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More conferences move online despite lockdown easing

Earma and Commission’s flagship conferences retreat to the safety of cyberspace

The European Association of Research Managers and Administrators and the European Commission have both announced that their major 2020 research conferences will be held virtually due to the ongoing restrictions caused by Covid-19.

Earma told prospective attendees by email on 19 June that its Oslo conference, already pushed back from April to September due to the coronavirus pandemic, will now happen online in October. The association’s governance committees and the hosts made the decision “in coordination with legal and taxation advice”, it said.

The change follows news earlier this month that the Commission will hold its European Research and Innovation Days conference online from 22-24 September, instead of in Brussels as planned.

In a tweet, research commissioner Mariya Gabriel struck an optimistic tone, saying the Commission was “pleased” the three-day meeting would “go ahead as a fully virtual event”.

Earma said it would schedule another conference in the Norwegian capital in 2022. It has offered participants the option to join its four-day digital event at a lower cost than the physical version, to get a partial refund or to get a voucher for the 2021 edition.

As yet, the EuroScience Open Forum, Europe’s largest science policy conference, is still due to go ahead in Trieste, Italy on 2-6 September, having been postponed from July.