and proposals) are handled via the papercept system.

Sandra Hirche and Rolf Findeisen
(IPC Co-Chairs of the IFAC World Congress 2020)
in the name of the complete IPC and NOC team

IFAC 2020 Special Features

Besides regular contributions, invited sessions, tutorials and workshops, the following special features will be part of the program and we ask for your contributions:

Special submission type’s:

  • Late Breaking results submissions promote the presentation of recent research results. The submission deadline is significantly later than normal contributions and they will be rapid reviewed. Late breaking results will not be published in IFAC PapersOnLine. They will only appear in the congress preprints. 
  • Extended Abstract submissions aim at application-oriented contributions to industrial, economic or social fields, as well as research from other scientific communities. Extended abstract submissions can be part of invited sessions and open-invited tracks. Extended abstracts will not be published in IFAC PapersOnLine. They will only appear in the congress preprints.
  • Demonstrator contributions are thought to promote research or educational oriented devices, innovative prototypes and attractive transferof technologies towards high-tech enterprises. Demonstrators exposesome prototype or pedagogical device to be presented at dedicated exhibitions. If an experimental demonstration is infeasible, then also videos of the experimental setup are accepted. Demonstrators will be presented at special demonstrator sessions similar to interactive sessions but with additional space if required. The corresponding papers can be regular papers or extended abstracts. Extended abstracts will not be published in IFAC PapersOnLine.

Special tracks and sessions:

  • Open Invited Tracks promote specific research topics with no limitation on the number of contributions, and an open call to encourage large number of high quality contributions. Organizers are expected to solicit contributions and the proposal is advertised on the IFAC 2020 website. In addition, classical Invited Sessions are featured. 
  • Interactive Sessions consists of contributions which are presented in parallel using interactive presentation screens. They offer optimized presentation means for promotion of research results. The selection of papers presented in interactive sessions is independent of the review outcome, but the authors, session organizer, or open interactive track organizer can request a specific presentation format. Final decisions are, however, up to the program committee.
  • Competitions The IFAC Wold Congress 2020 features competitions, where participating teams are offered a challenging problem to be solved. Further details will be provided soon.

Areas and Keywords

Contributions to the World Congress are expected to fall in the fields covered by the IFAC Technical Areas.

Invited Sessions and Open Invited Tracks

We ask for the organization of standard Invited Sessions or Open Invited tracks. For both the topics considered should fall within the scope of the congress and address specific, well defined issues. 

  • Invited Sessions are limited to six papers and based on personal invitation by the organizers. 
  • Open Invited Tracks have no limit on the number of papers and everybody can contribute to the track. Organizers are expected to solicit contributions. Additionally, the track proposal is advertised on the IFAC 2020 website leaving open the possibility for anyone to contribute. More detailed information can be found at a dedicated website, see

Pre-Congress Workshops

You are invited to submit a proposal for the Pre-Conference Workshops, which will inform participants about the state of the art in specific areas of interest to the IFAC community. These can be half-day or one-day workshops. For further details see.

Submission Categories and Paper Length

  • Regular papers will be six to eight pages in length (excess page charges apply for papers with more than 6 pages). Accepted regular papers will appear in IFAC-PapersOnLine after the conference and might be selected for an extended Journal publication. 
  • Extended abstracts will typically be two to four pages in length. Extended abstracts will not be published in IFAC PapersOnLine. They will only appear in the congress preprints. 
  • Survey papers provide an overview of a research topic and have a limit of twelve pages. Organizers of invited sessions, tutorial sessions and open-invited tracks can provide a survey paper. Please refer to the corresponging detailed descripions of these session types. Accepted survey papers  will appear in IFAC-PapersOnLine after the conference. 
  • Late breaking results contributions spotlighting late breaking work in progress, thus the submission deadline is much later as regular contributions. They will typically be two to four pages in length. Late breaking results will not be published in IFAC-PapersOnLine. They will only appear in the congress preprints. Late breaking results will be subject to ad hoc peer review and typically presented in special sessions.
  • Demonstrator contributions can be in regular papers (6-8 pages) or extended abstracts (2-4 pages) format. They are thought to promote research or educational oriented devices, innovative prototypes and attractive transferof technologies towards high-tech enterprises. Demonstrators expose some prototype or pedagogical device to be presented at dedicated exhibitions. If an experimental demonstration is infeasible, then also videos of the experimental setup are accepted. The demonstrators will be presented at special demonstrator sessions or at interactive sessions (video or software demonstrators). Demonstrator extended abstract contributions will not appear in IFAC-PapersOnLine.
  • Tutorials introduce a field or summarize a topic of general and upcoming interest. They will take placed during the main conference days, i.e. July 13-17, 2020.
  • Proposals comprise invited session proposals, open invited track proposals, workshop proposals and tutorial proposals. They are used for reviewing purposes and shaping of the program only. Details on the requested information contained in the proposal can be found at the corresponding category webpage the proposal belongs to.

Presentation Formats

The presentations will be allocated to the following three session types: Regular Sessions, Interactive Sessions, and Demonstrator Sessions. No value ranking is implied by the presentation format and session type. It is at the discretion of the IPC to choose which papers are presented in either oral or interactive sessions.

The presentation formarts are:

  • Regular presentations refer to a talkwith a time window of 20 minutes with a screen projector. 40 minutes can be allotted for survey papers.
  • Interactive presentations will take place during 2 hours session slots in Interactive Sessions. Each speaker will be allocated a slot with a presentation screen to be connected to a laptop provided by the presenter. The presenters are highly encouraged to include videos, simulations, demonstrations of software tools, in their presentation besides the classical slideshow/poster format.
  • Demonstrator presentations will be presented at dedicated Demonstrator Sessions or at Interactive Sessions (video or software demonstrators). Demonstrator submissions should be accompanied with a concise description of the required space and the required material. Excessive installation costs will be shared between the congress organization and the contributors.


The congress program will include papers selected on the highest standard by the IPC, according to theIFAC guidelines  and published in open access in partnership with Elsevier in the IFAC-PapersOnline series, hosted on the ScienceDirect platform.

Preprints, Proceedings & Copyright Conditions

Copyright conditions

All publication material submitted for presentation at an IFAC-sponsored meeting (Congress, Symposium, Conference, Workshop) must be original and hence cannot be already published, nor can it be under review elsewhere. The authors take responsibility for the material that has been submitted. IFAC-sponsored conferences will abide by the highest standard of ethical behavior in the review process as explained on the Elsevier webpage, and the authors will abide by the IFAC publication ethics guidelines.

Accepted papers that have been presented at an IFAC meeting will be published in the proceedings of the event using the open-access IFAC-PapersOnLine series hosted on ScienceDirect. To this end, the author(s) must grant exclusive publishing rights to IFAC under a Creative Commons license when they submit the final version of the paper. The copyright belongs to the authors, who have the right to share the paper in the same terms allowed by the end user license, and retain all patent, trademark and other intellectual property rights (including research data).

(Revised 25 November 2019)

IFAC Journals

Subsequent derivative publication may be based on the already published IFAC event article. The must, however itself satisfy all the requirements of an original contribution to the literature, as prescribed by the journal to which the paper is submitted. Whenever a derivative journal publication does eventuate then this journal paper must contain an appropriate reference to the already published IFAC-PapersOnline publication. The IPC of the IFAC World Congress may screen presented papers with the purpose of recommending the authors to consider a publication of the paper content in one of the IFAC Journals.