We were finally able to host “INPPO2020”, the Fourth Conference of the International Plant Proteomics Organization! The original conference was supposed to be a live event in Toronto, and of course in 2020. You can imagine why we had to alter our plans. The conference was hosted as a Zoom event on March 9-11. With almost 100 participants from 26 countries across 14 time zones, this meant early mornings for some and very late nights for others. With these restrictions in mind, there were 5 talks and 15-16 poster presentations per day. Talks were divided into three symposia – Plant-Improvement; Plant-Signals and Plant-Interactions – each with a Plenary Talk, an Invited Talk and three further talks selected from the submitted abstracts, by the Scientific Committee. All poster presenters were alloted 10 minutes to describe and discuss their posters. Research arising from presentations will be published in a special issue of the Journal of Plant Physiology, edited by Drs. Natalia Bykova, Andrei Igamberdiev and Christof Rampitsch. This is due to be published in the spring of 2022.
As the Conference Chair and Zoom Host, I am first of all pleased to say that absolutely nothing went wrong with the technology! I was both relieved and a little surprised. When I first agreed to host, this was definitely my biggest fear: a router crash, a power outage, an obscure firewall restriction… in short, many chances for things to go badly awry.
Congratulations are due to Marija Vidovic and Ivan Castro who won the ThermoFisher Scientific and AgriSera poster prizes (respectively). A special thank-you to these sponsors for helping to make the meeting possible. Thanks are also due, of course, to the poster judges, (Drs. Dominique Job, Sabine Lüthje and Norbert Rolland) as they had to pay careful attention to all of the sessions. Finally, thanks also to all members of the Scientific and Local Organizing Committee members, whose work was greatly appreciated.
The conference was well received. All the feedback was very positive and I think we were all surprised at what could be achieved on-line. However, this is not a hint to our managers that on-line conferences are the way of the future! We still all missed personal interactions, coffee breaks, lunches, evening discussions, all of which form the backbone of every conference. We are all looking forward to the fifth INPPO conference, a live event scheduled for 2022/3 in Thessaloniki, Greece – depending on how this dreaded pandemic plays out.
Christof Rampitsch, Conference Chair of INPPO2020.