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Sustainable conferencing

Reducing the environmental impact of scientific meetings

Hybrid session of the India | EMBO Lecture Course Functional nucleic acids: Recent landscapes and therapeutic applications in Faridabad, India, in 2022

As a funder of international scientific courses and workshops with more than 11,000 participants per year, EMBO is concerned about the environmental impact caused by the events and related travel. Therefore, it not only funds fully virtual meetings but also encourages organizers of in-person EMBO Courses and Workshops to consider hybrid options by providing additional funding. EMBO has also proposed and put into practice several measures and initiatives to reduce the environmental impact, including the CO2 footprint, of scientific meetings. They range from a badge for meetings that implement sustainability measures to registration fee waivers and childcare grants for virtual and hybrid meetings, and have resulted from discussions and consultations with conference organizers as well as our experiences during the pandemic.

EMBO awards a badge to meetings that implement sustainability measures to encourage organizers of EMBO Courses and Workshops to reduce the environmental impact of their meetings. We hope that this initiative will create awareness of the environmental impact of scientific meetings and help to change scientist’s minds and behaviours. More information is available in the application guidelines for practical courses and workshops.

EMBO has interviewed conference participants and professional organizers to learn what scientists value most about scientific meetings, and if and how their needs can be addressed by virtual meetings. We use the report to inform our conference funding policies for the future.

Organizing a virtual or hybrid conference requires considerations in addition to those for an in-person conference. These include technology, preparing and supporting speakers, and managing expectations of virtual and in-person participants. This document provides an overview of points to consider when organizing a hybrid or virtual conference.

The platform is offered to organizers of scientific events funded by EMBO. It is linked to the website and registration system provided to the organizers, offers easy access to talks and poster sessions, and enables communication between participants. Please contact us if you would like to access the demo.

Join the discussion on more sustainable meetings, find tips and advice for organizing successful virtual or hybrid meetings. 

Registration fee waivers and childcare grants are available for virtual and hybrid EMBO Courses and Workshops via the organizers.

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