Skip to content Skip to navigation

Annual Meeting 2023 - Cambridge, UK: Overview

Number: 67th Annual Meeting
Year: 2023
Location: Cambridge, UK
Hosted By: University of Cambridge
Organised By: Organising committee chaired by Dr Alex Liu
General Contact Email:


The 67th Annual Meeting of the Palaeontological Association will be held at the University of Cambridge, UK. One of the world's oldest universities, the University of Cambridge dates back to 1209 AD, and is steeped in history and tradition. The organising committee is chaired by Dr Alex Liu, with assistance from Professor Nick Butterfield, Dr Liz Hide, Dr Dan Field, Dr Emily Mitchell, Dr Steve Pates, Dr Aaron Hunter and Professor Neil Davies, and support from other members of the Departments of Earth Sciences, Zoology, and Archaeology; the Zoology Museum; the Sedgwick Museum; CASP; and the British Antarctic Survey. 

The e-mail address for all Meeting matters is <>.

Programme and venues

The meeting will begin with an Early-Career Researcher event on the afternoon of Monday 11th September, which will be held in the Department of Earth Sciences, located in Cambridge city centre. Workshops and museum collection tours will be available on the morning of Tuesday 12th September, and will take place in several locations across the city. The Symposium will take place on the afternoon of Tuesday 12th September, on the topic of “Ecosystem Engineering through Deep Time”. All scientific sessions and the symposium will take place on the University’s Sidgwick Site on West Road, Cambridge, in either the West Road Concert Hall or the adjacent Faculty of Law lecture theatres. An icebreaker reception will be held in the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences on Tuesday 12th September. The Annual Address on Wednesday 13th September will be delivered by Dr Greg Edgecombe FRS (Natural History Museum, London). This will be followed by the Annual Dinner, which will be held in the beautiful setting of Girton College, the oldest residential institution to offer higher education to women in the U.K. A post-conference field trip on Friday 15th September will visit the Pliocene Red Crag and Eocene London Clay of Bawdsey in Suffolk. Further details regarding all of these events are available by following the relevant links above. 

Please note that the Association AGM will not take place during the Annual Meeting but will be scheduled for a date in December. Details of the talk schedule can be found under the Schedule – Talks tab above.

Meeting format

The Palaeontological Association and the meeting organisers are committed to hosting a safe in-person meeting. Should developments related to the COVID-19 pandemic or any other unexpected event occur, we will follow local government guidance and will inform delegates of any changes to the meeting format as soon as possible. Excepting a limited number of presenters from low- and middle-income countries (see below), delegates should plan to attend in person; virtual attendance is limited to very specific circumstances and is not supported by interactive online platforms for communications and discussion. 

Delegates delivering oral presentations at the September meeting will be offered the opportunity to have their talks recorded and uploaded for dissemination on the Palaeontological Association YouTube channel. Live-streaming will not be offered for regular talk sessions. 

A limited number of oral and poster presentation slots have been ring-fenced for delegates from low- to lower-middle income countries (as defined by the World Bank) who cannot attend in person but who register as virtual attendees and submit an abstract. Any selected LMIC virtual attendees will be required to submit pre-recorded talks or mail their posters by 4th September, and presenters of oral presentations will be expected to attend via Zoom to answer questions from the audience. Please note that virtual attendance is only available to LMIC delegates, solely for the purpose of facilitating presentation of their research (general scientific sessions will not be live streamed).

A dedicated poster session for delegates is scheduled for the afternoon of Wednesday 13th September. Posters will remain on display for the duration of the meeting, including during coffee and lunch breaks. To raise the visibility of research presented as posters, delegates presenting in this format will have the opportunity to submit a ‘striking image’ from their poster prior to the meeting. These images will be displayed alongside the presenter’s name, poster title, and poster location before and after relevant talk sessions, on screens in meeting venues, and on social media. 

Non attendance by presenters

Oral presenters forced to withdraw at the last minute have the option to submit a pre-recorded talk, which will be played during their scheduled slot. Poster presenters forced to withdraw may choose to courier their poster to the University of Cambridge for display as part of the poster sessions.


Registration and abstract submission are now closed.

The city of Cambridge

The historic city of Cambridge has plenty to offer visitors. World-class museums include the striking Fitzwilliam Museum (housing art and antiquities from across the globe), Kettle’s Yard (20th century and contemporary art), the Polar Museum (history of Antarctica and the Arctic), and the Whipple Museum of the History of Science. Beautiful University and College buildings adorn the corners of narrow cobbled streets, with numerous independent retailers nestled between them to entice those looking to pick up a souvenir. In the summertime, the University Botanic Gardens are in full bloom, and the city is often buzzing with al fresco drama and music performances, including choral services by College choirs, and performances of Shakespeare in College gardens. Walking or punting along the picturesque River Cam offers an excellent way to see the University buildings, including the iconic King’s College Chapel. We are pleased to be able to offer discounted punt tours for meeting delegates, courtesy of local company Scudamore’s. 

