Format of the virtual EMS2021

The event will be accessible from anywhere on the planet; the programme consists of nearly 40 scientific sessions, including the Harry Otten Prize session, strategic and keynote lectures, networking events, including events for early career scientists, award ceremonies and award lectures, and many more activities.


The meeting dates for the session programme of the virtual EMS2021 remain as planned: 6 to 10 September 2021. An opening day will be held on Friday 3 September.

Opening day

The opening day on 3 September 2021 will include strategic, an awards event, ice-breaker and networking opportunities for early-career scientists and a brainstorming workshop on the future of science.

Structure of the conference days 6–10 September

Conference days will have a recurrent structure throughout the week and will not be as packed as for an onsite meeting in order to provide ample time (and tools) for interactive meeting and discussion opportunities.

  • Three time blocks per day for live sessions are planned, each lasting 1:30 hours. The first part (1 hour) is reserved for lightning presentations, the second part (ca. 30 min) for live discussions in video chat rooms in small groups. The starting times of these session blocks are 9:00h, 11:00h and 14:00h (all CEST) throughout the week.
  • Plenary events like keynote or highlight presentations, lasting 30 minutes including question and discussion time, will be scheduled for 16:00 (CEST) in the afternoon.
  • More opportunities for networking are planned during breaks and possibly at the end of each day.

Aspects of the format of the session programme

  • The programme will run with four parallel sessions each day.
  • Essentially, all abstracts that were accepted are treated equally as lightning presentations; there is no distinction into oral or poster presentations as in the past. However, for each session, conveners had the option to schedule one solicited extended lightning presentation per session block.
  • The length of lightning presentations during the live sessions will be shorter than at on-site meetings to account for the experience that attention span tends to be much shorter online; therefore, the focus of the sessions will be on discussions, and more time is reserved for Q&A and discussions in small video meetings. In addition, attendees have the possibility of looking at full presentations in the display material before the start of the conference (see below) but also at any other moment asynchronously.
  • The concept for one session block of 1:30 hours in length is as follows: the first part – roughly 60 minutes – will consist of 5-minute slots for each presentation, with 3 minutes for the lightning presentation and 2 minutes for Q&A on that presentation. Solicited talks are assigned 15 minutes, with 12 minutes foreseen for the presentation and 3 minutes for Q&A. This can result in 1 solicited plus 9 lightning presentations plus Q&A, and without solicited talk there can be up to 12 lightning presentations plus Q&A within one session block. Conveners took these decisions during the scheduling phase in June.
    For the second part – roughly 30 minutes – break-out video rooms for each presentation in the session block (could be 10 to 12 rooms) will be opened to discuss with each author their work in detail. The chairs of the session may also decide to group the presentations/presenters thematically into fewer discussion rooms (could be 3 to 4 rooms). All participants of the session can freely choose which break-out room to attend and switch the rooms at any time. People in the break-out rooms will be alerted 2 minutes in advance before the break-out rooms are closed and all attendees are again in the main meeting room for the closing words of the session chair. Further discussions can be continued on the networking platform
  • The format of the session organisation includes authors being able to upload longer and more detailed display material to the conference platform in advance of the actual start of the conference (from 2 August 2021). These displays can be in a format of the author’s choice: this can be one graphic, a series of slides, a poster, or even a pre-recorded oral presentation; it needs to be uploaded in one of the following formats: .pdf, .ppt/pptx, .pps/ppsx, .png/.jpg, or .mp4. Up to 50 MB of space are available for the display material of each abstract on the conference platform. Video materials (in .mp4 format) will be uploaded to the Vimeo channel dedicated to EMS2021 and only visible to conference participants. The file size of .mp4 videos is limited to 200 MB. Uploading of displays as early as possible prior to the conference will be encouraged to stimulate discussions during the live session.
  • For this display material upload, we encourage pre-recording of oral presentation videos as an opportunity to exploit the potentials of the digital formats. The recommended length is between 10 and 12 minutes. In case authors have been assigned a solicited lightning presentation for the live session, the presenter may also provide a pre-recorded longer presentation around 20 minutes. Outstanding presentations will be highlighted through a new Inspiring Presentation Award (IPA). Further information
  • Presentation material: For the live 3-minute presentations, presenters are asked to upload their highlight slides (deadline: 24 hours before the session starts) with a maximum of two slides. In case presenters are concerned about the stability of their internet connection, they are encouraged to pre-record a 3-minute video of their presentation (deadline: 24 hours before the session starts; there is a length check during upload enabled).
  • Platform: The platform that will be used for the session running is zoom. The session programme is run in zoom meeting rooms, while most strategic and keynote lectures will be held as zoom webinars with questions by the audience passed on through the Q&A or chat tools and speakers replying orally. It is acknowledged that a number of organisations prohibit their staff from downloading the zoom client; participating in the zoom meetings will also be possible through a browser, including being able to join the break-out rooms. The sessions are also streamed to the live session; this way, following the presentation part of sessions is possible without accessing zoom at all; however, the break-out video meetings cannot be joined this way.
  • Specific events on issues open to debate (e.g. The Future of Science, ECS Icebreaker, ,..) will be organised in a more interactive format on the networking platform

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