The dates of the 2022 European Robotics Forum have been changed. ERF2022 is now scheduled to take place in Rotterdam on 28-30 June 2022. Organizers euRobotics and the University of Twente took this decision just before Christmas in response to the latest and fast-changing conditions created by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Over the last three months we have been carefully monitoring the Covid-19 situation across Europe. In working towards a physical European Robotics Forum in 2022, the health and safety of our attendees has always been our top priority. We saw the Delta variant wave rising, reaching its peak, and receding again, and until recently we were confident of an event the size of ERF in the last week of March 2022.
All that has now changed with the emergence of the Omicron variant. Even though there is still much uncertainty about it, several things are clear. It spreads faster than any other variant until now, and most healthcare systems across Europe are already becoming stretched to their limits. Even though it seems the illness from the Omicron variant may be less severe, the dominant factor for the coming months is its exceptionally rapid growth rate.
It is expected that the pressure on healthcare systems will thus remain high for longer. Additional Covid-19 measures to keep the Omicron-wave under control until vaccination and boostershot immunity and natural immunity through infection is reached, are already being implemented in several European countries and can be expected in others. Renewed restrictions on social mixing are already in place and these are likely to become more widespread around Europe, at least in the days and weeks ahead.
In these uncertain times, euRobotics and the University of Twente as Local Organizer want to take responsibility and act pro-actively to create certainty around the European Robotics Forum. Therefore the decision has been made to reschedule ERF2022 to 28-30 June 2022. This will give everyone the time to live through this unpredictable period, and be able to meet each other physically in Rotterdam when it is hopefully safe to do so again.