ISAO 2023

July 10-14, 2023
University of Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada

The Interdisciplinary School on Applied Ontology (ISAO) is the premier educational forum for acquiring and deepening knowledge in ontology – its foundations, applications, and interconnections with related areas.

Target audience

  • PhD students
  • PostDocs and researchers
  • Ontologists from business, industry and society

Leading experts in applied ontology (AO), formal ontology, modeling, semantics and neighboring fields teach various basic courses as well as engage in interactive formats for deepening the knowledge of all participants, providing a full immersion experience in AO for all levels of expertise. As yet, facilitators include Michael Gruniger, Giancarlo Guizzardi, Robert Hoehndorf, Maria Keet, and Barry Smith (more info below).

Important Dates and Schedule

(coarse structure, as of February 2023)

  • Registration not before March 2023
  • Event on July 10-14
    • approximately 3 days (July 10-12/13) of courses (rather introductory)
    • approximately 2 days (July 13-14) of interactive formats (introductory to advanced)

Content of Courses

(shall include, as of February 2023)

  • AO overview
  • Ontological analysis and principles
  • Top-level ontologies
    • confirmed: tutorial on BFO (by Barry Smith)
  • Bio-ontologies
  • Representation of and logics for ontologies
  • Ontology engineering, managements and methods
  • relations to
    • conceptual modeling
    • cognitive science
    • machine learning and artificial intelligence
    • semantic web and knowledge graphs
    • terminology


  • Michael Gruninger, Semantic Technologies Lab, Toronto, Canada
  • Giancarlo Guizzardi, Semantics, Cybersecurity and Services, University of Twente, Netherlands
  • Robert Hoehndorf, Bio-Ontology Research Group, KAUST, Thuwal, Saudi Arabia
  • Maria Keet, Knowledge Engineering, Cape Town, South Africa
  • Oliver Kutz, Cognitive and Conceptual Modeling Research Group, Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Italy
  • Barry Smith, Department of Philosophy, University at Buffalo and National Center for Ontological Research, Buffalo, United States

plus: 2 inquiries pending confirmation.

More details on the program and facilitators will be announced soon.

Fees, Expenses and Grants (tentative info)

We aim at keeping fees to a minimum and offering 5-day and 2-day registrations, where the latter will apply to joining on July 13-14 only. The 2023 fees are not yet fixed, but shall appear here as soon as possible. The fees of former editions are available via the ISAO history pages.

Cheap accommodation options (below 50 CAD / 40 USD / 35 EUR per night) ease expenses preferentially for student participants. Grants, if any, depend on external funding and may materialize for

  •  waiving or reducing ISAO fees
  •  covering budget accommodation
  •  partial coverage of travel expenses (if at all, in very few cases)

Early expressions of interest, though perceived as non-binding, support us in calculating lower fees.

Associated events

Co-located with and

  • preceding FOIS 2023 (the International Conference on Formal Ontology in Information Systems held from July 17-20 in person and September 18-20 online)
  • sharing selected sessions with EINS 2023 (the first Interdisciplinary Summer School in Digital Health
    (École d’été interdisciplinaire en numérique de la santé; primarily in French)

Complementing ESAO, the Educational Series of Applied Ontology, a continuous series of virtual educational sessions.


 For more information, please send an email to


The ISAO series is run by the International Association for Ontology and its Applications (IAOA) and is held jointly with FOIS every two years, typically in the week just before. ISAO 2023 is the 5th instance, after 2012/14/16/18 and 5 years of an undesired gap, and hosted by the University of Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada.

Thanks to local organization support in 2023 by

  • Jean-François Ethier
  • Christina Khnaisser
  • Anne-Marie Cloutier
  • Angèle Gosselin
  • Sarah Bilodeau
  • Maryse Couture
  • Karine Gagnon
  • Jeanne Morin

General Chairs

Frank Loebe, University of Leipzig, Germany

Daniele Porello, University of Genova, Italy

Our Partners