Moving a Conference from Iceland to Zoom


2020 threw up unexpected challenges for everyone with the emergence of the COVID-19 Pandemic. As the virus took hold, many people found themselves working from home and unable to travel. For science, Spring is typically a busy time, with many important conferences kicking off the year. 


The Arctic Science Summit Week (ASSW) was one of the first big Arctic events to be affected by the new pandemic restrictions. ASSW was originally scheduled to take place in Iceland, from 27 March to 2 April 2020. The organisers of this conference had just a few short weeks to make contingencies for a virtual rather than physical meeting.


A report on the virtual ASSW2020 meeting was recently released, "Moving a Conference from Iceland to Zoom - Best practices and Lessons Learned from Arctic Science Summit Week 2020". The audacious decision to move the event online, with just 17 days available to pull it all off, was a risk that really paid off. The week-long series of events included:

Science for a Sustainable Arctic: a one-day conference focusing on sustainability as
well as marine issues in the Arctic, aimed at both scientists and policymakers.
IASC Business and Community Meetings: a three-day event where IASC leadership and
Working Groups annually meet. Any Arctic research organization or team is welcomed
and encouraged to schedule meetings and events during these days.
Arctic Observing Summit: a three-day biennial Summit gathering together the Arctic
observing community to exchange ideas and develop ways to collaborate, share
resources, and improve Arctic observing.

The report is very insightful and covers the organisational aspects as well as the executional aspects of transforming the meeting from an in-person to a virtual event.


INTAROS was involved in the Arctic Observing Summit Working Groups. Roberta Pirazzini (FMI) and Hajo Eicken (UAlaska), together with Alice Bradley (Williams College), chaired Working Group 1: Design, Optimization and Implementation of the Observing System. You can find details about this and the other working groups via the conference Agenda.


You can read the full ASSW2020 Report here:


05 June 2020