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Brown bag seminars are generally offered to update the researching community about ongoing research. Usually held by schools, universities and governmental institutions, they involve lectures, presentations, or talks by researchers, mostly professors about their ongoing research. Professors may visit from other universities to talk about their research.

Brown bag seminars normally run an hour or two. Originally they were scheduled around lunchtime and participants were encouraged to bring their own lunch in a bag, explaining how the practice got its name.

These seminars are something akin to Continuous Medical Education or the CME initiatives in the pharmaceuticals industry.

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