Given the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, life as we knew it has been turned upside down, but the need for science to go on has never been stronger. In the realm of scientific conferences, with the requirement for social distancing, the importance of wearing face coverings, and travel restrictions, only virtual meetings have been possible during the pandemic. But many are asking: What is the new post-pandemic normal likely to be? Do we still want to have in-person meetings when the restrictions are eased? Assuming we do, when will they be possible again, and under what conditions? Regardless of what the benefits of virtual symposia might be, are they here to stay? These questions, and many more that are being asked around the world today, are the subject of this perspective. Herein, we attempt to provide useful context and insight into where scientific meetings have been, where they are today, where they are going, and how they will get there. Our conclusion is that the pandemic has created an accelerated opportunity to make the world of future scientific conferences better in a "both/and" collaborative in-person/virtual scenario, not the more limited "pick one" choice.
Keywords: COVID‐19; conference; face‐to‐face; in‐person; meeting; scientific communication/interchange; symposia; virtual.
© 2021 The Authors. FASEB BioAdvances published by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.