DISC Unconference Amsterdam 2023

Diversity & Inclusion in Scientific Computing

Hosted at the Novotel Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

Sat. Sep. 9th – Sun. Sep. 10th

Application Deadline: Jul. 23rd (Sunday)

Participant Selection Notifications: Jul. 31st (Monday)

Participant Acceptance Deadline: Aug. 7th (Monday)

DISC Program Mission

NumFOCUS recognizes that the open source data science community is currently highly homogenous. We believe that diverse contributors and community members produce better science and better projects. NumFOCUS’s Diversity & Inclusion in Scientific Computing (“DISC”) Program strives to help create a more diverse community through initiatives and programming devoted to increasing participation by and inclusion of underrepresented people.

DISC Unconference Mission:

The Unconference aims to produce tools and facilitate activities that will lead to a more diverse ​​and inclusive open-source scientific computing community. We will host approximately 35 participants made up of new contributors, project maintainers, open source enthusiasts, and champions of community inclusion efforts interested in impacting their community through an unconference style event that will focus on collaborating on efforts to build resources to distribute and share with the broader open-source community. Participants will discuss and generate ideas for practical and scalable solutions, identify best practices, and share knowledge that welcomes, encourages, and fosters community growth inclusive of people from all backgrounds and identities.

Participant Selection

We are looking for participants who want to be change-makers, whether or not they self-identify as part of an underrepresented group.
Due to the limitations of an unconference-style format as well as the limitations of our venue space, we will select 35 participants for the second DISC Unconference. Potential attendees will submit a short application outlining their interests and motivation for participating.

There is no registration fee for selected participants.


Participant Responsibilities

We ask that selected participants complete their registration no later than Jul 23rd (Sunday).

The 35 selected participants will co-create the agenda for the Unconference in advance, generating potential topics and sessions in conversation with their fellow Unconference attendees in the 4-5 weeks leading up to the event.

The Unconference organizers will help facilitate the process of crafting the event agenda by helping to identify themes and sort through participant-generated ideas. The Unconference agenda will consist of large and/or small-group discussions, working sessions, and potentially invited talks. Other possible session formats include: lightning talks, sprints, and tutorials. 

Participants will assume collective ownership over the final format and agenda of the Unconference. Participants expect one another to arrive at the event well informed and prepared to contribute.


Unconference Agenda

  • The Unconference prioritizes project ideas and discussion topics that can be thoroughly explored within the time constraints of the conference. 
  • The Unconference prioritizes project ideas and discussion topics that build upon prior work, for example the work being undertaken by the NumFOCUS DISC Committee.
  • The Unconference prioritizes sessions and projects that will generate resources that can be distributed and shared with the wider community at the close of the event (e.g. documentation, how-to’s, project plans, small pieces of working code).

Unconference Organizing Committee

All are members of the NumFOCUS DISC Committee:

Sample Topics for the DISC Unconference

  • How to set up and manage a “Welcome, newcomers” channel for your project/community.
  • Code a package/script to remove identifying information from CFP submissions.
  • Create a system to mark open issues on a particular project as beginner-friendly.
  • How to handle a Code of Conduct violation in your project/community.
  • Write documentation explaining how to give friendly and helpful feedback on a rejected Pull Request.
  • “NumFOCUS 311” — Design a forum so folks in STEM can reach out to NumFOCUS to help answer their questions on diversity, or to share advice or anecdotes (whether anonymously or not). Sort of like the “NYC 311” phone line where residents can call with any questions and then be directed to appropriate place.

Health and Safety Guidelines

Our attendees’ health and safety are our top priority. We continue to look to WHO guidelines to make the best and most informed decisions around onsite safety requirements.

We are aligned with the public recommendations and regulations. No separate official health regulations for mandatory mask-wearing are currently announced or expected. While masks are not required, we welcome participants who wear them. Masks and testing kits will be available at the NumFOCUS table.

Thank you to our Sponsor

Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation



I don’t identify as someone underrepresented in open source scientific computing. Is this event for me?

  • Yes! The DISC Unconference seeks participants from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences. We are particularly hopeful that experienced and knowledgeable members of the open source scientific computing community will apply to participate.


When will I know if I’ve been selected to participate?

  • Participant Selection Notifications will go out no later than Monday, July 31st.


I’ve never participated in an Unconference before, what should I expect?

  • Every unconference event is unique, but the shared feature is that the agenda is shaped by the participants. Here’s an example of one person’s experience who was new to the unconference format, at rOpenSci Unconf (a NumFOCUS sponsored project).


Is there a cost to participate?

  • There is no registration fee for selected participants. We are actively seeking sponsors to help provide funds to offset participants’ travel and lodging costs; we will update the website with this information once sponsors are confirmed.


DISC Unconference 2023 Code of Conduct Committee members?

  • Tania Allard and Leah Silen