May 2020

ECNP e-news
Message from the President
Wednesday 20 May 2020

ECNP President Gitte Moos Knudsen

How to organise a virtual congress

As most of you probably are aware by now, ECNP has taken the decision to go virtual with the 33rd ECNP Congress; all congress content will now be delivered online. The current corona situation, and the uncertainty about what lies ahead, makes it impossible for us to guarantee a safe and vibrant physical congress. With participants coming from all over the world, the risks were too great.

Needless to say, the decision to abandon the physical meeting was not an easy one. Apart from the internal discussions within the ECNP Executive Committee and the ECNP Office, we consulted many of our community members, including our colleagues from academia and industry, public authorities, and partner societies. The feedback was loud and clear: a decision now was in everyone’s best interests.

I will not deny that a physical meeting still beats everything. But one thing that the past few months have taught us is to do things differently – that we need to look for new solutions. A member asked me, for example: how are you going to organise the Run with the President? I am certain that our virtual congress will bring opportunities for new kinds of interactions and it will be exciting to discover new ways of doing things – ways that we have not thought of before, such as the ability to move smoothly from one parallel session to another. Or for poster presenters to interact with other poster presenters in a way that is rarely possible within the same session. And who knows? It is likely that we will continue with some of these new activities, even when we get back to more normal conditions.

Given the circumstances, we have decided to offer the virtual congress at a significantly reduced price. Many of us are used to getting information from the internet for free and some of you may also expect to be able to join a virtual congress almost for free. I myself had the opportunity to dive into the budgets, and I can say for sure that there is no free lunch. And there is some truth in the adage that if something on the internet is free, it is usually you who is the sales object. What I can tell you is that the 33rd ECNP Congress Virtual will be an outstanding scientific event.

I am very proud that we have managed to transition the entire programme to the new platform. For range, depth and quality, the congress will be without peer. We have also thought hard about how to give you the best possible participant experience, with user-friendly formats, a range of interactive options, and a library of presentations that will stay accessible after the meeting to allow you full flexibility in how you engage with the congress content.

I very much hope you will join us for 33rd ECNP Congress Virtual on 12-15 September and look forward to see you there!

Gitte Moos Knudsen
ECNP President
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