Conference demographics and footprint changed by virtual platforms

Matthew Skiles, Euijin Yang, Orad Reshef, Diego Robalino Muñoz, Diana Cintron, Mary Laura Lind, Alexander Rush, Patricia Perez Calleja, Robert Nerenberg, Andrea Armani, Kasey M. Faust, Manish Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Conferences disseminate research, grow professional networks and train employees. Unfortunately, they also contribute to climate change and present barriers to achieving a socially sustainable work environment. Here, we analyse the recent impact of transforming in-person conferences into virtual conferences on improving diversity, equity and inclusion in science and engineering conferences. Factors including cost, gender, career stage and geographic location were evaluated. Virtual conferences demonstrated a clearly discernable and, in some cases, orders of magnitude improvement across nearly all metrics. On the basis of participant survey results, this improvement may be attributed to a combination of reduced financial and personal-life burdens. However, despite this clear impact, further development of virtual networking features and poster sessions is necessary to achieve widespread adoption and acceptance of this new format.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-156
Number of pages8
JournalNature Sustainability
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Food Science
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Ecology
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Urban Studies
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Conference demographics and footprint changed by virtual platforms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this