The coronavirus, a.k.a. COVID-19, is spreading across the globe at a concerning pace. And, while researchers and public health officials are still struggling to answer some basic questions, being everything from sporting events to concerts are being cancelled in hopes of at least slowing down its spread.
Scientific meetings and conferences are not immune to these cancellations. (Yes, pun intended. We can’t forget to laugh.) The March Meeting of the American Physical Society (APS) — which was supposed to be held in Denver on March 2-6 — was cancelled the day before it was to begin.
How might researchers keep from cancelling their scientific conferences, meetings and workshops?
KI would like to suggest you consider going virtual.
We’ve been using some simple tools over the years to facilitate virtual meetings for scientists. We began this because we wanted to reduce the carbon footprint and increase inclusion of scientific events. We know that we have the responsibility to take better care of the planet. We also know that innovation relies on diversity. We saw virtual events as a way to make a positive impact on the world and on science.
Our clients have found that these virtual workshops are as productive — and in some cases more productive — than the in-person events.
Now, we’d like to share what we’ve learned with the scientific community so that COVID-19 doesn’t result in the progress of science grinding to a halt. We want you to be able to do what we have been doing: converting in-person meetings to virtual ones.
Since we started offering virtual workshops, we have run them for the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and universities around the world. We’ve been prototyping virtual events for over a decade and feel that we hit our stride in 2018 with a workshop called CoPe (Coastlines and People). In December 2019, we used it to facilitate part of the Reintegrating Biology Jumpstarts in which 400 biologists came together in Atlanta, Austin, San Diego and online. Meeting participants formed teams across sub-disciplines and produced vision papers that were later synthesized into white papers for publication. (More on that coming soon!)
We’ll be sharing this information as part of two free webinars March 13 & 17, 2020.
We all hope life (and scientific meetings) will go on as planned in the near future. Until then, consider going virtual.