The ‘Woodstock of Global Science Conventions’ goes virtual

One of the world’s biggest science conferences has been hailed a success after deciding to go completely virtual this year.

Dubbed the “Woodstock of global science conventions”, the International AIDS 2020 Conference saw more than 20,000 individuals participating from around the globe this month, despite having to run as a totally online event.

Celebrating its 23rd year, the conference partnered with the MCI Group to reshape the conference into a fully virtual event during the current health crisis.

Traditionally held as a physical event, the 2020 conference was originally scheduled to be co-located in the cities of San Francisco and Oakland, California. But this year the convention took place on the UgoVirtual platform for virtualised conferences and hybrid events

Featuring over 20,000 global attendees participating in more than 600 webinars, 12 prime sessions, 27 workshops, 50 symposia, 62 abstract sessions 10 pre-conference events and 70-plus satellite sessions, the massive virtual gathering was held on the originally scheduled dates and was deployed with a “follow the sun” schedule to accommodate multiple time zones.

“Due to not only the incredible size, scope and reach of AIDS2020, but to its critical importance to the global medical and scientific communities, it was essential that we provide a strategic and seamless solution to allow the transformation of its content to the digital realm,” said Shawn Pierce, president of strategic events, meetings and incentives at MCI Group.

“UgoVirtual proved to be an ideal partner in this venture, providing the ideal blend of commitment, technology and expertise to bring our client’s vision to life virtually.”

The agenda included live and pre-recorded sessions and presentations by leading scientists, health workers, policy specialists, community leaders, celebrities, activists, government officials and even members of the British royal family.

In addition to a plethora of virtual sessions and community networking opportunities, the event featured a Global Village and Youth Programme that enabled participation by online audiences around the world.

“AIDS2020 is a critical event for the medical and scientific community worldwide, and it has been a true privilege to be a part of allowing the show to go on, even in the midst of the challenges presented by a global pandemic,” said Diane Estner, strategic advisor for UgoVirtual.

“The MCI Group team’s tireless work, dedication and skill in pivoting this landmark international event to a digital format was impressive and we are honoured to have worked alongside them to make this a successful and productive experience for the many stakeholders around the world.”

In order to give scholarship delegates continued access to conference events and sessions, AIDS2020 virtual content will remain online until July 30.