This question is about what I call academic conference centers, by which I mean research centers whose purpose is to welcome international researchers for short-term thematic stays. Examples of such centers in mathematics and theoretical computer science include Dagstuhl, Oberwolfach, and the CIRM (not a complete list). These centers are specifically for academic researchers (i.e., they are not general-purpose hotels or convention centers), and typically have a scientific board who select which events to organize from a list of proposals submitted by reseachers. I'm sure similar centers exist in other fields that I'm less familiar with.

Given that international travel by plane significantly contributes to climate change, some researchers and research groups are trying to limit their plane travel, in particular short international trips. My question is: what are academic conference centers doing to mitigate the climate impact of the activities that they organize?

Specifically, CIRM is now advertising two measures intended to reduce the carbon footprint of their events:

  • Fortnight events, where they encourage event organizers to couple their one-week event at CIRM together with another adjacent week, e.g., for a conference, so that participants stay for two weeks instead of one.
  • Mirror conferences, where they encourage conference proposals intended to organize simultaneous events co-hosted between CIRM and another such center elsewhere in the world, with participants attending by traveling to the closest local hub.

Another example are centers who aim at welcoming researchers over longer periods, e.g., a semester-long sabbatical, like the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing.

I was interested whether similar initiatives existed in academic conference centers in other academic fields.

  • 5
    This isn't a question about academia. And there are too many instances to say anything useful here. They do what they think they should, or not.
    – Buffy
    Jan 23 at 19:25
  • 6
    I'm going to disagree here, Buffy, and I'm usually very liberal with close votes. Academics are typically the majority or exclusive organizers of events at the listed centers. In that way these centers' behavior and policies impact anybody who might think to host an event at them.
    – user176372
    Jan 23 at 21:41
  • That is a fair point. There are a number of centers that are solely academic. I have retracted my vote.
    – Jon Custer
    Jan 24 at 2:13
  • Thanks everyone for your comments. Indeed, my question specifically asks about academic conference centers. Still, the question has been closed... I'm not sure why, or how to improve it. :(
    – a3nm
    Jan 24 at 10:42
  • 2
    @StephanKolassa: the examples I give are centers that exclusively cater to academic events and are run by academics to some degree. They are completely different from general-purpose convention centers.
    – a3nm
    Jan 24 at 12:57


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