SRN Executive Minutes – January 2021

SRN EC Meeting

Monday 18.1.2021 at 9 pm BST/GMT/UTC+1 (via Zoom)


Circulation list: Carmen Sofia Brenes (CSB), Rose Ferrell (RF), Ann Igelström (AI), Rafael Leal (RL), Margaret McVeigh (MM), Paolo Russo (PR), Rosanne Welch (RW)



  • Apologies for absence



  • Minutes of previous EC Meeting for approval

All pending Action Points have been itemized below in the agenda.

The EC approves the minutes which will be uploaded to the website.


  • Website

  • Update on Call for Hosts (RL)

RL will repost the Call – deadline 31 January. Any received bids will be considered at the EC February meeting.

  • Update on design of and Call for translations for new slogan (RF, RL)

RF is drafting text and design of Call for translations to post on FB and JISCmail.

PR suggests to post the call the week after the Call for Hosts (website) is issued.

  • Newsletter (MM, RW)

RW reports that from now on MM alone will be in charge of the Newsletter so that RW can focus on Secretary duties. All appreciated the December end-of-year issue idea. The plan is to have 4 issue per year – one per season, likely in March, June, September, December.

RF observes that the Newsletter in different languages was a wonderful welcoming idea and the more of that we can do the better.


  • YouTube channel

PR asks whether RL will be the next to record a message: this could be about the renewal of the website.

RW asks whether the Channel could/should be used for posting lectures by members. PR observes this should be discussed at next AGN to see if the members agree: if that were to be the case, the EC will need a plan for how to upload – and how often. Meanwhile, it is good to stimulate more posts on Facebook.

  • Social Media 

  • Update on Facebook posts (AI)

Upcoming posts include the EC Minutes, the Welcome slogan translation request, the website Call for Hosts reminder, a reminder to submit nominations for the SRN Award, research-archive post.

AI is thinking about posting about small conferences and organizing a small event for early researchers.  

Also, the outreach has been good with the FB posts on publications by members. The latter this have been so many this last year that it will be difficult to award the prize at this year’s conference.

ACTION – Include update on early researcher symposium when ready.

  • Update on SRN2021 conference

  • Responses to December survey so far (PR)

PR shares data/stats of responses to survey, which is generally positive and shows most delegates are still hopeful and willing to participate in some form. The purpose of the survey was to make sure there was a quorum of members still planning to attend. If too few had said yes we would have had no reason to plan further. This is not the case.

The current lockdown in the UK could be lifted by the end of March and the mass vaccination program being rolled out will help to improve the situation in forthcoming months. However, uncertainties remain – e.g. will social distancing still be in place? If so, the capacity of the biggest lecture theatre at the conference venue (normally 250) would be capped to 50 people. This means that even if attendees are willing to travel it might be difficult to actually congregate.

RW asks when a decision can realistically be made. PR figures/hopes by end of March/early April.  Trends and forecasts seem to show the worst of the current 3rd wave should occur this coming month, then wane and, thanks to vaccination, finally abate. By Easter almost half of UK should have been vaccinated. But then we need to factor in the situation in other countries the delegates come from. Will there still be travel bans? What about budgets for travel from universities? Will the UK require vaccination proof to allowing in travellers?

RW asks whether the necessary information can be broken down by countries? PR confirms he should be able to do so but it’s not going to be easy to collate or find a common solution. 

ACTION – PR to respond individually to all 100 delegates who responded to survey. 

RW asks whether PR will incur in a monetary loss in case he had to cancel the venue. PR reassures that the venue (i.e. the Mathematical Institute) took the reservation with no deposit needed upfront last Autumn. This means there won’t be any financial risks at least until the Spring when a contract will have to be signed if the conference goes through. 

PR reminds the EC that he is still pursuing the option of bringing the conference back to Oxford Brookes because if that was viable we would have more rooms at our disposal, which may allow to deal with social distancing more easily.

CSB asks about the virtual conference option? PR reports that 77% of delegates responded they would attend if the conference were to switch to a virtual platform. This scenario could include a hybrid format TBD and we would have to organize the technology around such an event.

However, PR points out a large number of practical issues that makes this option not easy to adopt: how do run parallel sessions online, live or recorded, with delegates from 19 time zones? Should we pre-record in some geographic zones and go live in others? And what happens to the AGN for the full membership?  

RW asks whether delegates were asked about need for travel funds? PR reports that many responded they would attend anyway.

PR puts to the EC whether a new Call for Papers should be issued. RF remarks that, rather than getting up hopes, it might be better to wait until we know when/how the conference will be held. If by April we are in a clearer place and a more realistic number can be assessed, we can still post a late Call for Papers. Therefore no action required here at present.

ACTION – PR to email update to Membership in early February.


  • Any other business

CSB notes that when members change universities their email addresses change too and they cease to receive emails. They should be reminded to connect with the Membership officer to change their addresses. 

PR reminds EC that there will be a Membership update at the February meeting at which point we could issue such a reminder to the Membership.


Date of next meeting: Monday 15, 2021 TBD, 9pm BST/UTC/GMT (consider DST; refer to shared DOC for each country’s time zone)