Tuesday, July 21 2020 - The European Society of Radiology (ESR) is proud to announce that ECR 2020 proved to be an outstanding success in overcoming COVID-19, attracting a record 15,265 professional delegates to its online sessions, an increase of 5% on the previous year. The online meeting saw viewers tuning in from over 130 countries across the world to participate in the society’s first ever online congress. With a vast mix of educational, scientific, interactive and industry-related content available for participants, this year’s ECR was truly a unique experience that sought to overcome the challenges posed by the pandemic and succeeded.
A congress packed with highlights
The congress featured many special highlights throughout the week. A phenomenal Opening Ceremony on Wednesday saw Chairman of the ESR Board of Directors and ECR 2020 Congress President, Prof. Boris Brkljačić, play host as he awarded exemplary members of the radiology community with Honorary Membership and Gold Medallist awards.
Over the course of the week, attendees were treated to over 50 live sessions. From exciting plenary lectures and special focus sessions to state-of-the-art talks on COVID-19 and a special live stream dedicated to radiographers, there was educational content for all, with 28 CME credits available for participants. Over 2,000 people tuned in on Thursday morning to take part in a long-standing ECR tradition, the Imaging Interpretation Quiz, which was broadcasted live from Australia and hosted by former President of the ESR, Prof. Paul M. Parizel. And attendees experienced a charming and fitting end to the congress in the form of the Closing Ceremony with more delightful talks and music from the Vienna Boys’ Choir.
Congress innovations and opportunities
With the new online format came new opportunities for innovation. The Virtual Exhibition, which saw 216 companies in attendance, gave participants the opportunity to immerse themselves in an entirely digitalised expo centre. With a heavy focus on interactivity and usability, companies had the opportunity to demonstrate their products, host webinars and invite these attendees to visit their very own digital booths. Many industry partners also had the opportunity to inform and educate audiences through special satellite symposia, which ran throughout the course of last week.
Another debut feature, which was made possible through the high-tech nature of the congress whilst demonstrating the promise and potential of a digital meeting, was the ESR Table Talks. Covering the more social and light-hearted side of the congress, Prof. Boris Brkljačić and Prof. Lorenzo Derchi hosted these talks directly from the House of European Radiology in the heart of Vienna. With over 25 special guests involved in the Table Talks, this new format provided attendees with the opportunity to ask questions to some of the big names in radiology and gain insights into numerous topics related to the field.
Insights from the congress president
Prof. Boris Brkljačić, shared his thoughts on the online congress. ‘When we decided to convert ECR 2020 into an online-only congress, there was a lot of uncertainty about how this would look and whether it would still be possible to capture the magic of ECR in a digital format. After an incredible congress week, I am extremely pleased to say, there are no longer any doubts. ECR 2020 has been an outstanding event with so much interactivity and inclusivity from our attendees that truly kept the magic alive. The educational content at this year’s congress has been of an extremely high standard and, although I hope that we can all meet together in Vienna again soon, I think this congress has proved that online conference formats are possible and that the ESR has successfully set an industry standard with last week’s meeting. I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to this incredible meeting, from our programme planning committee and ESR staff to all congress speakers and, of course, all our attendees’.
ECR 2020 to continue until the end of the year
Although the central part of ECR 2020 took place last week, the congress will continue to educate and entertain attendees throughout the rest of the year through its special Highlight Weeks. In total, there will be ten ‘Highlight Weeks’, with each week exploring a set of carefully chosen topics. The first week, focussed on Artificial Intelligence, started on July 20 and includes a range of live and pre-recorded educational sessions, as well as company pitches. Also included is a premium event by the the European School of Radiology (ESOR), 'INTELLIGENCE. INNOVATION. IMAGING. AI IN ONCOLOGIC IMAGING', which is supported by Siemens Healthineers. A detailed overview of all Highlight Weeks can be found here.