4th ICOS Science Conference 2020
Digital conferences are the new reality! Due to the current challenge from Corona, this year conferences are being organized via Zoom, Teams or whatever. All ambitious ideas to meet as many old (read: long-known) colleagues as possible for a beer/coffee/apple juice somewhere at a conference are unfortunately obsolete. And with it also lots of the anticipation for these events.
This week we met many of our colleagues at the 4th ICOS Science Conference 2020. The conference was originally planned in Utrecht, organized on site by the University of Utrecht and in cooperation with the ICOS headquarters in Helsinki. We had expected around 350 participants, made plans for a high-quality scientific programme, for setting up the poster boards, considered which catering proposals would suit the taste of as many as possible and where we would like to meet for the conference dinner. Excursions were planned to the ICOS measuring stations in the Netherlands, boat tours over the canals of Utrecht or a historic night hike through the historic center of Utrecht. All the plans were put on hold as soon as it became clear that Corona will not disappear miraculously as some mentally disturbed people predicted.
Anyway, everything has advantages and disadvantages! Many colleagues would have had to travel to the Netherlands for these few days. You now save time, money and relieve your CO2 footprint. In addition, as a small compensation the ICOS conference is free of charge this year, resulting in almost 1000 participants who are listen to the science! A real plus from a scientific dissemination point of view. Lot´s of our MEMO2 scientists are contributing!
But we don’t meet comfortably in front of a poster during the coffee break, chatting about new ideas or spontaneously planning our next measurement campaigns with someone accidentally standing next to us. I sit in my study (which was newly renovated in the summer holidays) and follow the presentations from all over the world alone, however, even if without someone who loudly maltreats a keyboard or the widespread notorious whispers, and right in the first row.
Everything has its advantages and disadvantages! But for the next conference, I’m already dreaming of the “good old times”…. Let´s see how it will go.
Stay optimistic, safe and healthy. And hopefully seeing lots of you than in the Netherlands, in 2022!