Dear HBES community,
The HBES Council and HBES 2022 Host Committee have made the very difficult decision to move our 2022 conference to a fully online format. We have come to this decision based on the following:
- Feedback from our members in our recent survey showing a 50/50 split of responding members reporting they were likely or unlikely to attend the conference in-person in Detroit.
- 70% of our international members expressed significant concerns about being able to travel to attend the conference.
- To break even on an in-person conference, we would have needed at least 400 in-person attendees, which seemed highly unlikely given that our typical conference attendance is around this number.
- After repeated discussions with the Detroit hosting venue, it was determined a smaller in-person conference or a hybrid conference at the Detroit conference site would have resulted in a significant financial cost to the society, upwards of $100,000.
- In addition, there were the continued uncertainties regarding COVID and the interest of health and safety for all our members, though the economic argument alone was sufficient.
We appreciate this is disappointing news, especially for our early career researchers. However, given the facts laid out above, we are convinced this is the appropriate decision to make at this time for both our members and our society.
We are currently in the process of finalizing plans for the online conference. We are looking at holding the virtual conference on OHYAY again this year given the highly positive feedback last year, and we are aiming for the same dates the in-person Detroit conference was to be held (June 22-25, 2022). We will provide a more definitive set of dates for submissions and other announcements in the very near future.
Dave Schmitt, HBES President on behalf of the HBES Council