Structure of the online conference, participation options, and technical considerations


Participation via Zoom or Youtube live stream

To maximize active real-time participation, we offer two alternative methods for connecting to the meeting:

a) AV real-time participation via the Zoom video conferencing software and
b) participation via a Youtube live stream (delayed by ~20 sec). 

All sessions will be recorded, made available via the Youtube channel, and linked on the conference website for those who wish to follow the sessions asynchronously. 

Participation via Zoom will be possible via a browser (no client installation required) or via the app available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. 


Most questions by participants (Zoom or Youtube) will be channeled through Slido using meeting codes that will be published for each presentation and discussion panel in the schedule. Slido will allow everyone to post questions in the same manner and to upvote questions they deem relevant. This way, all participants can have a say in which questions will be relayed to the speakers and panelists through the moderator. Asking questions on Slido does not require signing up, but we ask participants to identify themselves using their full names and affiliations as would be commonly done on conference badges, e.g. "Richard Anderson (ESO)". 


To enable "parallel processing" of ideas during the live sessions and to maintain discussions also outside of the live time slots, we have established a Slack team. The meeting moderators will also monitor the Slack discussion for any points to be raised during the discussion panels.

Access to our Slack team is available for registered participants only, and invitations to this Slack team will be sent out shortly. Please note that Slack requires signing up for free using the e-mail address to which we send the invitation. 

Please send us an e-mail should you require us to resend the invitation or to use a different e-mail address.

Daily sessions

The conference will consist of five sessions, one per day from 22 to 26 June 2020. Each day's session will begin at 12:50 UTC and end at 15:10 UTC. The working schedule for each session is as follows 

Time (UTC) Description
12:50 - 13:00 Setup & welcome
13:00 - 13:25 Invited Talk #1 (20min + 5min Q&A)
13:25 - 13:50 Invited Talk #2 (20min + 5min Q&A)
13:50 - 14:15 Invited Talk #3 (20min + 5min Q&A)
14:15 - 14:40 Invited Talk #4 (20min + 5min Q&A)
14:40 - 15:10 Discussion panel (invited speakers & Panelists) + additional Q&A

For reference, daily sessions will run from 5:50 - 8:10 Pacific Daylight Time, 8:50 - 11:10 Eastern Daylight Time, 14:50 - 17:10 Central European Saving Time, 21:50 - 0:10(+1) Japan Standard Time, and 22:50 - 1:10(+1) Australian Eastern Daylight Time. We thank all the invited speakers for their flexibility and willingness to present during such uncomfortable hours.

The detailed schedule for each day will be available on the Programme site.


We will have daily 30-minute discussion sessions led by the invited speakers of the day's session as well as a few (approx. 4) Panelists. These discussion sessions are aimed at opening the floor to the wider community, since contributed talks are unfortunately not possible due to timing constraints for a global live meeting.

Panelists are asked to prepare questions ahead of time in order to lead the discussion if necessary, and to provide further context both to the talks presented during the day and to questions asked by other participants. We are particularly interested in sampling complementary ideas and approaches among the combined discussion panel. Adherence to the code of conduct will be strictly monitored by the session chairs to make sure we can critically discuss the science in a positive and welcoming atmosphere.

Anyone registering for joining in real-time via Zoom will have the opportunity be considered for a Panelist slot. Please provide a brief motivation for your request as well as some background on your field of research, so we can select the most appropriate session for you to join as Panelist. Panelists should be available during all sessions of the meeting (participate every day). Please let us know if there is a particular day on which you will not be able to join. We will do our best to consolidate everyone's schedules. However, excessive constraints will render participation as a Panelist unfeasible.

AV real-time participation via Zoom

We want to accommodate as many real-time participants as possible within the limits of the available Zoom license. AV real-time participation is required for invited speakers and Panelists.

Participants unable or unwilling to use Zoom for any reason are invited to join via the Youtube live stream. Questions & answers will be curated by the session chair and treated equally between participants joining via Zoom and the Youtube livestream.

Please familiarize yourself as much as possible with Zoom if you wish to participate using this method. It will be possible to join using certain web browsers or using the Zoom client app. We recommend installing and using the client app.

Invited speakers and Panelists will be contacted ahead of time to try out the functionality and to ensure a smooth meeting. We recommend that all other participants wishing to join via Zoom install and try out the software well ahead of the meeting. We are unfortunately not able to provide short-term technical support. 

AV real-time participants will be muted and will be asked to disable their own video during presentations. Screen-sharing will be possible if needed.

Security precautions for AV real-time participation

Having tried out several alternatives, we concluded that Zoom was the software most likely to enable the kind of online meeting we envisaged. However, we have been following security concerns related to Zoom closely and are aware that there are pros and cons to this choice. To address these issues, we will use meeting passwords and the waiting lobby function. We believe that this provides reasonable precautions against intruders disturbing the meeting. In particular, we remind participants that the sessions will be recorded, live streamed via Youtube, and accessible in the future via Youtube and the conference website.

Registered participants selected for real-time participation will be provided with the Zoom meeting password for each day's meeting. Please do not share the Zoom meeting password with anyone else to ensure a smooth meeting.

Please make sure to name yourself in a way that is easily identifiable ("Firstname Lastname (institute)") when joining the Zoom meeting so that we can effectively use the waiting lobby functionality to prevent potential intruders from joining the meeting.

Joining via the Youtube livestream

Each day's Zoom meeting will be broadcast live to a public Youtube livestream. In practice, there will be a ~20 second delay on the live stream. Participants will be able to see and hear the full Zoom audio & video, but will not be able to participate in Zoom polls or see the chat window. 

Questions and answers for all participants (Zoom & Youtube) will be collected separately, probably using Slido, where questions can be posted and voted for by all participants. Using Slido will give equal opportunity for asking questions to all live attendees, and will allow participants to upvote questions or comments they consider particularly relevant. Questions will be read to the speaker or Panelists by the session moderator.