The 20th edition of the European Society for Organ Transplantation’s (ESOT) congress was held as a hybrid event, 29 August-1 September, at the MiCo Convention Centre in Milan, Italy. The biennial ESOT Congress, organised by AIM Group International, is the largest gathering of the transplant community in Europe, with 2,600 participants from 74 countries.
The ESOT Congress 2021 was one of the first major international congresses to return with a large face-to-face international attendance. The four-day event registered 1,200 in-person participants plus 1,400 online attendees.
The congress ranged from over 850 speakers, 1,200 submitted abstracts, 11 break-out parallel rooms, 12 industry symposia, three hands-on sessions with simulation and perfusion machines and an exhibition area with 30 sponsors.
Scientific sessions were recorded and streamed online, with a social programme organised at the Museo della Scienza e della Tecnica cloister, the largest museum of science and technology in Italy, which involved a President’s Dinner.
Covid-19 safety concerns were at the forefront of planning for the in-person elements. A safety and security plan ensured Italy’s latest Covid regulations were observed and measures were taken that included body temperature measurement at entrances, floor signage to encourage 1m social distancing and Covid-19 tests were provided to in-person attendees who required one prior to returning to their country.
Luciano Potena, ESOT president, stated: “We couldn’t have hoped for a better partner (AIM Group) to support ESOT in hosting the very first hybrid congress during these unprecedented times”.
Rosangela Quieti, managing director congress department. at AIM Group International, highlighted how “despite the difficulties, ESOT was able to guarantee to its members a live, interactive event with plenty of opportunities to meet, chat, train, share ideas, strengthen relationships on site but also be informed, updated and educated online”. Quieti added the hybrid format allowed the event to ‘double’ its attendance, while maintaining the “willingness for face-to-face meetings again”.
The next edition of ESOT Congress will be in Athens in 2023.