Reluctantly, the ECSA 2020 conference organizers have decided not to hold a conference in Trieste this year, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The good news is that we will be holding an online conference from 6-10 September 2020 - and we hope that even more people can take part in this virtual format!
Reasons for our decision
The health and safety of the conference participants and all those involved in its organization are our highest priority. Though there has been some encouraging news in Trieste recently, the picture regarding COVID-19 across Europe remains unclear. Travel restrictions are still in place in several countries, and many institutions are not permitting their staff to travel.
Due to these constraints, and the ongoing limits on the number of people able to gather in one place, we will not be able to hold the conference in Trieste as planned.
However, the huge amount of effort that has gone into the conference so far - especially by people preparing presentations, sessions and posters - meant that we were eager to find an alternative way to share the wealth of information and ideas generated with the citizen science community. We will therefore hold the conference online.
An online conference
The conference will be held online from 6-10 September 2020, with the planned sessions spread from Monday to Thursday. On Sunday the 6th, Covid-19 permitting, we will have some citizen science activities either online or through various local gatherings if allowed.
While meeting in person brings huge benefits, we hope to capitalise on the opportunities an online conference will bring. These include a chance for even more people to be involved, including those from outside of Europe. It is also a chance to explore and test ways of interacting effectively online, which is likely to become an increasing part of how we live and work. We will work to ensure that the social elements of the conference are kept, as far as possible. And of course an online event means that the environment will benefit as well, as a lot of CO2 emissions will be saved.
Journal of Science Communications
The special issue of JCOM will still go ahead as planned. All submissions that met the requirements will be considered for inclusion, and we will provide an update on the timescale for this shortly.
Everyone who has registered for the conference will be entitled to a refund. We intend to charge a smaller fee for the online event, however. Details will be shared to registered participants shortly. If you would prefer a full refund now, please just let us know.
ECSA general assembly
All associations in Germany (where ECSA has its headquarters) have been given permission to hold general assemblies online in 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We will therefore hold ours online as well; the date for this will be confirmed soon.
We’ll meet again…
We appreciate that for many people, the chance to meet their friends, colleagues and peers face to face is an integral part of any conference. We therefore aim to hold an expanded General Assembly in 2021, which allows space to hold some of the events planned for the conference. It is too early to plan these just now, but we do intend to ensure there is a chance for the citizen science community to meet in the future.