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


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 this webpage 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


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.


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



Conferences & Events Ltd
187 Willis Street,
Wellington 6011
New Zealand

Phone: +64-4 384 1511

IABSE Christchurch  2020 Congress:  Virtual Conference Platform Information


The Platform
IABSE 202 Virtual Congress will be delivered  OnAIR platform. OnAIR is our virtual event platform of choice providing a powerful environment for integrating virtual presentations, breakout sessions, networking/social functions, 1:1 meetings, and interactivity. Attendees are provided a seamless secure user experience from initial contact throughout the live event. Attendees can access all sessions from one place, connect with each other, presenters and exhibitors.




Key features of the OnAIR Platform


  • The Timeline
    Once logged into the platform attendees see the event timeline.  From here they can access all sessions, breakout meetings, the meeting hub, and live support. 
  • Live Q&A and Live Polling
    Delegates can ask questions of presenters through the Live Q&A function, and moderators or speakers can ask questions of attendees with the Live Poll function.
  • Live Support
    Throughout the event the C&E team is online to provide support to attendees via live chat or video call.
  • The Meeting Hub
    This feature lets your virtual attendees engage in real-time connections with other attendees. Users of Meeting Hub can search for other participants, request meetings, and when accepted engage in a video conversation, just like a live event! Attendees can send direct messages and exchange contacts.
  • Gamification
    By ‘gamifying’ the virtual conference experience delegates can win points by accomplishing a variety of goals throughout the event.  Points and prizes are a great way for attendees to engage and interact!

Keynotes, panel discussions, breakouts and any other sessions will be delivered as live or pre-recorded presentations.  Attendees will access the sessions via the OnAir platform. Sessions will be interactive and allow all attendees to participant and engage. Attendees access the session via the event timeline and can interact with presenters via the Live Q&A and Live Polling features.  Handouts, links, or resources can be made available for participants to access and download if required. 

Presentations Gallery
The Presentation Gallery displays all paper presentations in a searchable grid. Attendees can watch pre-recorded videos on demand or access handouts for each presentation, view presentation information and presentation times. During dedicated Q&A Session attendees can interact with presenters.


Attendee Challenges to Win Prizes

Attendees can win points by completing pre-set goals, for example: attending sessions; connecting with attendees; answering trivia; engaging with sponsors. Points can be redeemed for prizes!

Virtual Networking Opportunities

Conversation groups – attendees can join small conversation groups of up to 4 people selected at random with video and mics enabled. Pre-set groups – attendees can be assigned to pre-set groups based on topic areas.   A great way to get like-minded attendees together. 1:1 meetings – through the Meeting Hub attendees can connect with one another via live chat, messaging, or video call.


 Core Freatures of OnAir  - watch the video