Key Dates

  • Workshop dates: 2226 May 2023. The workshop will start with a welcome event on Monday evening.
  • Application deadline: 22 February 2023 8 March 2023 (Extended deadline)


Evolutionary transitions in individuality (ETIs) are events of major significance in the history of life. During an ETI, collectives become units of selection in their own right. ETIs of particular note include the evolution of chromosomes (from genes), the eukaryotic cell (from an ancestral eubacterium and archaebacterium) and multicellularity (from single cells). Their study requires inputs from a wide range of disciplines to answer some of the general questions of the field:

  • Are there general mechanisms that underlie the different kinds of ETIs ? Conversely, how do specific instances of ETIs differ from the general pattern ?
  • Can evolutionary individuality be quantified to provide a measure of the progress of an ETI ?
  • What are the conditions for a biological system to undergo a successful ETI ?

The goal of this workshop is to gather a diverse community of experimentalists, philosophers and modellers to foster exchanges and collaborations. In this spirit, the number of participants will be limited, and presentations will be kept short to allow for in-depth discussions.

Organisers: Pierrick Bourrat (Macquarie University), Katrin Hammerschmidt (Kiel University), Guilhem Doulcier (Macquarie University, MPI Plön), Paul Rainey (MPI Plön).

Funding: Macquarie University (Sydney, Australia), Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology (Plön, Germany), Australian Research Council, Agency Directionality & Function Programme (John Templeton Foundation).

Invited Speakers

  • Jessica Flack (Santa Fe Institute)
  • Ellen Clarke (University of Leeds)
  • Renske Vroomans (University of Cambridge)
  • Paulien Hogeweg (Utrecht University)
  • Charlotte de Vries (MPI Plön)
  • Peter Conlin (Georgia Tech)
  • Richard Watson (University of Southampton)
  • Samir Okasha (University of Bristol)
  • Jordi van Gestel (EMBL)
  • Arne Traulsen (MPI Plön)
  • Philippe Huneman (IHPST, Paris)
  • Simon van Vliet (University of Basel)
  • Christian Kost (Osnabrück University)
  • Sylvain Charlat (Université Lyon 1)
  • Etienne Rajon (Université Lyon 1)


There is no registration fee.

Participants can contribute a poster or a short talk. If you choose to contribute a talk and it is not selected due to time constraints, we may offer you the opportunity to contribute a poster instead.

The number of workshop participants of the workshop will be limited to encourage discussion. If necessary, participant selection will be based on submitted abstracts.

Practical Information

Venue: The workshop will be held at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology.

Organisational questions can be directed to, Content questions can be directed to or
Registration for this event is currently open.
There is an open survey.