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Annual Meeting 2020 - Manchester, UK: Overview

Number: 64th Annual Meeting
Year: 2020
Location: Manchester, UK
Hosted By: The University of Manchester, UK
Organised By: Organising committee chaired by Dr Robert Sansom
General Contact Email:


The Annual Meeting of the Palaeontological Association will be held at the University of Manchester, the largest single-site university in the UK. The organizing committee is chaired by Robert Sansom, with help from Russell Garwood and other members of Manchester’s Interdisciplinary Centre for Ancient Life (ICAL) and the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

Outline conference programme

The 64th Annual Meeting will be held from 19th to 21st December 2020, with a pre-conference field-trip with Prof Phil Manning from 16th to 18th December. All scientific sessions, workshops and the symposium will take place on the Oxford Road campus of the University of Manchester, at University Place and the adjacent Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

Workshops and symposium

The meeting will begin with several workshops during the morning of Saturday 19th December at the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. The two planned workshops will focus on: 1) training in tomography and visualization, supported by AVIZO, and 2) public engagement and scientific communication. 

The meeting will continue in the afternoon with a special thematic symposium ‘The Problem of Problematica: pushing the limits of the fossil record’. There will be talks from six international invited speakers addressing a broad range of topics, including geological, biological, ecological and taphonomic approaches to resolving the affinity and evolution of problematic fossil taxa, with important case studies from geological history.

The symposium will close with an evening drinks reception in the fossil galleries of Manchester Museum on the Oxford Road university campus.

Conference and Annual Address

The main conference will begin on Sunday 20th December with a full day of talks and posters, followed by the Annual General Meeting and the Annual Address (speaker TBC) that evening. Following this, the Annual Dinner will be held at the iconic and grand Midland Hotel in Manchester city centre. The final day of the conference is Monday 21st December, and will be a full day of posters and talks in parallel sessions. Talks for both days will be allocated 15 minutes including time for questions.


There will be a three-day pre-conference field-trip run by Phil Manning to the Jurassic succession exposed on the Yorkshire Coast between Port Mulgrave and Scarborough visiting numerous palaeontological sites from the Whitby Mudstone Formation (Toarcian) to the estuarine Scarborough Formation (Bajocian). 
We will depart on 16th December early in the morning from Manchester, and return on the 18th late in the afternoon, arriving in time for checking-in and relaxing before the start of the Annual Meeting.
The field-trip fees will include three days of meals, transport, the field-trip guide and accommodation for the duration (including the night of the 15th to facilitate an early departure for the group on the 16th). The number of participants will be limited to 30 due to the size of the two vehicles that will be used to transport the group between localities. The sections being visited are steep, tidal and quite strenuous. They involve walking down and back up cliff paths and along slippery, uneven surfaces.

Getting to Manchester

Manchester has excellent travel connections to the rest of the UK and Europe. The venue on the Oxford Road campus is a short walk (1 mile) from the city centre and Manchester Piccadilly railway station, which has direct services to most UK cities (the 147 bus connects campus and Piccadilly). Manchester Airport is the UK’s third busiest with frequent connections to a broad range of European and North American destinations; it is a short train journey (~£4) or taxi ride (£20) from the university campus.

Visitors from outside the UK should be reassured that normal travel and visa requirements will be in place at the time of the Manchester meeting; the annual meeting takes place during the “transition period” for the UK’s departure from the European Union (until the end of 2020, at least). 

Registration and booking

Registration, booking and abstract submission will commence in June 2020. Abstract submission will close in September (date to be confirmed) and abstracts submitted after the closing date will not be considered. Registration after that date will incur an additional administration charge, with the final deadline for registration in November 2020. Registration and bookings will be taken on a strictly first-come, first-served basis. No refunds will be available after the final deadline. Registration, abstract submission, booking and payment (by credit card) will be available online via the Palaeontological Association website (<>) from June 2020.


Manchester is a large city with a broad range of accommodation options. We ask delegates to book their own accommodation independently to match their own requirements. Hyatt House/Regency Hotel is on the university campus (Booth Street West) whilst Holiday Inn Express (Oxford Road) and Ibis Hotel (Princess Street) are a short walk from the conference venues. 

Travel grants to student members

The Palaeontological Association runs a programme of travel grants to assist student members (doctoral and earlier) to attend the Annual Meeting, in order to present a talk or poster. For the Manchester 2020 meeting, grants of up to £100 will be available to student presenters who are travelling from outside Manchester. The actual amount available will depend on the number of applicants and the distance travelled. Payment of these awards is given as a disbursement at the Meeting, not as an advance payment. Students interested in applying for a travel grant should contact the Executive Officer, Dr Jo Hellawell once the organizers have confirmed that their presentation is accepted, and before 1st December 2020. Entitle the e-mail “Travel Grant Request”. No awards can be made to those who have not followed this procedure.

The city of Manchester

Manchester is a large city with an historic industrial past, currently undergoing an energetic period of growth and regeneration. This includes a long history of engineering and science innovation at the university, from Ernest Rutherford’s work in physics, Alan Turing’s pioneering approaches in computing and Marie Stopes’ work in palaeobotany and family planning. Evidence of Manchester’s industrial, cultural and sporting heritage can be found all over the city centre and its museums, alongside modern architecture and vibrant nightlife. Close to the university campus is Manchester’s famous gay village, historic music venues, the “curry mile, and a wide range of pubs and restaurants.

During December, Manchester city centre is taken over by the massive Christmas markets with 300 stalls centered on Albert Square. Your local hosts can frequently be found there in December, and we encourage attendees of the annual meeting to make a visit and enjoy some mulled wine with colleagues.

Code of Conduct

By registering for Progressive Palaeontology you are agreeing to adhere to the Palaeontological Association Code of Conduct at the meeting. The Code of Conduct can be found by following the link below:

Palaeontological Association Code of Conduct

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