The 65th annual meeting of the Palaeontological Association will take place at the University of Manchester from 18th to 20th December 2021. We are aiming to welcome delegates to an in-person meeting at the University of Manchester, with enhanced online access to allow remote participation where possible. The current global situation is highly changeable but we aim to keep members up to date through the PalAss website (palass.org) as soon as we are able to share more details. The organizing committee is chaired by Robert Sansom, with Russell Garwood and other members of Manchester’s Interdisciplinary Centre for Ancient Life (ICAL) and the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.
The hosting committee are keen to welcome delegates to a safe in-person meeting with its concomitant benefits, whilst maintaining and enhancing the internationalism and diversity of the Annual Meeting during pandemic times. We aim to hold in-person scientific sessions at the Oxford Road campus of the University of Manchester, and stream/share oral and poster presentations for virtual delegates who are unable to attend in person. As normal, we will be inviting abstract submissions for oral and poster presentations from participants irrespective of geographic location. Those participants that know, or expect, they will be unable to attend in person because of travel, health, or mobility restrictions will be able to submit abstracts. If accepted, they will be invited to submit pre-recorded talks in advance of the meeting, and asked to attend a live virtual session for Q&A after their talks. Oral sessions during the meeting will therefore be a mix of predominantly live, in-person presentations and some pre-recorded presentations, presented to both the in-person and virtual audience.
Workshops and symposium
The meeting will begin with several workshops during the morning of Saturday 18th. Current proposals include de-colonising palaeontology, public engagement, and potentially training in tomography and visualization. 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.
Registration and booking
Registration, booking and abstract submission will commence 1st September. Abstract submission will close at the end of September (23:59, 30th September) 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 December 2021. Registration and bookings for in-person events will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis. Virtual delegates will also be required to register to access the remote content. The association recognises that these are trying times, and is offering discounts for members - for full details see the Registration and Abstracts page.
The meeting will follow all University of Manchester and national UK COVID-19 guidelines. The former currently includes wearing a face covering in all indoor areas and social distancing. Beyond these guidelines, we note that The Palaeontological Association is a scientific organization, and we will follow the best available evidence-based policy to ensure the welfare of all those sharing space during the meeting and associated activities. As such, we expect all in-person attendees and exhibitors to be fully vaccinated unless medically exempt. Delegates who are unvaccinated or at high risk for COVID should register as virtual delegates. We also expect in-person delegates to complete lateral flow tests before attending the meeting. In the event of a positive test, or if a delegate is required to self-isolate whilst the meeting takes place, registrations can be transferred to virtual attendance. If in-person attendance is no longer possible for an individual due to travel restrictions or to allow them to isolate then virtual attendance will be made available to that delegate. If the meeting cannot go ahead in person due to UK government guidelines/restrictions then all registrations will become virtual. Should such a situation occur then all presenters will be invited to submit a pre-recorded talk and attend a live virtual Q&A session. Unfortunately no refunds will be given in these instances. These measures are in place for the safety of conference delegates, but all delegates attend at their own risk.