To: Chairs and Secretaries of the ICOH Scientific Committees and Chairs of ICOH Working Groups
CC: ICOH Officers, Board members, and Secretariat + Australian Organisers
Greetings and we trust that all are well and staying safe in difficult times.
As you are aware, the ICOH2021 Congress was postponed in Q1 of 2020 to February 2022, instead of the originally planned dates of March 2021 in Melbourne, Australia.
The ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic and the uncertainty around its impacts are anticipated to last for many more months and as such ICOH and the Australian Organisers have jointly agreed that an onsite Congress in Melbourne will not be possible, hence the now renamed ‘ICOH2022’ Congress will be held fully virtually, from 6 to 10 February 2022.
A fully virtual format means that the ICOH2022 Congress will look very different to the usual ‘onsite’ ICOH congresses that we have become accustomed to, and various adjustments will need to be made to the scientific programme so that it can be accommodated within a virtual congress framework.
The ICOH2022 Congress will be of a shorter duration and will have considerably fewer sessions, with strict limits on the number of live streamed sessions as well as parallel sessions that accommodate Special Sessions, Free Paper Sessions (oral and poster presentations), and semi-plenary presentations.
All Special Sessions and Free Paper Sessions will be pre-recorded sessions and there will be no live streaming of these sessions. The number of sessions requested originally by the Scientific Committees and Working Groups in Q4 of 2019 will have to be reduced significantly as there is a limit to the number of presentations that can be accommodated in the virtual format of the congress.
Within the next few weeks, all ICOH Scientific Committees and Working Groups, as well as ad hoc committees (i.e. external organisations and groups other than ICOH entities) that submitted requests and proposals for Special Sessions will be contacted individually by the ICOH VP for Scientific Committees and/or the Australian Organisers. They will be requested to revisit and reformat their original submissions and to make the necessary adjustments to reduce the number of sessions for each Scientific Committee. The submitters of Special Session proposals will also be requested to consider including some COVID-19 aspect(s) in their revised Special Session proposals, if applicable.
As had been the case from the outset, preference will be given to Special Sessions that are organised collaboratively and involve more than one Scientific Committee and/or Working Group. Several Scientific Committees submitted proposals for multiple sessions, but these will need to be streamlined and many will have to fall away, due to the constraints of the virtual format. We will make decisions jointly in a manner that is as fair as possible so that all Scientific Committees that did submit proposals can be represented in the congress, even though they will be granted fewer sessions. We may also propose that certain Special Sessions on similar topics be merged and be organised collaboratively by ‘new combinations’ of Scientific Committees and/or Working Groups.
The virtual format cannot accommodate any Scientific Committee business meetings as there are strict limits for live streaming time. Please make your own arrangements for business meetings using Zoom or similar platforms.
For the last few months, ICOH and the Australian Organisers have been in the process of debating and discussing the changes that are required for a virtual congress to be possible, and once these issues have been agreed upon and finalised, new announcements and communications will be shared with all ICOH members on the way forward, new timelines for registration and submission of abstracts, and other relevant information.
We will work together to make ICOH2022 a successful ICOH congress, even though it will look very different to past ICOH congresses.
With thanks and best wishes, and we look forward to collaborating with you all.
VP for ICOH Scientific Committees – Claudina Nogueira
Australian Organisers of the ICOH2022 Congress – Malcolm Sim, Deborah Glass, Desmond Gul