IABSE Congress 2020 - Postponed and now Virtual! 3-5 February 2021

Alessandro Palermo

Kia ora,


We hope everyone is safe and adapting to the new normal we find ourselves working and living in. We are writing to you with an update about IABSE Congress Christchurch 2020 which we have postponed to 3 – 5 February 2021 and made the decision to move to a fully virtual event.


Given the cancellations of other conferences, some may be hungry for the kinds of connection and discussion that happen in these spaces.  We want to be able to support you to make connections at this challenging time and as such, we are committed to running the IABSE Congress Christchurch 2020 from the 3 – 5 February 2021 as a virtual event.  We are also committed to doing our best to make this accessible and fulfilling for a wide range of people. 


At this stage we are currently working on gauging the support from our sponsors with the shift to virtual.  For this reason, we will hold off on opening registration until the end of October as any commitment from sponsors will help us keep registration fees low.  


We are delighted to have received over 250 paper submissions, all those that register for the virtual event will have access to the full proceedings. 

We are excited to be working with an innovative virtual platform which will include the following features:
•    Paper presentations will be available to view on demand from mid-January
•    Ability to add comments to a discussion forum for each paper presentation
•    Live Q&A and discussion session with paper presenters
•    Up to 20 keynote and invited presenters sharing their expertise from around the world
•    Opportunity to interact with the industry supporters through product demos and visiting their virtual exhibition booths
•    Various opportunities for networking outside of the conference sessions via small randomly selected conversation groups, larger discussion      groups or via the Meeting Hub with allows you to have 1 to 1 side conversations with attendees either via instant messaging or video calls.
•    We want to encourage you to interact with the virtual event as much as possible, there will a gamification feature which will allow you to earn points for prizes by interacting with certain aspect of the platform.


We are disappointed that you will not get to visit this side of the world at this time but we are looking at potentially making some virtual technical tours available to you so you can see what we are doing here in Christchurch, New Zealand.


If you are an industry supporter, there are a range of ways that you can get exposure via the virtual conference platform we will be using  Your support as a sponsor of this event will help us ensure we can keep the registration fees as low as possible.  It would be hugely helpful if you are able to confirm your commitment to support this event through sponsorship as soon as you can to help us determine the virtual registration fees for attendees and to ensure it’s accessible for as many people as possible.  For more information please email iabse2020@confer.co.nz. 


Please keep an eye on https://iabse.org/Christchurch2020 for any further updates.  We will be in touch when we have more speakers confirmed and registration is live!


If there is anything you would like to share with us - concerns, feedback, ideas for how to make this a successful event - please do get in touch. We would genuinely love to hear from you.


Ngā mihi 

Alessandro Palermo,
Chair of the Organising Committee


Message from the Organisers


Alessandro Palermo
           Chair OC
University of Canterbury
           Anthony Abu
            Chair SC
University of Canterbury
        Stephen Hicks
           Co-chair OC
      Chair NG New Zealand
                Barry Wright
                    Co-chair OC
New Zealand Transport Agency


The sequence of devastating earthquakes that Christchurch experienced in 2010 and 2011 included an aftershock that produced the highest peak ground accelerations on record. Hundreds of commercial buildings, schools, hospitals and essential infrastructure were demolished and thousands of homes were rebuilt. Yet, the city re-established essential functions quickly. Today, the city and its people are an example of a city bouncing back. Developing a resilience plan through a grassroots participatory planning process is a priority for the city’s recovery so that communities, buildings, and infrastructure and systems are better prepared to withstand catastrophic events. The New York Times, Digest and Lonely Planet have all hailed Christchurch for its creativity and innovation, and you will have a chance to experience this energy first hand while exploring a city where delegates will see world-leading design and construction of an innovative and sustainable built environment in action. A $2.2 billion horizontal infrastructure programme has included repairs and rebuilds of 120 bridges, waste, storm and freshwater networks, along with roads..

We look forward to showcasing to the structural engineering and bridge building communities, many examples of excellence in the field of resilience in natural hazards, along with examples of the triumph of seamless implementation between research and industry. 



About The Organisers


The New Zealand Group of IABSE is organising with the support of the University of Canterbury and 100% PURE NEW ZEALAND the IABSE Congress Christchurch 2020. The Organising Committee (OC) is chaired by Prof. Alessandro Palermo, Co-Chair Stephen Hicks from Canterbury University and Co-Chair Barry Wright, from New Zealand Transport Agency. The OC includes 9 dedicated members.




Conferences & Events Ltd
187 Willis Street,
Wellington 6011
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Phone: +64-4 384 1511



Organising Committee

Alessandro Palermo, Chair
Stephen Hicks, Co-chair
Barry Wright, Co-chair
Raed el Sarraf
Larry Bellamy
Wu Chou
Robert Finch
David Carradine
Anthony Abu
Tim Sullivan
Peter Burnton
Katie Symond







Christchurch, the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand. It is one of the world's most unique destinations, combining urban regeneration with heritage, culture and exhilarating activity. This city is one of the world’s most unique destinations, combining urban regeneration and innovation with heritage, culture and exhilarating activity.