Rome, June 18th 2021
I am writing on behalf of the LOC of URSI GASS 2021 to set out our thinking and draw your attention to some significant facts and decisions in the organization of the GASS that might otherwise not be readily apparent.
The architecture of URSI GASS 2021 and the “flat registration fee” are the result of two main drivers: the introduction for the first time of the “hybrid” scheme and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. “Hybrid” actually means “on-site, with provision for online participation and presentations”. The virtual platform, specifically designed for URSI GASS 2021, will allow interaction among online participants and between on-site and online participants.
The cost of the hybrid scheme is determined by the cost of the on-site venue and the cost of the virtual venue, namely, the virtual platform, the audiovisual equipment allowing interaction between the on-site venue and the virtual venue, the on-site technical service permitting a smooth integration between on-site and online attendance, etc… From what mentioned here, it is apparent that the cost of the hybrid scheme is larger than the sum of the costs of a pure on-site event and a pure online event.
Several schemes of differentiated fees for online and on-site attendance have been analyzed by the LOC but, due to uncertainty posed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, none of them was viable. The flat registration fee allows participants to decide at any moment to switch between online and on-site attendance.
We really appreciate your valuable contribution to the next GASS. We all work hard to see URSI emerge from the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and be back just as important as it has always been, or perhaps more so.
(President, URSI Italian National Committee)