Getting to Cambridge

The city of Cambridge declared a climate emergency in 2019, recognising the significant risk to the city and the rest of the world from anthropogenic climate change. Please consider the environmental impact of your choice of travel to Cambridge for the meeting.

Cambridge has excellent rail connections, with direct routes to Birmingham, Leicester, and London, and connections through these hubs as well as Peterborough and Stevenage (more information can be found on the National Rail website). The train station is a ~20 minute walk to the city centre. Coach companies including National Express and Flixbus also provide direct routes to Birmingham, Coventry, Leicester, and London. Delegates choosing to drive are recommended to use the Park and Ride facilities, where cars can be left for up to 72 hours. Cambridge has five options depending on direction of travel (Babraham Road, Madingley Road, Milton, Newmarket Road, and Trumpington) each with frequent bus links to the city centre. 

For international travellers, train connections from Europe can be made using the Eurostar to Kings Cross-St Pancras and then a 45 minute train ride from King’s Cross to Cambridge. You can also get a direct train (~1 hour 40 minutes) between Cambridge and Harwich, where a ferry service connects to the Hook of Holland (rail and sail ticket options available; A direct rail service also links Cambridge to London Stansted Airport (~ 30 minutes: for a full list of destinations see the Stansted Airport website) and Gatwick Airport (~2 hours). London Heathrow airport can be reached either by National Express coach, or by rail via London (underground to King’s Cross station and then a train to Cambridge, or train to Paddintgton station then underground and train to Cambridge). 

Since Cambridge is a relatively small city, most destinations can be easily reached on foot. The main train station is around 15–20 minutes walk from the city centre, while West Road Concert Hall is 10 minutes walk from the city centre. Taxis, Voi electric ‘e-bikes’ and ‘e-scooters’, and an extensive local and national bus service are also available.


There are numerous hotels, hostels and guesthouses within a 5–15 minute walk of the conference venues, as well as plenty of eating and drinking establishments. Delegates are strongly encouraged to book one of up to 80 en suite B&B rooms available at discounted rates in St Catharine’s College, very close to the main conference venues and within the city centre. Please note that these rooms are expected to fill up quickly, so early booking is advised. To take advantage of this offer, follow the link for discounted rates, fill in your details, click through to the next page and click Add a Room. Alternatively, accommodation can be booked using the usual online resources (e.g., ranging from budget options (e.g. Travelodge or The Youth Hostel Association) to more upmarket hotels with rooftop dining terraces (e.g. The Varsity Hotel). If you would like to experience staying in other Cambridge Colleges, bed and breakfast accommodation is available by searching for Cambridge at University Rooms.  

Student travel grants

The Palaeontological Association runs a programme of travel grants to assist student members (doctoral and earlier) to attend the Annual Meeting in order to present a talk or poster. Grants of up to £100 will be available to student presenters who are travelling from outside Cambridge. The actual amount available will depend on the number of applicants and the distance travelled. Payment of these awards is given as a disbursement at the Meeting, not as an advance payment. Students interested in applying for a PalAss travel grant should contact the Executive Officer, Dr Jo Hellawell (e-mail once the organisers have confirmed that their abstract is accepted. Please title the email “Travel Grant Request”. No awards can be made to those who have not followed this procedure. Deadline is 31st August 2023.

The International Association of Sedimentologists (IAS) are also offering financial support to student members of their society who will be presenting oral or poster presentations (as first author) at the Annual Meeting. IAS Travel Grants are intended to be a contribution to the expenses of the student (travel, housing, registration), but not a full reimbursement of all expenses, with individual grants usually being of the order of £100–£400, depending on distance travelled and the number of applications received. IAS Student Members can apply for an IAS Travel Grant through their profile on the IAS website after they have been notified of abstract acceptance, with a deadline of 14th July.

Carer’s bursary

Bursaries are available to support attendance at the Annual Meeting by researchers with caring responsibilities. The deadline for receipt of applications is 31st August at 23:59 BST. Please see the page Palaeontological Association Carer’s Bursary for further details.

Nursing facilities

Baby changing facilities are available at the Sedgwick Museum and the Department of Earth Sciences, as well as a nursing room in West Road Concert Hall. No childcare will be provided, but a list of local childcare options can be provided on request. For further details and to request access to the nursing facilities, please e-mail the meeting organisers <>.


All meeting venues are accessible via ramps and/or lifts. A quiet room will be available for individual use if required. The meeting venues have taken steps to mitigate against the transmission of communicable respiratory diseases, to ensure the safety of all attendees. These steps include mechanical ventilation systems in our lecture venues that provide predominantly fresh air, sanitiser stations, CO2 monitors to indicate air quality, and natural ventilation that users can adjust in the foyer areas.

On behalf of the local organising committee, we look forward to welcoming you to Cambridge in September!

PalAss Go! URL: | Twitter: Share on Twitter | Facebook: Share on Facebook | Google+: Share on Google+