Radiologists’ 2021 congress sets new virtual standards in global meeting destination Vienna
Before the European Congress of Radiology (ECR) returns to Vienna as a physical congress in 2022, this year’s event will go ahead online from 3-7 March. This has led global Meeting Destination Vienna to innovate and strengthen its virtual event offering. Attendees will enjoy a five-channel streaming programme and innovative new formats, such as a ‘Pop-Up World Tour’ aimed not purely at radiologists. A virtual exhibition and digital-networking opportunities will further enhance connectivity at the event.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ECR 2021 will, for the first time in its history, be an entirely virtual gathering. But as ever, the scientific programme on offer will be outstanding in terms of quality and quantity: 342 sessions with 1,887 individual presentations (live and on-demand) and 1,408 electronic-poster presentations by a total of 2,421 speakers on display. The organisers expect 10,000 virtual participants, who can look forward to plenty of interdisciplinary approaches and insights from leading opinion formers in radiology.
Science, information and entertainment
Just as impressive is the technology underpinning all of this medical knowledge transfer. ECR 2021 relies on the European Society of Radiology’s in-house streaming platform, ESR Connect. Its five-channel programme will include lectures broadcast live, as well as pre-recorded content on-demand.
Channels 2 to 5 are reserved for the main scientific programme of events, while channel 1 serves as the central information and entertainment hub for ECR 2021. It will be broadcast live from a studio in the historic Kempinski hotel on Vienna’s grand boulevard Ringstrasse. In addition to a daily welcome by congress president Univ-Prof. Dr Michael Fuchsjäger, it will also feature chats with some of the biggest personalities in radiology, plus interactive courses in yoga, qigong and aikido in the morning and afternoon.
Vienna as a virtual global interface
The core content of channel 1, however, will be the totally innovative Pop-Up World Tour.
In this brand new part of the congress, pop-up events will be hosted by ECR’s closest institutional and industry partners worldwide. Here, selected guests and speakers will address ECR participants from a variety of locations around the globe. The Tour will turn Vienna into a truly global virtual interface for the radiology community – and is sure to prove valuable for many other industries besides.
Why wellbeing is a focus of ECR 2021
The ECR 2021’s In Focus programme will make reference to what has obviously been a difficult year for most professionals due to the pandemic. This year’s focus is on physical and mental wellbeing, which became a challenge for many, not least because of a lack of physical contact. In response, the In Focus events will discuss issues relating to resilience, mindfulness and managing stress in the workplace.
Given the far-reaching implications of these issues, this programme is not just designed for radiologists, but for anyone who wants to improve their own wellbeing or the wellbeing of others in their organisations. A packed programme awaits: In Focus 2021 will include a keynote lecture, educational sessions and a series of interactive workshops with speakers from a variety of professional and academic backgrounds – giving ECR 2021 a highly interdisciplinary feel.
Virtual exhibition, networking and gamification
Another innovation of ECR 2021 is its virtual exhibition, where around 200 companies will be making themselves available through digital ‘stands’ which attendees can browse. Live chats with industry representatives are on the agenda, as well as webinars and product presentations.
Another new feature is the opportunity to interact virtually with other congress participants and industry representatives in ECR’s virtual networking lounge. Gamification is also a theme, with the ‘Play@ECR’ format offering attendees the chance to win daily prizes at certain exhibitor stands.
Christian Woronka, Head of the Vienna Convention Bureau, says, “The pandemic has given Vienna an excellent opportunity to strengthen and innovate through its virtual conferences. But we believe that virtual conferencing will not replace physical meetings; it will complement them. We are working to ensure that Vienna remains one of the world’s most successful international meeting destinations, and supporting organisers such as the ESR in planning events during and after the pandemic.”
Will a live ECR go ahead in 2021?
Those who miss the in-person component of ECR may well be compensated later in 2021. There are plans afoot to host a summer edition of the ECR as a hybrid event – again, based in Vienna, if pandemic restrictions permit. Meanwhile, preparations are also under way for a possible winter edition.