WMS Members respond enthusiastically to our survey on future events

Our heartfelt thanks to over 300 members who kindly responded to our survey about future WMS events.  We have listened to our members, the global delegate community and their feedback, data and responses have translated into discussions, decisions and planning.  

As a society that thrives on networking and shared ideas, we were very keen to return to in person events but at the same time wanted to ensure that the WMS were making decisions based on our members requirements, feelings and instincts around the pandemic.  Naturally, we have also had to take into account precautions and restrictions in place for the country holding the event and countries where attendees will be travelling from.  

We thought we would share some of the findings which have really guided us in our discussions:  

Q: Which statement(s) describes your current comfort level about attending an event in person? I am happy to attend an ‘in person’ event...
58% of respondents agreed they would be happy - once government restrictions are lifted, 46% agreed if others had been vaccinated and 36% if the venue was implementing measures.  A strong response! (NB respondents could tick more than one box)

Going ahead with an in-person event, would mean taking appropriate precautions to enable members to attend.  Not surprisingly, we had some clear feelings expressed in this respect.

Q: If the Congress was implementing additional measures which were communicated in advance, what would encourage you to attend?
Overwhelmingly “Reasonable cancellation terms” was the key finding here alongside other precautions such as face masks, hand sanitation etc.

Q: Would you be happy to participate in the traditional WMS networking activities (Welcome Reception, Networking Excursion and Congress Dinner) without social distancing?
Networking is clearly a key benefit of meeting in person so when we asked the question above, the majority said “yes” – 65% with almost 19% undecided.  

Not surprisingly many people were keen for us to retain a virtual element for the congress.  It makes sense not only for the uncertainty of Covid restrictions but (as pointed out) also for environmental and cost concerns.

  • ‘Virtual has mainly its advantages on ease of attending the meetings and being able to completely see the presentation up close.’
  • ‘Virtual is much more practical for me in general.  The cost of traveling is sometimes prohibitive, even before COVID arrived.’

We had a huge number of members looking forward to meeting each other and networking in person, (assuming certain precautions were in place).

  • ‘in person' events allow much more personal discussions, also spontaneous ones and in groups’  
  • ‘in person much more effective especially for WMS where much that happens is not scripted’
  • ‘I can't even begin to compare to in-person meetings in terms of true interactions, both scientific exchanges, and social interactions’

So, when we asked this question;

Q: If there aren’t any travel restrictions, are you planning to attend next year’s WMS Congress in Halifax, Canada, in person?
The response saw 56% say they would come with 31% undecided.  

WMS 2022 Congress
As a result, we have decided to go ahead with an in-person event in Halifax, Canada for the 27th Annual WMS Congress.  In response to member requests we have planned this as a “hybrid” event so that those unable to attend in-person can still participate in many aspects of the congress.  Of course, we’re closely monitoring the situation and keeping in regular contact with the local health authorities and the venue to ensure the health and safety of all on site participants.  We will be updating the website with any further developments, but in the meantime please visit the 2022 congress website for key dates, Covid information and to register soon: Home - WMS 2022

Published on 26 January 2022.

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