ESOT 2021 – A successful and safe hybrid congress celebrated in Milan

ESPI2021Milan

14 September 2021: The 20th edition of the European Society for Organ Transplantation’s (ESOT) congress has just been celebrated in-person and online from 29th August to 1st September at the MiCo Convention Centre in Milan (Italy). The biennial ESOT Congress is the largest gathering of the transplant community in Europe bringing clinicians, surgeons, physicians, nurses, scientists, researchers and patients to review the latest developments in transplantation. AIM Group International, as the appointed PCO, has supported ESOT to organise the in-person event in Milan.

The ESOT Congress 2021 is one of the first major, international congresses with a large face-to-face international attendance and for that reason it recorded a great degree of enthusiasm from the transplant community who have been waiting for the opportunity to reconvene. 4-day event registered 1,200 in-person participants plus 1,400 online attendees, with an astonishingly broad international representation from 74 countries, including European but also overseas participants, for example, from China and the USA.

The numbers involved in the congress are huge: +850 speakers for 830 presentations (425 pre-recorded, 67 virtual delivered live and 338 on site), 1,200 abstracts were submitted, 11 break-out parallels rooms, 12 industry symposia, 3 hands-on sessions with simulation and perfusion machines and an exhibition area with +30 sponsors. All the scientific sessions were recorded and streamed online.

Safety was a major concern, great consideration was taken to ensure the health and reassure all those attending. The ESOT Congress Management Team together with AIM Group International and the MiCo Milano Convention Center prepared a safety and security plan that respected the main criteria for in-person events as set out in Italy’s latest COVID regulations.

Some of the measures put in place included the Green Pass checking of every attendee, separated entry and exit flows, body temperature measurement at entrances, hand sanitising stations throughout the venue, floor signage to encourage 1m social distancing, automated IT procedures for registration, advanced medical support for those in need and all rooms set up to meet social distancing requirements. In addition, the cleaning service of the entire congress centre areas was upgraded, internal air recirculation was eliminated, and all catering services were redesigned in compliance with the hygiene and health safety measures necessary to avoid risks of biological contamination. All in-person attendees who required a COVID-19 test prior to returning to their country were offered a swab test on-site for free at their own convenience. This service was provided by a Covid-19 test Mobile Station parked at the congress venue.

“Organising such a major, international congress during the pandemic was a big challenge, with the sanitary situation and national legislation always evolving” explained Rosangela Quieti, Managing Director Congress Dept., AIM Group International. “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. The hybrid format was a successful choice because the attendance was doubled thanks to both the channels. ESOT registered a very high number of in-person attendees, but in particular the number of countries and regions represented, 74 in total, is impressive and surpassed expectations.”

The next edition of ESOT Congress will be in Athens in 2023.