"Hybrid meetings will increasingly become the norm"

Interview with Celina Renner, Senior Manager Congress, International Diabetes Federation (IDF)

Celina Renner, Senior Manager Congress, International Diabetes Federation (IDF); photo: IDF

As the COVID-19 pandemic slowly subsides, you have decided to hold the 27th World Diabetes Congress in Lisbon. Will it be a live or a hybrid format? What sparked this decision?

The IDF World Diabetes Congress 2022 will be a hybrid meeting with live streaming of the scientific sessions and satellite symposia. These will remain available for view on demand for four weeks following the Congress. In view of COVID-19 and the ongoing debate around climate sustainability, there is an expectation that a digital/virtual component will be offered for congresses and events.

What will your event look like? Do you plan any major changes to the last Congress? And how many delegates do you expect offline/online?

There are no major changes to the onsite component of the Congress. We will have three full days of scientific sessions, satellite symposia during the lunch and evening slots, a diabetes spotlight and networking areas and satellite meetings involving the wider diabetes community, NGOs and advocates. The main change is that the printed poster areas will be replaced by a digital poster gallery. We expect 5,000 onsite and 2,000 online delegates.

Did you conduct virtual or hybrid events before? If you compare a virtual with a live event, how different are the planning and organization?

We organized a fully virtual event – the IDF Virtual Congress 2021 – for the first time in December last year. We have not previously conducted a hybrid event. Organizing a hybrid event doubles the organization and planning work.

The MICE industry has been heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. How do you think this will change our industry, and what measures can be taken, in your opinion?

I think that hybrid meetings will increasingly become the norm, with onsite participation decreasing, and that there will be a move away from large international congresses to smaller regional meetings.