On behalf of the ICC2020 Organizing Committee, I regret to inform you that we will be unable to hold this meeting because it would be unsafe to do so as scheduled.
The evolving COVID-19 pandemic has made it increasingly evident that such a large gathering would be neither safe nor feasible. The decision-making process was arduous and rigorous; we had to meet and address legal and logistical requirements that made it important that we defer a final decision until now. At all times, the health and well-being of everyone involved remained our preeminent concern. We regret that it has taken such a long period of time to reach this decision and to inform you. We trust that you understand that circumstances beyond our control forced this delay.
Our disappointment is mixed with our gratitude to all of you in the catalysis community for your generous support as presenters, attendees, sponsors, and exhibitors. The 2000+ abstracts submitted represent a commitment from all of you to the success of this meeting and an effort to help us succeed; we are very grateful. Your commitment has made our own efforts gratifying and worthwhile, even though this event cannot happen as planned at this time. It would have been our privilege to serve as your hosts, with all but the last few minor details firmly in place to make this gathering a memorable success. Nevertheless, we set aside our feelings of regret about this ICC meeting, as we turn our thoughts and concerns to all those who have been affected so much more directly and seriously by this pandemic.
We, as an Organizing Committee, need some time for introspection. Some of us need to assess our own needs, limitations, and commitments to family and work and to decide whether to embark once again on a journey that has taken so much time and effort. This is a journey that we would have to start nearly anew if we are to reschedule this ICC at a later date.
I speak for myself in my commitment to make this meeting happen at a time and place that will make it safe and successful. The time for such discussions and decisions will have to wait until we know better when a vaccine or widespread immunity will be at hand; I expect that this will require that we wait until a similar time of the year in 2022 to hold a new version of this ICC meeting; this is a date that will also avoid conflicts with the NAM and Europacat conferences. The place, the time, and whether we even try once again, mostly from the start, to mount this effort will hinge on agreements and deliberations by the sponsoring organizations (the International Association of Catalysis Societies and the North American Catalysis Society). As with most other matters that we are facing in these trying times, uncertainty is the rule, and only the passage of time will bring less of it.
I remain committed to organizing this ICC meeting, as Chair or in any other role, when the time comes to make it safe, successful, and memorable, to bring us together again.
There are some logistical matters that I must include along with my heartfelt comments above:
(i) All registration and social event fees will be refunded within the next two weeks.
(ii) Those who made hotel reservation at the Manchester Grand Hyatt should cancel them at https://www.hyatt.com/reservation/find using your confirmation number. Reservations made at other hotels should be cancelled directly with those hotels immediately to avoid cancellation fees.
We thank each one of you for your support and intended attendance and for your patience as we navigated the intricate process that led us to this decision. I only wish that we could have reached it earlier.
I am personally indebted to all the members of the ICC2020 Organizing Committee (https://2020icc.com/organizing-committee/). They trusted me to lead, and they more than matched that trust with their dedication and their support. To all of them and to all of you, thanks; I trust that we will make this meeting happen and that we will see all of you under more auspicious circumstances.
Stay safe and healthy. With regards and best wishes,
17th International Congress on Catalysis (ICC2020)
ICC2020 Organizing Committee