Cancellation of the ANS 2020 ASM

On behalf of ANS I am writing to inform you that the ANS 2020 conference in Perth has been cancelled. This was a challenging decision, made by the ANS Council after reviewing information from Governments and health authorities as well as institutions in Australia and New Zealand related to the current COVID-19 situation and the risk to the wider community stemming from the virus. We’ve also taken into account the concerns of speakers, sponsors, exhibitors, stakeholders and potential attendees regarding their commitment to the conference. We feel that taking this approach to cancel the conference is a responsible and appropriate response to this crisis.

Of course this is most unfortunate, particularly as we were planning a 40th anniversary celebration of the Society at the meeting. So I’m very sorry to have to pass on this news, although it probably won’t come as much of a surprise. At this point I should give a huge vote of thanks to the Perth LOC, led by Julian Heng, Ann-Maree Vallence and Stuart Hodgetts, for all the hard work and planning they have put into the conference already. Hopefully we can return to Perth in the future and take advantage of the great spade-work that they have carried out for us.

One of the outcomes of this decision is that all the symposia proposals, that many of you have worked so hard to put together, will now lapse. But do hold that thought because we’ll be needing proposals once again in 2021 and you are most welcome to resubmit at that time. There is some good news, however, namely that all our plenary lecturers for 2020 have agreed to have their lectures postponed until the 2021 meeting in Melbourne. This includes the Nobel Prize winner Edvard Moser.

So where to from here? The ANS Council has established a working party, led by Kaylene Young, to establish an online presence for ANS that will include member-only virtual seminars of all kinds, symposia, and other kinds of events. The aim is to help keep the ANS family connected and building their scientific knowledge, collaborations, and awareness of the neuroscience research landscape across Australia and New Zealand. We will also need to have an AGM (online), still tentatively scheduled for early December, plus a half-day set of online talks to conclude 2020. We welcome, of course, other ideas that any of you might have to help us plug the gap left by the cancelled conference for the 2020-2021 year.

Although we will not have our in-person meeting this year, we still very much welcome your membership renewal (and many thanks to those who have renewed already). Your membership is needed to help ANS keep going and able to provide both existing and new benefits to neuroscientists across Australasia this year.  We need to stay connected, and we need your help to achieve this!

With very best regards,

Cliff Abraham