Next conference:
May 2023 | Dublin

What to do about WTN2021?

As COVID-19 continues, the possibility of a physical conference in Dublin next May recedes. One of our Local Organisers, Damian Kelly, explains the likely position in Dublin below. So what are the alternatives? We would welcome comments from all of you who are our regular attendees and those of you who want to come in the future. We think the options are:

  • Postpone WTN2021 to 2023 in Dublin.
  • Have a remote conference on the same dates as planned in 2021 and next one in Dublin in 2023
  • Postpone 2021 until 2022 in Dublin.

We do not think a hybrid conference is an option. The timing requirements for a remote and for an on-site conference are quite different.

Please let us have your thoughts below.

Comments: 31 (Add)

Simon Jennings on October 15 2020 at 14:33

Apologies for the late response. My personal preference is that virtual conferences can be non-encompassing when there are lots of Q&As and all questions are not addressed. At least with face-to-face conferences it provides the opportunity for private discussion. I favour option 3 (late 2022), with the option to defer to 2023 (option 1). Plus, Dublin is worth promoting!
That said, if a virtual conference was to go ahead it would be useful to have a chat room for each session that lasted over the period of the conference and not just for the period of the session.

Steve Summers on September 23 2020 at 17:11

I have only just seen this as I was able to get away on holiday to Scotland last week. I agree that Option 2 seems the sensible way forward and agree with the suggestions that some innovation in discussion and chat sessions would be useful.

PS I saw lots of wind turbines in Scotland but generally managed to keep a professional detatchment.

Dick Bowdler on September 18 2020 at 07:48

Meanwhile, please send in your abstracts on the assumption that the timetable remains unchanged. If you are not sure whether you want to present, or haven’t got an abstract ready, then let us know via the contact page.

Dick Bowdler on September 18 2020 at 07:44

Thanks again for all your replies. Bill nicely sets out why we think a hybrid conference won’t work - the timing requirements are quite different. On the other hand Lyn makes a good point that there are many people who cannot get funding to attend live. Option 2 is well ahead in your comments but with a not insignificant number going for opyion3. As I say, we will think about it and get back to you as soon as we can.

Bill Palmer on September 18 2020 at 02:37

Prefer Option 2 - Remote / Virtual in 2021 + Full Conference in 2023

Interesting reading the comments of others. I'd support the idea that while a virtual/remote conference may not be as good as a face to face one, it is indeed better than nothing. Some considerations might be: (1) Sitting for hours glued to a monitor watching presentations can be deadly / or at best sleep inducing. Consider stretching the virtual conference over a to 6 day period, but only 2 to 3 hours (Max) per day. It is not like participants would be paying for extra hotel days, and it might allow regular activities to continue along with the conference time. (2) Set some sort of set of mini-conference "rooms" and specify a theme for each. Maybe one per day, not all at the same time, as some may have interest in several subjects. (3) Consider scheduling the 2-3 hours per day with some sort of different alternatives ... eg Monday 7-10 PM GMT, Tuesday 2 - 5 PM GMT, Wednesday 10 AM - 1 PM GMT, etc, so folks in different time zones might all have a fair chance to log in.

James Mackay on September 17 2020 at 23:41

I would vote for option 2 as well. It enables us to continue to share knowledge whilst also giving us something to look forward to!

Lars Sommer Søndergaard on September 17 2020 at 14:38

I prefer the option 2 (remote conference), even that I will deeply miss the networking. I hope that a good solution can be found in order for people to give questions to the presentations, and some way of communicating in smaller groups as well.

Dick Bowdler on September 17 2020 at 08:43

Thanks for all your input. Thats great. We will talk about it in the next week or so and get back to you. Keep the comments coming though.

Ewout Lagerweij on September 17 2020 at 08:13

A virtual conference is also valuable for the information sharing.

Franck Bertagnolio on September 17 2020 at 07:45

It seems to me that a virtual conference is preferred by people from industry/consultancy as it is important for them to keep up-to-date, and that research is moving at a slower pace and people from this community prefer to postpone (along with those who value the networking aspect). I would also prefer this latter option but asap i.e. 2022 (option 3).

