Several people have asked us why the conference fee is so high. We are aware that it is indeed not cheap. But the fee is needed to cover the costs. Here we explain why:
A moderately large conference such as Exo3 (with up to 450 participants) requires a moderately large conference venue. The standard venue in the city center (some may remember it from Protostars and Planets VI) is under renovation. The only alternative is the EMBL ATC, a fantastic venue, as you will see. But it is somewhat remote on the Königstuhl hill. So there is no possibility to have lunch externally. Professional conference catering services do not offer 3-Euro bagel lunch options. Hence, the lunch is a full-scale lunch, which costs 25 Euro/person per day (i.e. a total of 125 Euro per person for the whole conference). There is, unfortunately, no alternative. A full list of what is included in the conference fee can be found here.
We decided against making the reception on Monday and the conference dinner on Thursday optional. We decided to include them "hard coded" into the conference fee. Why? Two reasons: (1) If they are optional, most people will not be able to get these costs back from their universities, because such social events are then considered "private activities", which you would have to pay from your own private money. (2) We consider these events of high importance to achieve the goal of this conference: to facilitate contact among people, in particular between the seniors and the new/junior people. If most new/junior people don't come to the reception and the dinner because they opt-out of them, the conference misses part of its goal.
Our target is to end with a black "0 Euro". All surplus, if we have it, will be used to reimburse those among you who need it most. Unfortunately, we cannot predict yet how much will be available. That depends on how many people register. We break even at 350 participants. Any number between 350 and the maximum (450) will give us financial buffer. But we only know that later. We also submitted external funding requests. These need, however, participant lists, which are only available lateron. So we cannot be 100% sure of this funding until the spring. We will keep all registered participants informed.
We understand that 525 Euro may be prohibitively expensive for some. If you have trouble convincing your home institution/supervisor, tell them that this conference is the event to go to, and send them this link in case they want to know what this 525 Euro is for.
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Heidelberg University and MPIA