29 October 2020
The academic community was already assessing the merits of virtual conferencing long before the events of 2020 took hold. With an additional need for successful digital conference formats, The Company of Biologists has declared its commitment to progress sustainable conferencing via a new, initiative. Initiated by Board of Directors Sally Lowell, Alastair Downie and Kate Storey, the initiative will provide technical, logistical and financial support to help biologists make their conferences more sustainable.
The benefits of personal interactions at conferences are unrivalled, but their environmental and financial impact have increasingly become barriers to attendance. Conference organisers around the world have already taken important steps towards more sustainable conferencing, but to become ‘greener’ still, many face logistical and financial barriers. A lack of resources, funding schemes and experience within the community are all areas in need of support. The development of new tools and active sharing of information will help the wider community overcome these barriers and shape the future of virtual conferencing.
“There are lots of innovative ideas out there and the sustainable conferencing initiative will provide a central hub of information, advice and technical solutions to help overcome existing barriers to sustainable conferencing,” says Dr Sally Lowell. Sally presented the project plan at the recent Development Journal Meeting, where it was met with a strong show of support.
As a first step, the Company has recruited Viktoria Lamprinaki into the new role of Sustainable Conferencing Officer. Viktoria will oversee the Company’s commitment to sustainable conferencing, piloting and implementing practical solutions for the benefit of the wider community. A dedicated website will supply information and guidelines on how to set up a sustainable conference, and encourage the community to share feedback and ideas. In the future, financial support will help organisers make sustainable changes to their conference formats.
The Company of Biologists is issuing a call for case studies from conference organisers, speakers or delegates with any experience of piloting new sustainable conference models. To contribute ideas, know-how and suggestions to this exciting new initiative, contact Viktoria Lamprinaki.