The 68th Annual Meeting of the Palaeontological Association will be held at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität (FAU) Erlangen-Nürnberg, in the city of Erlangen in northern Bavaria, Germany. This will be the first time that the Annual Meeting will take place in Germany. The organising committee is chaired by Emma Dunne, Thomas Clements, and Rachel Warnock and includes Danijela Dimitrijević, Elizabeth Dowding, Patrick Hänsel, Ádám Kocsis, Anna Merkel, Laura Mulvey, Axel Munnecke and Barbara Suess, with support from student volunteers and colleagues at FAU’s GeoZentrum Nordbayern.
The e-mail address for all Meeting matters is <email@example.com>.
Programme and venues
A pre-conference trip to Naturkundemuseum Bamberg (Bamberg’s Natural History Museum) will take place on Monday 9th December, where director Dr Oliver Wings will take participants on a private guided tour. Afterwards there will be an opportunity to explore the city and experience the Christmas market. There will also be a pre-conference fieldtrip - further details at the end of this section.
Tuesday 10th December will begin with an assortment of workshops in the morning, which will take place in several locations across the city. The annual Symposium will take place on the afternoon of Tuesday 10th December, on the topic of “Extinction” and will showcase cutting-edge research from six of early-mid career researchers from across the world.
The Heinrich-Lades-Halle on Rathausplatz will be the main venue for scientific sessions, posters, the symposium, and annual address. A dedicated poster session for delegates is scheduled for the afternoon of Wednesday 11th December. Posters will remain on display for the duration of the meeting, including during coffee and lunch breaks. The Annual Address will take place on Wednesday 11th December (speaker to be announced in due course). This will be followed by the Annual Dinner, which will be held in the Redoutensaal, a Baroque theatre in the Old Town.
Conference fieldtrips will include visits to the Messel Pit fossil site near Frankfurt and the Solnhofen fossil quarries and museum south of Nürnberg. We are hoping to arrange one to take place before the conference (Monday 9th) and the other afterwards (Friday 13th) to allow delegates to attend both if desired. Further details regarding these trips will be made available in due course.
The Palaeontological Association and the meeting organisers are committed to hosting a safe in-person meeting. Should developments related to the COVID-19 pandemic or any other unexpected event occur, we will follow local government guidance and will inform delegates of any changes to the meeting format as soon as possible. Excepting a limited number of presenters from low- and middle-income countries (see below), delegates should plan to attend in person; virtual attendance is limited to very specific circumstances and is not supported by interactive online platforms for communications and discussion.
A limited number of oral and poster presentation slots have been ring-fenced for delegates from low- to lower-middle income countries (as defined by the World Bank) who cannot attend in person but who register as virtual attendees and submit an abstract. Any selected LMIC virtual attendees will be required to submit pre-recorded talks or mail their posters by 1st December. Please note that virtual attendance is only available to LMIC delegates, solely for the purpose of facilitating presentation of their research.
Information on registration and abstract submission will be provided here in due course.
The city of Erlangen and surrounding areas
Situated at the heart of Franconia, the Baroque city of Erlangen has lots to offer visitors. The city's many open squares host markets, festivals, and cultural events throughout the year. The Altstadt (old town) with its winding alleyways, independent crafts shops, and traditional restaurants is a must-see, and if you stroll through the Schlossgarten (Palace Gardens) and botanical gardens, you might spot a red squirrel or two! If you find yourself coming to the city in early summer, try to catch the Bergkirchweih, a folk festival held in the largest open air drinking venue in Germany. It might not be as big as Oktoberfest, but locals will tell you that it is actually the oldest, much more traditional, and cosy!
At the time of the Annual Meeting in December, the Christmas markets will be in full swing, with lots of traditional Bavarian winter food, Glühwein, and live music. We strongly recommend the ‘drei im weckla’, a Nürnberg classic, for a hearty warm grub by the fireside.
