Year in Review: 2020

By Catherine Wilson posted 12-17-2020 17:51


Virtual IBC 2020

We must start with the event that brought nearly 800 of our colleagues together, but was very close to not happening at all! As a result of careful negotiation, the IBS was able to eliminate most of its debts related to the canceled in-person event originally planned for Seoul, Korea, and instead focus its efforts on an eight-week event that took place entirely online.

Through the heroic efforts of Organizing President Louise Ryan, International Program Committee Chair Renato Assunção, excellent keynotes, IBS staff, and countless presenters and moderators, this IBC was as unforgettable as it was unique for the IBS. Still, it was not the same as the in-person experience we are all used to, and so we long to gather together again at the IBC, perhaps in Riga, Latvia in 2022. 


Following a general call, and a competition between six worthy host cities,  our Conference Advisory Committee recommended and the Executive Board approved Buenos Aires, Argentina as our IBC 2024 destination. We encourage you to mark your calendars for December, 2024. The IBS values diversity in all its forms, and this includes the goal of geographic diversity for its in-person programs. This will be our first visit to South America since 2010, when IBS visited Florianópolis, Brazil​.

2020 Award Winners

We were fortunate to be able to continue with so many IBS traditions this year, even in this time of COVID-19. Of note was the announcement of award winners for the Society's three major awards, including Henry G. Mwambi of the South African Region who won the Rob Kempton Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Development in the Developing World, and Motomi (Tomi) Mori of Western North American Region, recipient of the Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Development of the IBS. But to some the most prestigious award, and one to which we hope many members will aspire, is The Honorary Life Membership Award, which in 2020 was given to Warren J. Muller of the Australasian Region. Other awards related to our publications were also presented during the Annual General Meeting, which was also presented online this year. Congratulations to all of our deserving award winners!

Social Media and Online Community

With so much professional and personal content now residing online, your Society has decided to build on its existing online presence and has recently launched a new web-based members community, a brand new benefit of membership. Also, our Committee on Communications has named several member "community influencers" to help us grow online and engage members. Our new platform online offers members the chance to engage professionals from all over the world and explore topics ranging from the more scholarly to social, all in a secure safe setting. Also, a Social Media Liaison position is being considered as a way of helping the Society gain more visibility online. Look for more details regarding this new volunteer position in the months to come.

New IBS Website

The Society continues to invest in one of its most visible projects, the new Several new features were introduced this year, including a new content library, private collaboration areas for IBS volunteer groups, and a redesigned member profile and member directory. More is in store for 2021. As a truly global Society, we wish to be accessible to members wherever AND whenever they are. And our website offers the potential for round-the-clock access to timely information and conversations about biometry and related disciplines.

New IBS History Page

More than 70 years of Society history deserves a new History page! And a new page was launched quite recently. We think it is worth our members' time to visit and review the new IBS History webpage. But we expect the content to expand over time. We hope you enjoy reading about the IBS and some of its more prominent personalities over the years. It's a page that is bound to result in discussions online!

More Virtual Content

As COVID became a normal part of our lives, several of our IBS Regions also modified their traditional conference formats to ensure that members could continue to collaborate with each other. One of the first was ENAR, which has also made the decision to move their 2021 conference online. Many others have followed. At the same time, IBS is beginning to gather a list of 2021 events where organizers are hopeful of an in-person experience for attendees. There is hope at the end of the tunnel! At the same time, your Society is expected to launch a new virtual series in 2021 to showcase distinguished industry professionals, and the IBS Journal Club series is also expected to return later in the year. As we move forward, look for both in-person and virtual content, offered exclusively to members.

Congratulations to Outgoing IBS Volunteers

It is with the greatest pleasure that we congratulate and thank some of our colleagues who have recently completed assignments on behalf of the Society. For many of them, it has been years since they said ‘yes’ to assuming very important roles in the IBS governance structure. This kind of commitment should never be assumed, and it is our privilege to recognize these members who have upheld the proud tradition of service to their profession: 

  • Brad Biggerstaff, Outgoing Treasurer
  • Louise Ryan, outgoing Organizing President, IBC 2020
  • Brian Cullis, outgoing Director, Executive Board
  • Luzia Trinca, outgoing Director, Executive Board
  • Mark Brewer, outgoing Director, Executive Board
  • Andreas Ziegler, outgoing Director, Executive Board
  • Elizabeth Brown, outgoing Director, Executive Board
  • Renato Assunção, outgoing Chair, International Program Committee, IBC 2020, in addition to all other IPC members
  • Taerim Lee and Taesung Park, outgoing Co-Chairs, Local Organizing Committee, IBC 2020, in addition to all other LOC members
  • Elizabeth Thompson, outgoing Chair, Nominating Committee

We encourage you to thank these volunteers publicly for their service! In particular, we would like to recognize Professor Elizabeth Thompson at the University of Washington for her many years of dedication to the Society, including eight years on the IBS Council, and for her wisdom, integrity, vision and extraordinary leadership as IBS President from 2016-2017. Since her Presidency ended, she has continued to advise IBS’s new leadership on important matters, was the Organizing President for IBC 2018, and was responsible for managing the affairs of the Nominating Committee and our Past President's working group this year. Congratulations and well done, Elizabeth!


So that's the IBS year in review! We wish you a very happy and prosperous New Year and hope you continue as a member of your local Region and the IBS in 2021. Thank you for being a valued member of our community!

Here's to seeing many of you at local events later in 2021, and also in 2022. Until then, take care and stay safe!