A couple of subsequent emails begin "Dear David, I hope my email finds you well. I was just keen to follow up with you from my previous email in regards to the speaking invitation for the 2nd Annual Genetics in Forensics Congress next year in March 2017, London." The Advisory Board for 2016 consists of
" Confirmed speakers" according to the website include
Apparently unconfirmed, but listed in the cyclic photographic display of "2016 speakers" is Bruce Weir, University of Washington. Why the website is limited to 2016 speaker information for a 2017 program is unclear. An email of 6/13/16 supplied a pamphlet that listed a 2017 advisory board with the following US members:
The email of 6/13/16 listed "confirmed speakers":
Four days later, the sender was "just keen to follow up with you." Her confirmed speaker list added these names:
By the end of the month (in identical emails of 6/30 and 7/1), Eleanor Halsey was no longer so keen, but was still following up with the original form invitation and an even longer confirmed speaker list that added these names:
Still more news (same template, of course) came a week later (7/13/16). Gillian Tully, Director, Forensic Science Regulator, Home Office, UK, had signed on and, of course, "it would be great to have you on board."
A month later, it was Marketing Executive Guillaume Alonso (signature line) or Aonso (according to the sender field), sending a "Registration Now Open" email from the URL GeneticsForensicsCongress@oxford-global.net on Tuesday, August 9, 2016 5:33 AM.
Producer Eleanor Halsey also seems to have been supplanted by Head of Delegate Sales Will Fox. His first email (10/4/16) promised "a unique opportunity to join over 40 highly esteemed speakers ... and participating in high-level discussions about the future landscape of the industry." It also offered a free webinar in January on "Advances in Next Generation Sequencing for Forensic Purposes" (with "Speaker 1" and "The New Challenges of Identification: Terrorist Attacks and The Role of Forensic Anthropology" with "Speaker 2."
Then came two folksy "Dear David" letters on 11/29/16: "Sorry to email you out of the blue. I wanted to get in touch with you in regards to a Genetics in Forensics Congress that my company, Oxford Global, annually holds in London. It will be taking place on the 14th-15th March in 2017. We are hoping to be able to expand the numbers of participants from outside of Europe and are aware of the increase in costs involved with the travel. For this reason, I wanted to offer you a half price pass to attend the congress, reducing the registration fee down to £250+VAT. Do you think this would be of interest to yourself or any of your colleagues? If you could come back to me before the end of the year, that would be fantastic."
In 2017, however, the emails from Will Fox grew less personal (but noted that some kinds of special offers remained available):
By the end of January, Mr. Fox had grown desperate (or very generous).
Whom is he kidding? The "select few people" who receive complimentary passes are "any Academics"?
The "confirmed sponsors" are Illumina, ThermoFisher Scientific, Quiagen, Key Forensic Services, and Menarini Silicon Biosystems. What their contributions are to the conference I cannot say.
The third iteration is in the works, offering another opportunity to be on the advisory board. The following arrived (twice, at 4/27/17 6:26 AM, because OGM has two of me listed -- one for each email address):
There is some irony in referring to "the success of last year's event." Instead of the promised "200 senior level delegates," there were "150+ attendees" of all kinds. Of these, 18% were "vendor companies." The report that provides these figures (viewed 4/27/17) also lists only one of the "internationally renowned speakers for their pioneering work in the field" advertised in the email of 1/10/17 as having participated in the event. The actual speakers named in the report were Jack Ballantyne (University of Central Florida), Eugénia Cunha (University of Coimbra), Seth Faith (North Carolina University), Dieter Deforce (University of Ghent), Sharon Derrick (Harris Country Institute), Randall Murch (Virginia Tech), Renata Zbieć-Piekarska (Central Forensic Laboratory of Police), and Anna Williams (University of Huddersfield).
It is early in the life cycle of the third conference. The VIEW THE AGENDA button on the conference website generates a form to "Request Prices & Agenda." However, the planning proceeds: