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How to foster engagement among digital and in-person attendees

One of the main challenges for hybrid congress is to establish a concrete collaboration among both the digital and in-person participants. The “IPR Olympics” was a special feature which helped connect North-American and European radiologists in a truly engaging way.

The 2021 edition of the International Congress of Pediatric Radiology (IPR) was held as a hybrid format from 10th to 15th October 2021 in Rome and online. The congress is held every five years alternating between Europe and North America. There were 220 speakers of which 100 were connected remotely. It gathered 350 people in Rome and 650 participants online: so, a truly hybrid audience was engaged at the same time.

To facilitate the collaboration and active engagement of both the online and onsite audiences, it was decided to organise a ‘special’ hybrid scientific session, the IPR Olympics, where two teams competed, representing the European Society of Pediatric Radiology versus the American Society of Pediatric Radiology.

The teams were comprised of 6 people, chosen from the speaker faculty. The teams met not only in person but also online.  All the team members connected from their pc (from a separate room at the congress center in Rome or from remote) and were projected on two big screens in the plenary room. A quiz master moderated the game, based on multiple choice questions, most of them on the scientific content related to the congress but it also included some cultural questions about Rome. The audience in the plenary room and online were asked the same questions and must answer before the teams, then all the answers were compared and commented, originating interesting discussion.

This engaging format, conducted with an informal and spontaneous style, resulted in active participation and was really appreciated because it encouraged interaction and fun, while stimulating discussions about important scientific content.

All the scientific sessions were uploaded on the congress website and are now available on demand until next year. Finally, everything went well both on-site and online, so the client was really satisfied with the results and happy of being able to organize the event and meet again.

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