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Back Together Again at a Real-World Congress

June 2022 Seb Stokes

Shutterstock 1064990039

Learnings from Aurora at ERA, Paris

We recently had the pleasure of attending the ERA 2022 Congress on behalf of our client, the European Renal Association, to run the media and KOL engagement, press briefing, and ensure the running of an effective, on the pulse, press office.

ERA this year was a hybrid Congress, meaning we were working hard to ensure the Congress content and media assets were accessible in tailored formats for both virtual and real-world journalist and KOL attendees.

Two members from our team attended onsite in Paris whilst wider team members supported from Aurora HQ to focus on virtual attendees. The experience was a truly inspiring one as this marked one of the first real-world congresses where our business has begun to get back to in-person events and start to resemble normality once again.

So, congresses are back! But what can we learn from our experiences being back on site:

  • Back together, accelerating science - The message of ‘togetherness’ is a strong one and it’s coming through loud and clear from Pharma, the KOL and academic communities, and the media. Unsurprisingly, everyone was happy to be back on-site, networking, sharing information, and engaging in thought-provoking scientific discussions in a far more human way. The messaging around bringing communities back together again in the common interest of furthering and accelerating science was everywhere. Having gone through a global pandemic together, the principles of collaboration, co-creation, and crowd-shaping are stronger and more relevant than ever.
  • Immersive tech is commonplace – On many Pharma exhibition booths was a show-stopping piece of technology, designed to enhance understanding of a treatment and disease area with deeper, immersive learning. The most prolific vehicles that we saw were, of course, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality.
  • Hybrid must be here to stay – the importance of accessibility to information, highlighted at ERA, means the ‘behind a closed door’ congress of yester-year is officially dead. Some of the oral poster sessions and key presentations were being remotely presented from researchers own labs and homes to a mix of real-world audiences and virtual attendees. Some sessions had a mixed reality blend of speakers on stage joined by a panel of real-world and virtual speakers and presenters.
  • Doing our bit for the planet – Through rooting principles such as being a paperless Congress at the heart of the event and ensuring we offset our travel through carbon offsetting, we can make sure we are all doing our bit to maximise real-world networking opportunities with the sustainability and environmentally-friendly benefits of virtual work.

But we’ve got one nagging question remaining, will medical congresses soon include Metaverse networking? It sounds kooky but it’s already happening elsewhere!

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