FAQ

When & where?
Life 2021 will be held in Tampere, Finland from the late afternoon of Sunday 29 August, through until lunchtime on Friday 3 September. All scientific sessions, including posters and networking, trade exhibitions, the public-access session, catered lunches, coffees and the welcome reception, will be held in Tampere Hall (Tampere-talo), one of the premier conference facilities of the Nordic region. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the congress has been rescheduled from the earlier dates in 2020.

Who is organizing?
The congress is organized by Tampere University, with EMBO (the European Molecular Biology Organization, Europe’s life-sciences academy). The lead organizer is Howy Jacobs, assisted by an executive team comprising Anna Vallius, Troy Faithfull and Anja Rovio, each handling different aspects (outlined below). The university’s congress office handles registrations, finance, invited speaker travel and accommodation arrangements and overall logistics, with input from EMBO staff and from Tampere Hall as appropriate.

Who will participate?
Life 2021 is aimed at an academic audience of up to 2500 participants, representing all career levels in molecular life sciences, from across Europe and beyond. Life 2021 will also welcome participants from the private and voluntary sectors and from ancillary domains such as healthcare, publishing, media, enterprise and education. Invited speakers are mostly from Europe and North America, although all continents should be represented. Many of the programme components will be geared to the needs of young scientists, but more senior investigators will also be able to benefit from interactions with those from outside of their immediate field.

What are the programme components?
Life 2021 will comprise (1) an opening event on Sunday 29 August; (2) plenary symposia on a broad range of scientific subjects: (3) thematically linked workshop series on scientific, societal and professional topics; (4) electronic poster/networking sessions; (5) a trade exhibition for suppliers of products and services to life scientists; (6) a public-access session on ‘Future Medicine – for People and the Planet’, accompanied by a ‘showcase’ exhibition for local businesses in relevant sectors; (7) a varied social programme with Finnish flavours and (8) a grand fiesta on Thursday 2 September in Tampere city centre, held jointly with a major arts and music festival that will follow on from the congress.

What are plenary symposia?
These will occupy nine 90-minute slots in the programme, divided into five topic areas: development & regeneration; metabolism; attack and defence; cells, tissues and homeostasis; sensation and cognition. No other programme elements will be scheduled in competition with the plenaries. Although covering a wide spectrum of topics, each session will have a more specific focus. The plenary sessions will each comprise three 25 minute presentations by leading international experts from the relevant field, chaired by two guest moderators from the Nordic region.

Who are the invited speakers in the plenary symposia?
The full list of speakers is published here. They have been selected by the session chairs to represent the latest findings from each of the stated fields, as well as the foundational advances on which they have been built.

What about other topics not specifically included in the above headings?
The workshops programme, described below, will address many other topic areas from molecular biology and its allied fields. There should be something – hopefully quite a lot – for everyone.

How will the workshops be organized?
The workshops will take up most of the remaining 90-minute slots on the programme. There will be about 70-80 workshops in total, arranged in parallel sessions. To make sure that all of the different interest groups have something that caters for them throughout the congress, the workshops will be grouped into consecutive series that represent major thematic areas, such as ‘plant sciences’, ‘biotechnology’, ‘nucleic acids’ and so on. A number of the workshops will belong to more than one such series, so as to build bridges between different research communities. There will be no obligation on attendees to attend any specific workshop or series of workshops, so everyone will be free to mix and match as they please.

What topics will be covered in the ‘societal and professional’ workshops?
The workshops programme is still partly under construction, but it will address issues in scientific publishing and communication, in public trust relating to subjects such as GMOs, in ways of promoting equality, diversity and inclusion in science, and in translating discovery into useful innovations through science-based entrepreneurship. There will be a ‘mini-series’ on bioscience in the food and drinks industry, as well as one on technologies addressing climate change.

Will I be able to attend both scientific and societal/professional workshops?
Yes – there is absolutely no restriction, and the societal/professional workshops will also be arranged in thematically linked series so that related topics don’t clash with one another.

What is the format of the workshops?
The formats will vary according to the topic and the wishes of each workshop convenor. Some workshops will comprise invited talks only; others will consist mainly of short talks selected by the convenor from submitted abstracts. Others will be framed as, or at least will include, panel discussions or debates. Still others will involve hands-on exercises, and some will also include poster-flash presentations.

Will there be contributed talks and if so, how are these going to be selected?
Most of the scientific workshops will include contributed talks, and abstract submission will open shortly after pre-registration, via a separate form to be accessed via the conference website.

Can I submit more than one abstract?
This will be perfectly possible where appropriate, especially if participants wish to contribute both to a scientific workshop and to one of the societal/professional ones. Unless advised otherwise, all submitted abstracts will be considered for oral presentation at all relevant workshops. Those not able to be selected for oral presentation can be presented in poster format (see below).

What poster format should I plan for?
All posters will be electronic, and will be accessible both on personal laptops and tablets, as well as on dedicated screens throughout the conference venue. Numbered posters in PDF format will be displayed on specific screens at advertised times during the poster sessions, with the poster presenter in attendance to guide audience members through the work depicted. At times outside of the ‘official’ poster sessions, e.g. during lunch or coffee breaks, posters may be called up to any screen that is free, for ad hoc viewing or presentation. About 90 such screens will be available for the use of congress participants.

