Scientific conference ‘swiftly adjusts’ to virtual format

CLEO PR 2020 co-chair Prof Benjamin Eggleton.

Next month the scientific community will gather to experience one of the largest virtual scientific conferences in the region.

Originally planned to be held at the ICC Sydney, the 14th Pacific Rim Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO PR 2020) will now be held on a virtual platform on 3-5 August, with over 550 presentations shared over three days with participants from across the globe.

The international scientific calendar of events prevented the Organising Committee from postponing and cancellation was only considered briefly given much of the framework for the conference was already in place.

Organiser WALDRONSMITH Management conducted a poll of authors who had submitted their research papers to gauge their interest in participating in a virtual conference. The vast majority were in favour, so the re-engineering of the conference began.

“CLEO PR has been held every second year for 25 years and we were looking forward to welcoming our colleagues from across the region to Sydney,” said conference co-chairs Professors Benjamin Eggleton and Simon Fleming, from University of Sydney.

“Of course, the pandemic has meant that we had to swiftly adjust to a virtual format. Despite the difficult circumstances, we are delighted with the quality and quantity of submissions and the registration numbers, with attendance from so many countries around the world and are thrilled we have attracted such high calibre people attending from outstanding students and early career researchers to a Nobel Prize winner.”

Kate Smith, managing director of WALDRONSMITH Management.

The conference will open with an interview of Nobel Prize recipient Professor Donna Strickland from University of Waterloo in Canada, conducted by ABC science journalist Robyn Williams.

All the presentations can be viewed in real time and will also be available on demand following the conference extending the experience and value of the engagement well beyond the event.

“We are delighted to be able to provide a virtual solution for the conference given the situation with COVID,” said Kate Smith, managing director of WALDRONSMITH Management.

“The scale and complexity of the conference program is considerable and through the collective efforts of the Organising Committee, our team and our technology, the knowledge and expertise of the speciality will be shared across the global scientific community.

“Whilst the conference has a Pacific Rim focus, the three day event has attracted participants from all across the globe with 32 countries represented so the online nature of the conference has undoubtedly extended the reach of the event.”