IZFC 2021 Announcement
First and foremost, I would like to thank all 436 of you who took part in our October 2020 survey on the plans for our 2021 meeting. Your feedback was extremely helpful to the Board of Directors in coming to a decision on how to proceed. Notably:
- 60% of respondents indicated they would prefer a virtual meeting in 2021
- 95% of respondents indicated that they would be willing to pay between 25-50% of in person registration fees for a virtual event
Based on these views and the prevailing global situation, the Board has decided to go ahead and hold a Virtual 2021 International Zebrafish Conference (IZFC) this June.
We recognize that since the survey was conducted there have been encouraging new developments, not least the rapid roll-out of a number of vaccines. Nevertheless, these are still early days and whilst it was tempting to follow the suggestion of a number of respondents and opt for a Hybrid meeting, we concluded that with the many uncertainties that remain, such an approach would put the society at too great a financial risk.
Whilst we are all disappointed that we will not to be gathering in person in Montréal this summer, I think we can take a number of positives from this decision. The first point I would make is that online meetings are a great way of democratizing participation – and we intend to do everything we can to ensure that as many zebrafish researchers as possible can take part in this unique event, through a sliding scale of registration fees designed to make it affordable to individuals at all levels, from Principal Investigator to undergraduate student. The second point is that this gives us an opportunity to put our declared policy on environmental sustainability into action. The necessity of staging this meeting on-line now will allow us to acquire the experience we will need to operate successful hybrid meetings in the future, when it once again becomes possible to meet in-person, but when we will encourage carbon-free participation through remote access from around the world.
And of course, not only will we be minimizing the environmental impact of this and future meetings, we will also be eliminating the effects of jet-lag! Running a meeting that is accessible to everyone wherever they are located is quite a challenge, but we aim to do this by extending the duration of the meeting, allowing us to keep the daily programme short, holding the plenary sessions when most of the world is awake and facilitating “on demand” access to individual talks.
Finally, I am pleased to say that we have decided to re-schedule the Montréal meeting for June 22-26, 2022, which will minimize our financial liabilities with the Convention Centre and hotels. To accommodate this change, our colleagues in the Asia-Pacific region have very generously agreed to postpone the Japan conference until 2024 – so with the next European conference scheduled to take place in 2023, we will be back on track with our round the world rotation!
For more details of the 2021 virtual conference – and of the re-scheduled Montréal 2022 conference – please visit our website.
With best wishes,
Organizing Committee Chair,
2021 International Zebrafish Conference (IZFC)