Conference Format

VIRTUAL DETAILS: YOUR QUESTIONS, ANSWERED!

 

Attending the in-person World Congress has many different benefits. Hearing about cutting edge research and commentary. Getting feedback on one’s work, perhaps even receiving a prestigious prize. Meeting new colleagues, or old ones.  Networking casually at receptions or dinners.  By necessity, a virtual congress differs from a physical one on a number of counts. But there are many ways in which the new format will accomplish these central goals in new ways—and enable a much wider range of colleagues to participate. Please see below for how the virtual Congress will work: we hope that you will be as excited as we are about it!

 

IS THE CONGRESS VIRTUAL IN THE SENSE THAT I CAN JUST VIEW HOURS AND HOURS OF POWERPOINT SLIDES?

No, the virtual format is not simply a file repository.  Each format, from keynotes to posters, is interactive and accessible via the conference app that runs on smartphones, laptops, desktop computers, and similar devices.  All programming is sensitive to the fact that WIFI access and download speeds can vary widely across and within countries. See below for each type.

 

HOW WILL THE KEYNOTE AND OTHER PLENARY EVENTS WORK?

With participants in more than 80 countries, we limited the time of live content to be mindful of the fact that presenters and participants will be in different time zones. Each day has around 3 hours of live sessions.  However, each element will also have backup recordings, in case there are technical difficulties, and to enable CC (close captioning).  Interaction for all keynotes is via chat and will be moderated.

 

HOW DO PAPER, POSTER, SYMPOSIA, AND WORKSHOPS WORK?

All formats can be accessed with and without narration by the author. To be mindful of often severe bandwidth constraints in terms of WIFI and download speeds, there will be no video of you, and the focus is on slides/posters and narration (so you can record everything in your pajamas, if you’d like, and don’t need to worry about anything if you have not yet got around to getting your hair cut). Attendees can leave comments for presenters one day before the start, when presentations will be unlocked (FAB starts June 18, and WCB June 19). Presenters will be able to respond to these comments on the day of the actual conference via chat on the conference app. Presenters will also be asked to indicate a time at which they are available to respond live (again, via chat on the conference app). Presenters can choose to be notified via the app whenever a new comment has been posted or check periodically themselves.

 

We also encourage presenters to add a final slide to their presentation, or other note, with a date/time {and time zone} they are available via Zoom or another platform to connect with interested participants further about their work. If you wish to meet with a presenter directly, we highly encourage you to connect through the mobile app.

 

WHAT CAN ATTENDEES EXPECT FROM THE VIRTUAL CONFERENCE?
Participants can expect increased content with all accepted and waitlisted abstracts included, maximizing the virtual experience further and exposure for everyone interested in presenting as part of the Congress. Adding the opportunity for those previously unable to travel to the meeting now can participate from afar safely from their own homes. Each day WCB will offer 3+ hours of live events, registered attendees will be able to submit questions and engage with keynotes virtually through the platform. There will also be on-demand symposium, workshops, oral presentations, e-poster gallery, and mentored sessions available throughout the meeting via the Congress mobile app.  Attendees will have unlimited access to all content for 90-days post conference.

 

HOW CAN I NETWORK AND MEET NEW PEOPLE?

WCB is offering Mentor Sessions to ‘e-meet’ with a volunteer mentor, for 15-30 mins through Zoom.  During the registration process, both mentor volunteers and interested participants may confirm their interests in participating in these smaller, virtual, ‘face-to-face’ sessions. If you would like to meet with up to 5 senior experts (members of the IAB board, the 2020 WCB organizing team, and volunteers signing up), indicate this on the registration platform. If you would be available as a mentor, please also indicate this during registration.  On June 2, we will publish all confirmed participants and individuals volunteering as mentors. Mentees should then indicate who they would like to meet with either in 1-1 encounters or small groups.

 

WHAT ABOUT PRIZES FOR PAPERS, POSTERS, AND EARLY-CAREER RESEARCHERS?

We will still award prizes and present them as part of the live format each day.  To be considered for a prize, it is essential to confirm your participation by May 18, 2020. See here for further detail on prizes.

 

I DON’T KNOW, THIS ALL SOUNDS GOOD, BUT…

You may have plenty of other zoom calls, kids to home school, volunteer work to do, or cookies to bake (because let’s face it, so much in the Covid-19 response is just too hard to comprehend, and everyone needs to do their best to keep their sanity).  We understand all of this, first-hand, not just from working on the new virtual format.  You may also feel that with all the papers you published and all the talks you’ve given, a few less will be ok. But we’d also put this in consideration: Your colleagues need you, especially junior researchers. We provide a range of feedback and networking opportunities, and your interaction is as valuable, if not more, than in an in-person setting. Your fees, likewise, help colleagues from around the world to engage with the global bioethics community. The technological hurdle is very similar to submitting your abstract in the first place. You can do it. It helps others, And it will be fun—wherever you are.

 

WHEN DOES THE CONFERENCE START AND END?

FAB runs June 18, WCB takes place June 19-21, 2020, but all concurrent presentations will be available from June 17. That means that all presenters can respond to comments they receive even before they present. In addition, all material will be available for registered participants for 3-months after the Congress. Despite time zone differences, presenters are therefore able to receive and respond to comments far longer than usual.

 

AM I GOING TO HAVE TO PRESENT OR WATCH SESSIONS I AM INTERESTED IN, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT (MY TIME ZONE)?

