Annual Meeting 2019 meeting is POSTPONED.
Dear IMRF Community,
I deeply regret to report that we must postpone IMRF 2019. The conference will most likely be moved to the spring or early summer of 2020. There are two main reasons for postponing the annual meeting. The first is that the organizational structure of IMRF provides no financial support for our annual meeting. This makes it difficult to contract with hotels and other services in advance of collection of registration fees. The second important reason is that Northwestern University has declared a financial crisis and has withheld financial support for the meeting primarily in terms of signing contracts and taking on financial risk. As a result, if the meeting were to proceed I would be forced to personally take-on full financial responsibility, which I am reluctant to do. In addition, the delays that have been caused make it difficult to pull together a successful meeting at this point.
We want to take advantage of this delay to foster the continued and secure success of the IMRF both in terms of science and finances as well as in terms of encouraging younger scientists to both actively participate and to lead.
Speaking on behalf of recent IMRF organizers, our plans moving forward include the following:
1. Immediately constitute a steering committee to pursue the creation of IMRF as a formal entity which will allow continuity of the IMRF mission and develop a stable financial foundation. Where exactly this will happen has not been decided. We will seek community input into the mission and structure of this formal organization, as well as feedback on such issues as membership dues. Please share your views and comments at IMRF20192020@gmail.com.
2. Obtain grant funding to support the meeting. We have a currently submitted conference grant to the US National Institutes of Health, and expect to hear whether or not it has been funded within the next few weeks. Unfortunately, this decision will be too late to move forward with this June. Postponing will afford us adequate time to not only hear back from NIH, but also to apply for additional funding and to resubmit the pending grant if necessary.
Our hope is that these steps will set us up for a successful meeting in 2020 and for many years beyond. We welcome and encourage feedback on these issues as we move towards establishing more robust financial foundation for IMRF.
Marcia Grabowecky (on behalf of the Chicago Organizing Committee)