COMFORT Annual Meeting and General Assembly 2020

The general assembly and annual meeting of the EU H2020 project COMFORT on ocean tipping points was held digitally. The plenary meeting took place during 2-3 September 2020 through Zoom with always 80-90 active participants online, including attendees from Europe, Australia, Fiji, India, Japan, South Africa, US west coast and Hawaii in parallel. The plenary agenda included a suite of science highlights from the various work packages and from early career scientists, a poster session, a session with the stake holder reference group, a discussion with the international advisory board, and recommendations from our EU adviser especially concerning tackling the present crisis in the project flow. Elisabeth Holland from Fiji/USP reported about the situation with respect to climate change for island states and took us out of our ivory tower into the real-world challenges. Beth Fulton from Tasmania/CSIRO held a fabulous special lecture on ecosystem modelling and environmental thresholds. The project is still largely on track in spite of the challenging situation in the ongoing crisis. This is due to a consortium of highly motivated and skilled professional participants. We received an overwhelmingly positive feedback from the participants after the meeting.  In the plenary, we focused on scientific presentations and discussions. Work package break out group meetings, governance panel meetings, and project management briefings had been held over the summer in smaller groups and the results had been made available through presentation-files to all before the plenary meeting. This worked well in practice and we heard from consortium members that they would like a similar format for annual meetings also when we can meet in person again.

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