With submissions from more than 80 countries, unfortunately, it will not be possible to meet remotely at the same time.  However, our scheduling seeks to accommodate everyone as far as possible. The virtual WCB entails a mix of live and pre-recorded sessions. All live plenary sessions will also be recorded and posted on our website for attendees around the world to view at a time that is convenient for them. All other pre-recorded content will be available at any time during the 3-day conference, and for up to 90-days after the conference.

 

WHAT IF I PREVIOUSLY REGISTERED FOR THE CONGRESS?
Existing registrants received an email from contact@iab2020.org about their registration payment and new options for the virtual conference. Participants who registered prior to the virtual relaunch may select one of the following options: adjustment to current registration pricing and refund of the difference in cost, maintain existing registration payment and receive a code to invite one colleague to participate (a two for one deal), maintain existing registration payment and donate the difference in costs to WCB to put toward bursary applicant registration, or request a full refund. If you did not receive this communication, please reach out to our Conference Management Team (at contact@iab2020.org) for more information.

 

WHAT IF I ORIGINALLY WAS NOT PLANNING TO ATTEND THE CONGRESS BUT NOW WANT TO REGISTER?
We are glad you wish to participate and hope you will encourage your colleagues and local bioethics community to join you as we strengthen global engagement. Registration has relaunched at a discounted rate, thanks in part to all the conference sponsors, supporters, and bursary donations. The funds raised have allowed for a discount in all rates, including the FAB pre-conference too. Click here to register.

 

THE CONGRESS IS NOW A VIRTUAL CONFERENCE, WHY IS REGISTRATION REQUIRED?
The WCB is an event of the IAB. Membership fees, collected as part of the registration, help support the core operations of the IAB, which includes supporting participants from low- and middle-income countries, as well as early-career researchers, with bursaries to attend the WCB.  The 2020 WCB planning group incurred cost before the switch to the new robust and interactive virtual format, and registration is priced to help offset costs. Both conference fees and IAB membership fees have been reduced considerably by around 50% and 25% respectively.

 

WHEN CAN ATTENDEES EXPECT TO RECEIVE CONNECTION INFORMATION FOR THE VIRTUAL CONFERENCE?
Our Conference Management Team will be distributing more information including connection information and login credentials for the mobile app prior to the conference. This will allow attendees plenty of time to become familiar with the app and ask questions before the Congress starts on June 19, or June 18 if you are participating in the FAB pre-conference. The platform being used will be available as a mobile app but can also be accessed through a web browser. WCB wanted to be mindful of Wi-Fi capabilities across the world, so accessing presentations through a mobile app, which can utilize both Wi-Fi and data, felt the most inclusive.

 

WHAT ABOUT BURSARIES?

Prior recipients, and waitlisted applicants, will be refunded for all reasonable and documented expenses incurred prior to the format change in anticipation of the in-person WCB. The Conference Management Team has reached out to all applicants: if you did not receive guidance please email them at contact@iab2020.org.

 

HOW DO I RECORD MY PRESENTATION?

All presenters will receive a notification on how to record their presentations. Your actual presentation will need to be completed and uploaded into the speaker portal no later than June 1, 2020. Once your presentation has been uploaded, you will be able to complete the audio task and record the audio portion of your presentation. It is important that your presentation is finalized before recording your audio. If you delete your presentation, you will need to re-record your audio.

  

WILL CLOSED CAPTIONING BE PROVIDED?

The live stream will not include closed captioning, but the recordings of these sessions will be posted within 24-hours with closed captioning including for participants who are hearing impaired. The concurrent pre-recorded paper, symposium, workshop, and poster presentations will not include closed captioning. However, we are suggesting that if you are interested in learning more about the work that you coordinate a Zoom meeting with the presenter to walk through their presentation. Click here for more information on Zoom’s closed captioning function. Participants can also check with their web-conferencing service to see if a similar feature is provided.

     

WILL THE PRESENTATIONS BE SCHEDULE-SPECIFIC?

Both the FAB pre-conference, June 18, 2020, and the WCB conference, June 19-21, 2020, will host live streaming plenary sessions over those dates. These sessions will also be recorded so attendees can view at their leisure. Because all other sessions will be pre-recorded, attendees can log on to view whenever they have the capacity to do so, beginning one day before the start of the conference, and running until 90-days post conference. Sessions will be sorted based on track, instead of date and track.


DOES A VIRTUAL PRESENTATION COUNT THE SAME ON MY CV?

All abstracts underwent peer-review prior to the switch. While we cannot control the extent to which presenters will engage in discussing their work in the various interactive ways we offer, there is no reason to think that a ‘virtual’ presentation should count less—if anything, the exposure and feedback opportunity from colleagues is only greater and more robust (as it is otherwise often hard to attend concurrent sessions).  For listing your presentation, you might, however, wish to add a “(Virtual)” or (Virtual presentation, due to COVID-19”.

 

THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT AND INTERESTS IN MEETING
Thank you to our colleagues around the globe for your continued interest and support during these uncertain times. As you know, the conference theme is ‘Autonomy and Solidarity: Bridging the Tensions’.  Literally, when it comes to both COVID-19 and the WCB, we are all in this together.  We need to act in solidarity to enable autonomy—despite, and because of, these new circumstances.

 

We sincerely hope that you will help us make the 2020 World Congress a success by sharing your work and meeting global colleagues in this new virtual format!

 

If you have questions or comments, please reach out to our Conference Management Team at contact@iab2020.org.

 

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