BIOMOD 2021 Canceled
18 Jun 2020
Dear BIOMOD Community,
Unfortunately, the upcoming BIOMOD 2021 competition has been canceled.
We have all entered a new global reality due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the time since we opened registration back in February. The BIOMOD Jamboree had been scheduled for March 2021, and the dates were sufficiently far away that we’ve delayed making any decisions related to COVID-19 measures.
However, we recently learned that UCSF will prohibit “large” campus gatherings (>10 people) at least through June 2021. This policy makes it clear that we won’t be able to host the upcoming Jamboree in San Francisco as planned. While access to a venue is one factor, the safety concerns driving the UCSF policy apply to our teams for any in-person meeting and associated travel. Thus, it does not make sense to try to find another venue, or meet at all.
Some conferences have opted to “go virtual” and meet online. That has been a good compromise for certain meetings, for example where the work was already completed. However, I’m reluctant to go that route for BIOMOD. Even if we were able to host a Jamboree (virtual or in-person), it seems unlikely that BIOMOD teams can safely carry out their projects in the several months preceding the Jamboree. Social distancing measures will restrict access normal to research labs around the world for the foreseeable future. Many universities are scrambling to refactor nearly every aspects of campus life including closing on-campus housing, migrating coursework online, and dealing with deep and unprecedented budget cuts. We already know that certain funds that would normally support BIOMOD teams will not be available this year.
The Board of Directors agreed that, due to the numerous logistical and safety issues caused by COVID-19, the only reasonable option is to cancel our event this year. We will be refunding all paid registration fees in full.
On behalf of myself, Rebecca Wheeler, and the Board, we wish everyone in our community a safe and healthy time in the months ahead. We look forward to reconnecting under more favorable circumstances.
Shawn Douglas Ph.D.
Chairman, BIOMOD Foundation