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As promised, we have an update on our intentions for the Society’s July conference. We have received a great deal of feedback and appreciate the concerns and suggestions that have been articulated about the best path forward. After careful consideration, the Executive Committee has decided that the planned conference in Bergen will be replaced by a virtual conference. Please continue to save the original July dates in your calendar, though realize that the specific timing and format will be adapted to suit the needs of participants around the globe and will likely extend beyond the originally planned period of time. We will also be keeping to our original schedule in reviewing submissions and planning for an enriching conference program. Additional emails will soon go out with more details for those participating in the conference program.
We see this as an opportunity to explore and experiment with virtual environments while allowing us to reach people who so far have not been able to participate in our conferences. We are excited for this challenge and we hope that you and the rest of the community will join us in this exploration. We will soon send out a survey under separate email to get your thoughts as we plan the virtual conference format and explore options for a later face-to-face event. We would be grateful for your participation in this survey and any ideas and experiences you may have to help us turn this crisis into an opportunity.
We are now putting our energy towards finding inventive and creative ways to hold the 2020 conference in a virtual format. There are many decisions that still need to be made involving how the virtual conference will be delivered and about whether a face-to-face component might be feasible. Here are some of the principles we are using to evaluate our options:
- We want everyone to be safe and limit the spread of COVID-19,
- We will ensure that contributors can share their work, participants can learn and network, and sponsors can showcase their services and products,
- We aim to be as flexible as possible to ensure maximal participation from those who are interested, regardless of location and time zone, and this might include semi-synchronous options.
- As much as possible, we will strive to maintain all aspects of the conference that you know and love, including but not limited to the Summer School, System Dynamics Colloquium, Modelling Assistance Workshop, Poster Sessions, and Workshops, though we realize that the format will have to be changed for a virtual platform,
- We know that there is no substitute for the interactions that come from an in-person conference. We are working very hard to make sure we replicate as best as possible the social experience and networking of our normal conference. We still hope to achieve this interaction in some way, be it through virtual mechanisms, small local gatherings, or in System Dynamics tracks at other conferences.
We appreciate your patience as we determine what conference registration and sponsorship will look like for a virtual conference. We expect to finalize our plan for the virtual conference in April. When we do, we will reach out to you with details about registration, pricing, presentation format requirements, and program schedules so that you will know how best to proceed with your conference plans.
These are difficult times, with so many plans still in flux. We share your desire for things to return to normal, though realize that this may not happen for quite some time. Many of us are exhausted from watching the news about the spread of the virus, trying to shift our work to home, and simultaneously caring for homebound children and family/friends who may be at risk. Some of us are applying our skills to help others understand our current situation (check out their work here on our new Covid-19 page). And many of us are learning how to effectively engage and deliver online. We encourage everyone to continue to take special precautions to keep themselves safe and help lower the peak of the virus. Please take some extra time to care for yourselves as well as your loved ones. Rest assured that the Society is doing its best to continue to (remotely) provide the most for our membership during this turbulent time.
System Dynamics Society