Erik Sloth on September 17 2020 at 07:08

I would not expect that a remote conference would give value. Postpone to 2022.

Stuart Bradley on September 16 2020 at 21:45

I think conferences are about meeting with people. So I think a delay until 2022 for an in-person conference would be best. By then it will be clearer how the World is coping, whether any vaccines have appeared, and how the whole conference world and the way research is communicated has morphed.

Joseph Saab on September 16 2020 at 17:14

We have discussed internally @ the Poli-Wind Group, Brazil (4 members at Lisbon 2019) and we would rather have the Dublin meeting postponed until 2022. Meanwhile we may access the most relevant updates via periodicals.
Our best wishes of health for all the community.

Sebastian Wschiansky on September 16 2020 at 14:50

As much as I enjoy the exchanges of our crowd in real, I'm for a virtual conference in 2021. Some way to chat in small group with the authors on demand would be interresting as well.

Lyn Farmer on September 16 2020 at 14:35

I'd really appreciate a virtual conference. As someone who works in the public sector, I'm not ashamed to say that conference fees and travel expenses have been prohibitive for me in the past and so I've had to make do with buying proceedings after the event. Whilst I appreciate the remote/virtual experience doesn't lend itself to networking it does allow for knowledge sharing, which surely merits some sort of remote/virtual format. Thanks to the organisers for seeking views.

Jean Nemerlin on September 16 2020 at 13:55

I think we all need the WTN2021 conferences. I suggest option 2 for virtual presentations and maybe some way to chat in small group with the authors on demand.

Stéphanie Bujold on September 16 2020 at 13:32

I also would chose a remote conference in 2021. We need to stay aware of new developments in the industry.

John Campbell QC on September 16 2020 at 13:25

I am in favour of Option 2. It would be a pity to lose the impetus of the earlier conferences and good to understand the growth in knowledge and practice.

Nicolas Martinez on September 16 2020 at 13:15

I would agree with the option 2 in order to ensure to keep the bi-yearly attractivity of the conference and keep a good overview of the last news in the industry. I have attended a couple of virtual events since beginning of the year and, even if obviously we loose the opportunity to meet people in reality, the quality of the content/presentations remain the same. I also agree with Geoff saying that we cannot be sure that a postpone in 2022 will be sufficient.

Mikel Amatriain Ormazabal on September 16 2020 at 12:57

I prefer option 3, the talk time between presentations is one of the most important values ​​of live conferences in my opinion. A virtual WTN day in 2021 could be enough to have contact and keep the flame of knowledge alive, and if it is possible, return in 2022 in Dublin with a fresh Guinness. Good luck my friends and take care of yourself.

Kristina Conrady on September 16 2020 at 12:31

I agree with Sylvia and Christophe. Moreover, I think a remote conference may offer advantages over traditional conferences. To what extent we can use these advantages depends, however, on the organisation, the tools used, and the willingness of the participants.

Furthermore, I would like to emphasise how important conferences are (or can be) for PhD students. Postponing the conference for one year or more could take away or at least lower their chance to present their research, to discuss with other experts in their field and to network.

Matthew Cand on September 16 2020 at 12:02

I would say it option 2 as well, remote conference...
Whilst not ideal it is another problem of the pandemic (and not the most serious!)
And waiting 2 more years would indeed be problematic.
As we know each other a lot I suggest we could still have some less discussion/networking sessions organised, and allow specific discussions of papers with authors etc.

Geoff Leventhall on September 16 2020 at 11:31

We do not know how long Covid 19 will be around as a problem for the world. Postponing by a year may not give us what we want. So I opt for a virtual conference in 2021. The system we have adopted for Quiet Drones of recorded presentations, which are available over a period of time, overcomes some of the problems of international time differences. What we also need is to make the most of chat rooms and similar to enable small groups to interact.

Gavin Irvine on September 16 2020 at 11:15

Unless the situation changes drastically, a postponement until 2022 is my favoured option. I always enjoy the face-to-face encounters that are a part of these conferences.

Andrea Bartolazzi on September 16 2020 at 11:14

I am also pro option 2. With some adjustments.

