Living in South America, I was planning to present 4 articles at a conference in England in december, visit laboratories and universities in different cities for a few weeks, and to spend christmas with my family in Europe. Seeing the news, Denmark seems to have quite a high Covid infection rate, and some predict that Europe will be quite bad with BQ.1.1 in December. I am contemplating canceling the trip right now (I am about to register to the conference and to buy the plane tickets) and replacing as many of the face to face talks by online ones. I am surprised that noone around me seems to limit their travels (let it be for Covid scare or for climate impact).
Covid wise or Climate impact wise or else, which arguments should be taken into account when deciding to travel to conferences or rather present online?
As an assistant professor (in Chile) soon to pass associate and having recently started a new research team in a new research area, the students I work with and I have 4 articles (the first ones in this area for me, the first at all for them) accepted at a conference in England in December.
The "default" plan is to
- go to the conference for 1st week of December (with a master student for whom it will be the first time),
- to visit a laboratory in Paris for one week (with the same master student),
- to visit Universities in Copenhagen and Aarhus for one week,
- to spend Christmas with my family in Europe,
- come back "home" between Christmas and New Year Eve,
- set up in January/February my move to another university (buying a new house, etc.),
- to start a new job in March.
All of those are important to establish the new laboratory in the field, let people know what we do, develop social connections and potential collaborations. My research grant is paying for the trip (and hence the university is making it complicated, to make sure that people do not waste money). I find that, somehow, I do not want to go, but reason that it is important for my career (and, more importantly, for those of the students I am working with): it is a kind of work/life balance that I did not encounter before and I am curious as to how people deal with such dilemma.