What to Do If Scientific Conference is Canceled

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Unscheduled Interruptions

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Conferences often require years of planning. Organizers negotiate rates for the venue, travel arrangements, hotels, speakers, and exhibitors. Recently, one of the largest conferences, with 500 exhibitors and attendees from 80 countries, was canceled with less than 2 weeks notice.

March 27, 2020—Army helps make temporary hospital at New York's Javits Center one of the largest in the country. Nearly 3,000 beds available. —ABC News

Self-determination is not enough to overcome flight restrictions, foreign-national screening, governmental crowd restrictions, and social distancing guidelines. Event organizers and attendees around the world are submitting to the coronavirus pandemic. Since March 2020, conference plans have been colapsing like dominos.

Exhibits Calendar

Exhibitor Risk

If an event implodes in advance of departure, you might be able to cancel hotel and airline arrangements without additional fees. However, the likely option for the thousands of dollars your company spends on research and exhibits is a tax write-off. Most organizers allow attendees the choice to receive application fee refunds, apply fees toward a future conference, or convert them to a donation. Some events are switching to a virtual or webinar format. A few are able to nimbly do so without altering the date, while others require rescheduling.

Crowded terminal

One of the highlights of scientific conferences is the poster presentation. Exhibitors prepare to present recent research within a large hall set up to hang scientific posters. Some venues provide kiosks that allow attendees to search and view posters online.

Repurposing Posters

After events are over, many posters are left for recycling by the cleanup crew. Posters that make it back home or remain thumbtack virgins due to cancelations can be displayed for a time within local offices. Of course their purpose is for peer review. Organizers may make PDF copies available through websites.

With reformatting, poster content can be submitted to various peer-review journals. Also consider posting them on your company website.

If you are planning to attend an upcoming conference, regularly review current travel restrictions. Visit the organizer’s website frequently and make plans to adapt to a virtual format by having PDF copies. ClinicalPosters designs and supplies both paper and digital scientific posters for medical conferences so you will not be left without a backup plan.

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