INSBS Conference Postponed

As you will all be aware, across many countries governments and universities have recently been placing restrictions on people’s travel in response to the COVID 19 epidemic, with many higher education institutions closing completely for an indefinite period. This includes bans on mass gathering over 100 people and incoming international travel in some countries including South Africa.

In the UK we have not yet witnessed many restrictions on travel and large gatherings, but it seems increasingly likely that such restrictions will come into place in the coming weeks. 

As this situation develops, running the scheduled INSBS annual conference in Stellenbosch in July 2020 has appeared increasingly unfeasible over the past few weeks. Even if some of us are able to travel by July, many team members or delegates will be unable to attend, or understandably will be unwilling to do so due to the risks involved. We have therefore been working closely with venues and project partners for the past few weeks to look at alternative options.

Consequently, we have taken the decision to postpone the Stellenbosch INSBS conference and early career workshop, to June/July 2021.

I know this will be disappointing news, though I imagine for some it may also come as relief.

Myself and the team had been looking forward to meeting you all in person in July. We are, however, confident that we will be able to manage this disruption and we will see you all in 2021.

We also recognise that now is an unprecedented time of disruption to all of your work and lives. At times like this, we feel that maintaining connections with each other is of even greater importance. We are therefore also exploring digital options to host smaller virtual events and activities to keep us all connected as a research network. If you are interested in converting your conference paper (or any other area of your research) into a blog post for the new network website, please see our Blog guidelines and get in touch.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions, concerns or indeed suggestions for digital activities. In the first instance, please contact Paula ( for all related issues. We will also keep our news pages on the website up to date, including providing more information about what we can offer in terms of network based virtual activities.

Please do let us know if cancelling the event has impacted upon you in any way we may not be aware of, and we would also be interested to hear about any ideas you may have for how we can help you to connect with each other in the meantime, until such time as we can all meet up.

In the meantime, I hope you and your families stay safe and well. 

Take Care.

Kindest Regards,


Professor Fern Elsdon-Baker 
Professor of Science, Knowledge and Belief in Society

University of Birmingham