No, given the ongoing spread of the corona virus, we have decided to make LCIC 2020 a virtual conference now.
Even though Germany and other European countries have started to lift some of its restrictions around physical distancing and traveling, we feel that we would put our participants, you, into unnecessary risk if we were to organize the conference as a face-to-face event. Ensuring physical distance in line with the health guidelines between conference participants would be quite a challenge and only possible with a significantly reduced number of participants. In addition, while we are thrilled to have a significant portion of non-European conference participants, we foresee that international travel will still be highly restricted in the coming months and thus would limit the ability of many participants to join us in Berlin.
We understand that organizing a virtual conference comes with a number of implications which affect your conference experience. In order to provide you still with a great conference experience, we have been participating and continue to participate in other online events, such as the recent SETAC SciCon, to better understand, what works best in an online setting. If you participated in virtual events and would like to share some feedback and lessons learned with us, we would be more than happy to get your ideas and feedback!
Check out the rest of the FAQ to learn about how we plan to make LCIC 2020 a great virtual conference experience!
We have successfully organized two virtual workshops in March 2020 and will use our learnings from these as well as our experience from participating in other virtual conferences like SETAC Europe 2020 to inform our planning. As such, we do believe we will be able to create an interesting and exciting event for all participants. We currently plan the following:
We will ask each presenter to record a 10 min video of their presentation and upload it on our online platform. The video will be available ahead of the conference for participants to view. Questions and comments could then be added next to the video, but we would also ask presenters to participate in the live discussion sessions to enable live discussions between presenters and participants. The discussions sessions would last 30min and thus provide more time for questions and answers. Alternatively, session chairs could decide together with their presenters to provide live presentations during a full session lasting 1 hour. Presentations would however still need to be recorded and made available in advance by presenters, even if they decide to present it then again live in a live session!
We would have started to reach out to each workshop organizer and will work with them over the next few weeks to help the design online workshops that also work virtually. We recently organized two virtual workshops with various interactive elements which worked quite well and are thus convinced that workshops could also be organized virtually.
We will collect ideas for topics to be discussed virtually ahead of the conference via short 1min video clips. We will then ask conference participants to vote on these suggestions based on a virtual survey tool on the day before the conference. Topics with the most votes would then be allocated a dedicated time slot for a group discussion. A set of discussion rules will enable a streamlined discussion format that also works virtually.
Unlike in a traditional conference, we will not impose a specific format on poster presentations. Poster authors will get the chance to upload their standard post along with a 3min video presentation describing the highlights of their poster. Alternatively, a recorded 3 min presentation could be based on e.g. a few Power Point slides or based on the use of a tool such as Prezi. Next to each post a dedicated comment section for questions and answers will be available and poster authors have the chance to provide live answers to questions during their poster presentation slots.
We fully understand that in addition to the scientific and workshop program, networking is one of the biggest reasons to attend our conference. Our focus on innovative formats around interaction and networking is what sets LCIC apart from other conferences.
We will use set up a collaboration space on our Global Life Cycle Community platform for conference participants and will encourage them to upload short videos introducing themselves, so you get to know fellow participants. In addition our live discussion sessions and comment sections, our workshops and barcamps will provide a great way to connect with other participants. We will also offer a virtual networking space called Drink & Connect at the end of the official program where participants can connect with others.
LCIC 2020 is a highly international conference with more than a third of non-European participants. In order to enable participation from around the world, we have significantly revised our program schedule to accommodate as best as possible for different time zones. As such, the official program will take place between 1:30pm and 7pm CEST.
We are well aware that this is still a long time for conference participants to stay engaged and concentrated. However, as we want to keep as many live sessions as possible and not run too many program items in parallel, our ability to rearrange the schedule is limited. After many conversations with the LCIC 2020 Organizing Committee as well as our Board of Directors, we are convinced that the revised program schedule offers the best balance.
Having reviewed various technical solutions, we have finally decided to run our live conference sessions with Zoom. Zoom offers the best combination of features, usability and convenience for our participants. Many conferences, universities and other event organizers around the world have run their events based on Zoom and thus instead of requiring participants to learn how to operate a new tool, we have decided to use a tool that offers most of what we would like to have and conference participants are already familiar with.
We will enable presenters to choose, whether or not they would like their presentations to be available as a download, or not. Thanks to the FSLCI’s webinars, we have experience in restricting content as best as possible only to those who should be able to have access.
We also encourage presenters who do not want to make their presentation available for download to put „do not record“ stickers on their slides to discourage content copying as it is difficult to completely prevent the circumvention of technical restrictions. In this case presenters should also ensure that they do not include material they do not wish to share publicly.
As a small non-profit organization, FSLCI e.V. relies heavily on the income generated through our bi-annual conference. Our conferences and events enable us to promote life cycle innovation globally and a significant decrease in projected revenue would put the sustainability of our organization at risk. We understand that a virtual conference would on the one hand side come with reduce operating costs, but we also estimate a potentially slightly lower number of participants.
Having said that, we understand that a virtual conference cannot replace a physical meeting, especially one such as our conference built around interactivity and personal connection. Hence, we have decided to reduce the participation fee for a virtual event by:
- 200€ for Standard and FSLCI Member Tickets
- 100€ for Student and Non-OECD Tickets
These rebates reflect the reduced expenses for a physical meeting, and also help to ensure the future of the FSLCI e.V. as the host organization.
The unprecedented situation of the global COVID 19 pandemic presents us with a huge financial challenge. As a small community-based non-profit organization, FSLCI e.V. has two main revenue streams: Memberships and Events. Revenues from events such as workshops, our summer school and our conference represent around 2/3 of our annual budget. As such the current situation already represents us with an enormous challenge, given that we are already limited in our ability to organize planned events and also expect fewer people to register for LCIC 2020, even if we were to be able to organize it as planned in Berlin at the end of August.
Given the uncertainty around the possibility of organizing LCIC 2020 as a physical conference, we are trying everything in our power to reduce our financial risk if we have to switch to an online conference. To this end we would provide compensations that reflect on the one hand site the reduced expenses for a physical meeting, yet on the other hand side also ensure the future of the FSLCI e.V. as the organizing organization.
If we have to switch to an online conference and would have to provide full refunds or vouchers to all conference participants, it would put our organization under enormous financial pressure and at risk for the future. As such we sincerely hope that by providing you already with as much transparency as possible about our alternative plans, you will decide to register for the conference now and keep your registration active in case we have to switch it to an online conference. To assure FSLCI’s future, we count on your continued support and hope that you join us in our effort to accommodate these unprecedented circumstances.