We continue to live in extraordinary times due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. We hope the measures that have been put in place by the British Government will help to contain the coronavirus and will ultimately bring COVID-19 under control.
The Scientific Programme Committee (SPC) has been working hard to develop the topics, sessions and speakers for this year’s conference and were very keen to have a face-to-face annual conference this year.
There was a lengthy discussion within the recent BASES Board meeting on 24 February 2021 over the risk of running or not running a face-to-face conference. The discussions included delegate and speaker safety, limited travel, international travel restrictions, individuals’ desire to attend, funds to attend, cost, etc. Within those discussions, the safety of attendees and members was paramount and the Board were mindful of the need to consider the health and risk to our members and the wider community.
The Board felt it was putting the organisation at great risk if we continued to commit to a face-to-face event for this year, and concluded that the conference should be virtual in 2021.
We appreciate that it will be disappointing not to be able to meet in person at this year’s conference, and to network with colleagues. However, this does allow us to fully plan for a successful virtual conference this year, managing members’ and speakers’ expectations from a relatively early stage. Going virtual will also give the opportunity to bring in delegates from across the world, that we would not normally be able to access.
The SPC are now planning for a three-day virtual event, as this will offer reduced bursts of screen exposure to minimise burnout and to retain engagement. They continue to work with our identified speakers and are committed to put on an outstanding three-day virtual conference over 16-18 November 2021.
Further details about the conference and the registration process and abstract deadlines, will be shared with members in due course.
Thank you all for your understanding and support in what continues to be challenging times.