Society for Neuroscience cancels in-person assembly | Spectrum
Discarded Plans: The decision followed a Spectrum survey that found that most autism researchers did not plan to take part in it in person.
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The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) annual meeting, which typically attracts more than 30,000 researchers, postdocs and PhD students from around the world, will be held entirely online, the organization said today.
The face-to-face portion of the conference was scheduled for November 13-16 at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois. The company made the decision, according to the announcement, in view of “the continued proliferation of the SARS-CoV-2 delta variant, which resulted in a significant number of personal speakers withdrawing and preventing SfN from delivering much of its information -Person programming. “
The SfN Council also cited “pandemic-related travel restrictions for non-US travelers” which “have led to a significant decline in registrations and hotel reservations”.
A survey published by Spectrum on Monday found that out of 138 respondents, 109 autism researchers did not want to attend the conference online or virtually. Only 10 people said they wanted to attend in person.
“I don’t understand what has changed today compared to a few weeks ago,” says Amanda Kentner, professor of psychology at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Boston. The email announcing the change did not contain a specific reason. Kentner did not plan to attend the face-to-face meeting, but says she feels sorry for those who did.
After the announcement, the phone number of the SfN Housing website played an automatic recording: “All reservations booked through SfN Housing are automatically canceled without penalty and no further action is required.”
In the notice of cancellation, the SfN offered the personal registrants “access to the entire fully virtual Neuroscience Meeting 2021 with a full scientific program, virtual posters and networks”. They also wrote that “as a thank you for their continued loyalty, all Neuroscience 2021 registrants will receive a 50 percent discount on SfN membership 2022”.
“Membership discount 2022? No, I need my money back… ”wrote Chimuanya Kween Agba, a PhD student in neuroscience at the University of California, San Diego, on Twitter.
Membership discount 2022? well, i need my money back … https://t.co/XBfUg0s62W
– Kween Agba (@KweenAgba) October 8, 2021
Other researchers whose flights were already booked worried about their students and how they would be reimbursed through their university or research grants.
“I wouldn’t be spending $ 485 on a virtual conference, and as #newPI that’s pretty high on my conference budget anyway,” Elizabeth McCullagh, assistant professor of integrative biology at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, wrote on Twitter. “Not to mention the flights that I have already booked for myself and my student.”
100% agree. I wouldn’t be spending $ 485 on a virtual conference, and as #newPI, that’s pretty much for my conference budget anyway. Not to mention the flights I’ve already booked for myself and my student. @SfNtweets do it better. https://t.co/i78Cs0JVvV
– Dr. Liz McCullagh (@ZaarlyLiz) October 8, 2021
“I understand this was a tough decision, but you need to offer a refund option on existing registrations,” wrote Benjamin Saunders, assistant professor of neuroscience at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, on Twitter. “People paid hundreds of dollars expecting to go in person. A reduced membership fee next year is not enough. “
I understand this was a tough decision to make, but you need to offer a refund option on existing registrations. People paid hundreds of dollars expecting to go in person. A reduced membership fee for the next year is not enough.
– Benjamin Saunders (@BenSaunders) October 8, 2021
Audrey Brumback, Assistant Professor of Neurology at the University of Texas at Austin, was also planning to skip the conference this year. The change in plans “sure does make me less crazy,” she says.
“Looks like the leadership at SfN read your article and said, ‘Brumback won’t work’,” joked Brumback. “‘We’re calling it up.'”
Quote this article: https://doi.org/10.53053/SFHQ3441