A short train ride south takes you to the historic city of Nürnberg, home to one of the oldest and most famous Christmas markets in the world, the Christkindlesmarkt. To the north of Erlangen is the historic town of Bamberg, where you will find yet another wonderful Christmas market in the town square, only a short walk from the old town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Getting to Erlangen
Erlangen’s train station is located right in the centre of the city and is approximately 10 minutes walk from the main conference venue and less than 5 minutes walk from the GeoZentrum Nordbayern building.
Erlangen has excellent rail connections to most German cities and the rest of Europe. Direct rail routes link Erlangen to Munich and Berlin, while connections to other major cities, such as Frankfurt and Vienna, are possible through the nearby station of Nürnberg. Further information can be found on the Deutsche Bahn website. Travellers from the UK can take the Eurostar to Brussels and reach Erlangen via train connections to Frankfurt.
Coach companies such as Flixbus also provide direct routes from many major cities to Erlangen and Nürnberg. Delegates choosing to drive are recommended to use the parking facilities at the train station, where cars can be left for various periods of a few hours up to several days or weeks.
For travellers flying to the conference, Nürnberg airport lies just 40 minutes from Erlangen by bus (direct) or train (via Nürnberg), and less than 20 minutes by car or taxi. Nürnberg has direct flights to several major European airports, including Amsterdam, Paris, and London. Both Frankfurt and Munich international airports are conveniently located within less than 3 hours of Erlangen via train. For more information, see the Deutsche Bahn website. International airline Lufthansa offers a Rail&Fly ticket, which allows passengers to connect from their destination airport to any rail station in Germany for a fixed price.
Since Erlangen is a relatively small city, most destinations can be easily reached on foot. The venues for the conference, including the workshops and annual dinner, are all located in the city centre. Taxis, electric scooters (Voi, Tier, and Superpedestrian), and an extensive local bus service are also available. We recommend downloading the VGN app to access public transport options and buy tickets for travel in Erlangen, Nürnberg, and the surrounding areas.
There are numerous hotels and guesthouses within a 5–20 minute walk of the main conference venue and the centre of the city. Delegates are strongly encouraged to book their accommodation as early as possible, as the city is a popular destination for visitors during Christmas time.
We are delighted to be able to offer delegates a special discount on a selection of local hotels for the duration of the annual meeting. A bespoke code will be made available to delegates upon registration, but can be requested before registration opens in late spring via email to the meeting organisers <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Alternatively, accommodation can be booked using the usual online resources (e.g. www.booking.com), as well through short-term let websites, such as AirBnB. There are also numerous accommodation options in nearby Nürnberg, which is connected to Erlangen through regular trains throughout the day.
Student travel grants
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. Grants of up to £100 will be available to student presenters who are travelling from outside Erlangen. 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 PalAss travel grant should contact the Executive Officer, Dr Jo Hellawell (e-mail email@example.com) once the organisers have confirmed that their abstract is accepted. Please title the email “Travel Grant Request”. No awards can be made to those who have not followed this procedure. Deadline is 8th November 2024.
Bursaries are available to support attendance at the Annual Meeting by researchers with caring responsibilities. The deadline for receipt of applications is 8th November at 23:59 BST. Please see the page Palaeontological Association Carer’s Bursary for further details.
Baby changing facilities are available at the main meeting venue, Heinrich-Lades-Halle. Childcare will not be provided, but a list of local childcare options can be provided on request. For further details, please e-mail the meeting organisers <firstname.lastname@example.org>..
Almost all meeting venues are accessible via ramps and/or lifts. The exception is the historic building of the GeoZentrum Nordbayern, which is the venue for some workshops. When signing up for a workshop, please indicate if you have any particular accessibility needs. Queries can be directed to the meeting organisers via e-mail <email@example.com>.. A quiet room will be available at the main meeting venue for use, if required.
On behalf of the organising committee and the local red squirrel population, we look forward to welcoming you to Erlangen in December!