Dear members,

We hope this finds you well and safe.

This important message is addressed to the entire EAA membership and participants registered for our 2021 Kiel Annual Meeting (AM). This weekend the EAA Executive Board has made the difficult but unanimous decision that the Kiel AM will be virtual, not hybrid as we had originally hoped. The Kiel Local Organizing Committee and the EAA Secretariat reluctantly made this recommendation based on in-depth analysis of the options after taking into account present Covid-19 developments.

We are very sad to have to take this decision, with everyone looking forward to meeting again face-to-face and after such a long absence. For our part, we were particularly keen to organise our first hybrid Meeting. Regardless of the longer-term impact of the pandemic, we recognise that offering you a hybrid conference will be a flexible response to the huge problem of climate and environmental change.

But to organise a hybrid AM is one thing; to guarantee and ensure the conditions to deliver the on-site part of the event is quite another matter. Even if we feel confident about the progress of vaccination campaigns where we live, and believe that immunity conditions will be achieved in some places towards late summer/early autumn, diverse and irresolvable uncertainties mean we cannot successfully plan, budget, set fees and make final arrangements for the conduct of the AM.

The 2021 AM will still be the Kiel AM, with its motto, scientific committee and working programme. We are immediately adopting measures to facilitate the transition from hybrid to virtual. The most imminent provision is a further extension of the call for contributions, which will close on 26 February 2021, 23:59 CET. More details, including assessment of reduced registration fees and refund policy to those already registered, will be released as soon as possible on the AM web and by email, to fully inform you and facilitate your own arrangements and changes. In the meantime, we ask that you kindly refrain from contacting the Secretariat with individual requests for information, whether you are a session organiser, proposed speaker or attendee.

Having made this decision, we are communicating it to you immediately as part of our commitment to act in your benefit and do so transparently and openly. This is central to the relationship of trust between you and your representatives in the EAA Executive Board. We hope that you will understand our decision, as much as you can be sure of EAA having now gained the expertise to re-arrange the plans for our AM quickly, responsibly and effectively. EAA organised a first virtual Annual Meeting in 2020, so we have learnt from what worked well, what failed then and ways to improve. We will apply this knowledge now, by organising our second virtual meeting in Kiel.

With best wishes,

Felipe Criado-Boado, EAA President
Eszter Bánffy, EAA Incoming President
Johannes Müller, Chair of the Local Organising and Scientific Committee