The reasons why I participate to WTN are basically:
a. be able to understand novelties
b. be able to present and receive comments on my ideas
c. networking

The first two points can be replaced by virtual conferences in the style we are now generally experiencing.

Networking is harder to replace. And maybe needs an innovation in its direction. For example you could structure an easy way to set up mini chat rooms with max 5-10 participants after the presentations.

Also: freed by the necessity to present papers in three days you could structure the presentations in one session per day for few hours in order to leave time for chats and/or other activities.

Damian Kelly on September 16 2020 at 08:21

The following plan was issued yesterday by the government in relation to the next 9 months of living with COVID 19.

At present the entire county is at Level 2 but it is likely Dublin will move to Level 3 in the coming days/week based on the current upward rise of new cases.

If we assume a Level 2 is returned to in Dublin the following guidance is advised in relation to indoor gatherings:

Organised indoor gatherings – Level 2
These are controlled environments with a named event organiser, owner or manager.
For example: business, training events, conferences, events in theatres and cinemas or other arts events (excluding sport).
- Up to 50 patrons are permitted and in pods or groups of up to 6 if appropriate, with arrangements to ensure no intermingling of groups.
- Up to 100 patrons are permitted for larger venues where strict 2 metre seated social distancing and one-way controls for entry and exit can be implemented.
For very large purpose built event facilities (for example: stadia, auditoriums, conference or event centres) specific guidance will be developed with the relevant sectors to take account of size and different conditions for larger events.

Level 1 is only considered likely with a vaccine so is not a option in this instance.

If Level 3 is still in place in Dublin (hopefully not the case but by no means impossible) the following guidance is in the new plan:

Organised indoor gatherings – Level 3
No organised indoor gatherings should take place.

Based on the above I would imagine Option 2 would be a realistic decision.

Wouter van der Velden on September 16 2020 at 08:03

Knowledge transfer and attention rate is only that high whenever the conference is live, not virtual. Virtual will only attract the regular attendance, and no new attendance. New scientific topics from universities will likely be postponed or presented in other WE related conference, which will be live later that year.

If we have to choose between above options, I would postpone it a by a year (option 3) and from there on, organize bi-yearly on even years. But we are very early with this, It could be all different in a couple of months...

Dick Bowdler on September 16 2020 at 06:39

Interesting first comments thanks. Please send more and all suggestions welcome. For those of you not following it, we are doing a remote Symposium for Quite Drones. The structure is set out at

We shall, of course, be able to see how successful it is next month

Christophe Delaire on September 15 2020 at 23:50

I agree with Sylvia. Option 2 would make the most sense. Breakout sessions for workshops and some organised social activities would be great. We had our MDA Group conference scheduled for early next year and had to cancel it as well. We are investigating ways to have an online version including social activités. Happy to contribute further when I have more info.

Sylvia Broneske on September 15 2020 at 18:45

I would like us to brainstorm for Option 2 - virtual conference in 2021.

We need to come together next year and hear the latest research, oddities and developments in wind turbine acoustics. Waiting until 2023 would mean four years without a forum to discuss and publish as we are used to with the WTN. Academia also will want to have a conference to publish their findings.

We are all changing the way we work and attend conferences. We have moved away from the standard 9:00 - 17:00 hrs working day at least in my international company. For a conference I would get up early or stay up late. I work in standardisation and ISO meetings start at "far too early for me in the morning", but because I want to take part, I will make it work. We have meetings at IEC where we manage for 2-3 hours to include very early risers in the US and late in the evening workers from Asia. It is possible.

We would have to slim down the programme and reduce hours. Give the possibility to publish a paper but maybe not a presentation etc. Have small break out sessions where people have to decide in advance in which group they want to be and get separate links.
I have read the program for a UK online conference this October and there even is a happy hour (well, you have to bring your own drinks and nibbles, but you can still just chat with people).

I think the WTN is just too important for us to cancel!

David Michaud on September 15 2020 at 18:11

Postpone until 2023. Additionally, make available on the website a list of abstracts/summaries of current research initiatives as a way to bring the field up to date.