The AHEAD conference aims to discuss recent advances in human evolution and to spark debate about the academic framework in which research takes place, stimulating the participation of early-career individuals, and contributing to their professional development in the field.

The conference will take place in Tarragona, Spain, and will focus on the most recent findings and methodologies in four specific areas in human evolution: humans and their environment, morphology, molecular anthropology, and material culture and behaviour. Early-career researchers will present work through podium and open-public poster presentations. Each podium session will be followed by seminars about pressing issues in academic training, including career paths beyond research, scientific dissemination, representation in academia, grant writing, and mentoring in academia.

The meeting wants to promote a new interdisciplinary and integrative look at human evolution research. With these premises, the conference is open to all academics but focused on early-career researchers, and will offer the opportunity to explore the diversity of paths, careers, and outcomes that evolutionary anthropology can offer as a discipline.

Aims and objectives


AHEAD will bring together students and scholars in human evolution, and members of the wider scientific community to elicit discussions about the field from an all-round perspective. The conference will foster an integrated view of human evolution research, addressing current theoretical advances alongside pressing issues in academia and science.

AHEAD will fill an important gap in the field by: giving voice to the youngest segment of researchers in human evolution; framing research within the wider context of scientific impact and governance; offering attendees the opportunity to contribute to debates in an active capacity, rather than just as recipients of opinions.

AHEAD is designed around the idea that science is a collective endeavour and it should work toward (I) theoretical advancements, (II) the betterment of society at large, and (III) the preservation of its own community. AHEAD will reflect those targets (i) by providing early-career researchers with a platform to present novel findings and an environment promoting multidisciplinary collaborations; (ii) by acting as a culturally diverse forum where to debate the relevance of human evolution research for tackling the challenges of our global society; (iii) by prompting discussion on pressing issues in academia (e.g. careers, mentoring, equality and diversity) through the opinion and advice from experts.


The conference will be open to all individuals and will favour presentations from early-career students and researchers. Diversity will be fostered (e.g. international promotion, diversity in the background of speakers, international travel grants) to provide a stimulating environment highlighting the variability of opinions, and offering opportunities for international collaborations. Attendees will have the opportunity to actively participate in debates about relevant aspects of academia and science through open-discussion seminars.

AHEAD emerges at a pivotal moment in the history of academia, which is facing several issues concerning employee welfare (Lee, 2014; Ohadomere & Ogamba, 2020), gender and ethnic bias (Clavero & Galligan, 2021; Herschberg & Berger, 2015; Stepan-Norris & Kerrissey, 2016) the inaccessibility of science (Peroni et al., 2015), and the challenges of scientific communication (Ross-Hellauer, et al. 2020). By uniting scholars and students in human evolution with experts in the wider scientific community, AHEAD will foster a trans-generational and transversal discussion on the issues they face as academics, as employees and as members of society.

work cooperation
  • Clavero, S., & Galligan, Y. (2021). Delivering gender justice in academia through gender equality plans? Normative and practical challenges. Gender, Work & Organization, 28(3), 1115-1132.
  • Herschberg, C., & Berger, L. J. (2015). Academic careers and gender inequality: Leaky pipeline and interrelated phenomena in seven European countries. Trento: University of Trento.
  • Lee, I. (2014). Publish or perish: The myth and reality of academic publishing. Language Teaching, 47(2), 250-261. doi:10.1017/S0261444811000504
  • Ohadomere, O., & Ogamba, I. K. (2020). Management-led interventions for workplace stress and mental health of academic staff in higher education: a systematic review. The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice.
  • Peroni C., Murgia A., Poggio B. (2015) Italy. In: Herschberg C, Benschop Y, van den Brink M (eds) Constructing Excellence: The Gap Between Formal and Actual Selection Criteria for Early Career Academics, GARCIA working papers 2. Trento: University of Trento.
  • Ross-Hellauer T., Tennant J.P., Banelytė V., Gorogh E., Luzi D., et al. (2020) Ten simple rules for innovative dissemination of research. PLOS Computational Biology 16(4): e1007704.
  • Stepan-Norris, J., & Kerrissey, J. (2016). Enhancing Gender Equity in Academia: Lessons from the ADVANCE Program. Sociological Perspectives, 59(2), 225–245.

Code of conduct

The AHEAD meeting aims to create a stimulating environment to share ideas and knowledge about Human Evolution and Academia. We recognise that such intent can only be achieved if safety, respect and equal opportunities are granted to all participants, regardless of their ethnicity, gender identity, disability, sexual orientation, religion, political views and social status. As an organisation, we are committed to ensuring a safe and supportive environment for everybody participating in the meeting.

We expect all participants to respect each other, and avoid offensive and inappropriate behaviour. We also expect all participants to refrain from any form of abuse, whether physical, emotional, psychological, written or verbal. We require all participants to respect others’ personal, physical and emotional boundaries, and to avoid inappropriate or unwelcome attention toward others. Participants must respect others’ point of view and their right to express it. We encourage debate and constructive feedback, as long as any criticism addresses topics and ideas, not the individuals presenting them.

To ensure a safe space for all the people participating in the AHEAD meeting, we invite anyone currently undergoing investigation for academic misconduct to reflect on the appropriateness of their attendance.

An ombudsperson will be present at the site of the conference and will be available by email at during the days of the conference. This person will be a legal representative for all IPHES members and a legal counsellor for all conference participants. The ombudsperson, who will be indicated during the opening talk, is the person to refer to in case anyone experiences academic misconduct in the premises of the meeting venue during the days of the conference. For any cause of concern, the participants can also refer to the following organisers: Antonietta Del Bove and Federica Landi.

Any form of abuse, harassment, discrimination, offence, and, in general, any transgression to our policy will not be tolerated and will result in actions being taken by the AHEAD organisation and local authorities, where necessary.