What will happen at the opening event?
Details are still under negotiation, but it is planned that the opening ceremonies will include presentations by the laureates of a major European prize in biomedical science, followed by a sparkling wine and finger-food reception in their honour and that of the congress as a whole, hosted by the City of Tampere, with some artistic and musical entertainment.

Who will exhibit in the trade exhibition?
Please note that there are two separate exhibitions during Life 2021. The trade exhibition will be open during the first three full days of the congress, and will provide opportunities for manufacturers of equipment, materials and services for life-science research to present their latest items and concepts to the communities that make use of them. Scientists can also use this as a means to provide product feedback and communicate their needs in the reverse direction – i.e. to the reps of the manufacturers, suppliers and providers of research tools. On the Thursday of Life 2021 (2 September) there will be a separate exhibition that we here describe as the ‘showcase’ exhibition, described below.

Who will exhibit in the ‘showcase’ exhibition’?
The ‘showcase’ exhibition will be open only on Thursday 2 September. As its name indicates, the showcase exhibition will be for local businesses and agencies in the relevant sectors (healthcare, cleantech, environmental management, industrial biotech, food and agribusiness and so on) to advertise their existence and their products/services to at least two target audiences, namely the scientists from all over Europe who are the participants in Life 2021, as well as young people from local high-schools, who will be attending the public session that day. For the first target group, the main aim will be to attract collaborations and market opportunities abroad. For the second target group, this will offer a window on what a career in science can lead to locally, thus expanding the pool of highly motivated potential future employees. The exhibition will be in the lobby areas of Tampere Hall, and will be open to all congress participants during the day.

Where will the exhibitions be held?
The exhibitions will be held in the open spaces of Tampere Hall, interspersed with service points for coffee and snacks, so as to maximize access and exposure for exhibitors and congress participants.

How can I reserve an exhibitor space for my company or organization?
All details can be found on the congress website, life-2021.org. Space will be marketed at very low cost, so we can maximize exposure and interactions between all the relevant

What is the subject of the public session?
Future Medicine – for People and the Planet.

Who will attend the public session?
The session will be open to all congress participants, as well as members of the public on a pre-registration basis. The majority of the public audience will be science students from local and regional high-schools, attending with their teachers via an organized pre-registration. Transport from remote locations will be arranged. An audience of up to 1000 can be accommodated. In addition, the public session will be live-streamed to participating high-schools worldwide.

What is the format of the public session?
The public attendees will first be free to mix and mingle with the scientists and exhibitors at the showcase exhibition, where coffee and snacks will be served. The public symposium on ‘Future Medicine – for People and the Planet’ will be in the main auditorium of Tampere Hall, and will consist of 5-6 inspirational short talks by selected speakers from the main congress. These will highlight globally significant breakthroughs arising from bioscience discovery, that can address the most pressing problems of our age. This will be followed by a moderated panel discussion involving all speakers from the session, fielding selected questions submitted in advance by the participating high-school students.

What is the ‘Tango for Life’ fiesta on Thursday 2 September?
All congress participants will be automatically registered for this event, which will be organized jointly with the ‘World of Tango’ music and arts festival. ‘Tango for Life’ will be held in the city centre in an enclosed area, providing food and drink to festival and congress participants, along with suitable entertainment. A large part of the area will be open to members of the public who will be able to purchase food and drink, turning the event into a community celebration of science, music and popular culture. Tango for Life is sponsored by the city and region of Tampere, and by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture.

Is there anything else in the social programme?
A range of different social events, some with a uniquely Finnish flavour, will be available for congress participants and any accompanying persons, during the remaining three evenings of the meeting (Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 30 August -1 September). Many of them will be co-organized and themed together with cultural festivals from the regional events calendar. These can be pre-booked via the university’s congress office, once intending participants have completed their main pre-registration.

Are there any satellite meetings?
We are not aware of any, but within the main framework of the meeting there will be a series of workshops on a focus area that normally meets as a separate conference, on the biology of carbonic anhydrases. These workshops will be open to all attendees, just like all the others.

How can I pre-register for the meeting?
The pre-registration form will be live from the last week of November 2020, accessible via the congress website, life-2021.org. The form will provide opportunities for online payment by credit card, or by bank transfer via Finnish online banks. Attendees other than invited speakers will make their own hotel arrangements. A list of suitable hotels, some with specially agreed prices, is to be found on the congress website. After registration, participants will be asked to complete two additional forms: one to select and pre-book any desired options for the social events. (Tango for Life is included in the registration fee for all participants). A third form will be made available for abstract submission, and for all participants to register their scientific and related interests, which will guide the organizers to schedule the various workshops in optimally sized rooms, minimizing potential clashes. Nobody will be obliged to attend (or not attend) any particular workshop, based on these expressed preferences. Abstracts will be routed to relevant workshop convenors for potential selection as oral presentations.

How much does it cost?
The early bird registration fee of 490 € will be available immediately pre-registration opens, and will remain in force until the end of April. Thereafter, the fee will rise to 600 € (students), 700 € (other academic) and 1000 € (non-academic).