CTBT SnT2021: marking 25 years and innovating for the future

The CTBT Science and Technology Conference 2021 (SnT2021), from 28 June to 2 July 2021, will bring together more than 1,000 participants to celebrate the achievements of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) in its 25th anniversary year, and explore the latest technical innovations and research supporting its journey to entry into force.

Hundreds of scientific, technical and policy experts will be taking part from around the globe in a mainly virtual format, along with academics, students, and members of the media, civil society and organizations involved in research and development.

It will be the sixth in the series of biennial multidisciplinary conferences covering all aspects of the CTBT verification regime, designed to further enhance the strong relationship between the scientific and technological community, policymakers and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban-Treaty Organization (CTBTO).

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s conference will launch on 28 June with a hybrid High Level Opening from the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria, followed by online sessions over the course of the week. 

The 25th anniversary of the CTBT’s opening for signature will be marked by a series of talks and panel discussions examining developments and achievements since 1996, and the challenges and prospects for the Treaty in the future. High-level discussions on the opening day will include an examination of the CTBT’s evolution and its role as a model of scientific inclusion and cooperation.

Afternoon sessions on the first day will focus on the potential of Artificial Intelligence in monitoring for nuclear explosions, and how space science can help to address global challenges.

From 29 June to 2 July, a host of diverse technological and scientific panels will explore issues under five main themes: the Earth as a Complex System; Events and Nuclear test Sites; Verification Technologies and Technique Application; Performance Evaluation and Optimization; and CTBT in a Global Context

COVID-19 as a stress test

The global nature of the COVID-19 pandemic was a stress test for systems around the world, including global monitoring systems such as the CTBT’s, which relies on continuous data gathering, transmission and analysis. A dedicated panel and series of oral presentations over several sessions will reflect upon this experience and the lessons that can be learned from it.

Other highlights of the conference will include sessions on how to communicate effectively on scientific uncertainties; using machine learning to detect explosions; science diplomacy education; science and technology for sustainable development, peace and security; debating the skills of ‘human vs. machine’ in data analysis; and the global challenges of hazard mitigation.

Because of restrictions due to the pandemic, there will be only limited in-person attendance at the Hofburg Palace on the opening day, with most participants joining online. The other days of the conference, with highlights and invited talks, oral presentations, panels, e-posters, side events, extensive opportunities for discussions in virtual break-out rooms, chats and more, will be conducted virtually.

To register to join the conference, click here.

The full programme can be viewed here.