Dr. Irina Dallo & Ariane Wenger, Transdisciplinarity Lab, ETH Zurich
The International Transdisciplinarity (ITD) Conference 2021 was held virtually because the situation with the coronavirus was still too uncertain and no participants should be excluded because of this. In addition, the aim was to provide access for scientists who, for example, do not have financial resources for conference travel/stays or have family responsibilities. A virtual conference platform was used, which could be accessed through a web browser. The various sessions took place on Zoom, and participants could join Zoom meetings directly from the conference platform.
On the first conference day, activities were organized specifically for early career scientists. Great importance was attached to interactive and diversified sessions to actively involve and engage participants. For example, mentimeter surveys were used, breakout-room discussions were held, or concepts were developed together on mural boards. The Zoom chat was also actively used to facilitate (informal) discussions between participants on the side and to share resources and tips. To minimize technical issues during the Zoom sessions, a technical host was available in each case to answer technical/IT questions. This person was also responsible for sharing the presentations, time management, and creating breakout rooms.
Following the sessions, there was the possibility to get in touch with the presenters or session moderators via video conferences that took place directly in the conference platform (so-called “networking tables”). In our opinion, this was actively used and allowed for further informal exchange between the scientists. During the following conference days, there were also various virtual coffee break sessions where informal discussions could be continued. In addition, participants could view the profiles of the other participants on the conference platform and get in contact with them via direct messages or 1-on-1 video calls.
Links to further information about the conference
Conference details: https://tdlab.usys.ethz.ch/news/events/2021-itd-conference.html
Long-term stored and publicly accessible conference contributions: https://transdisciplinarity.ch/en/veranstaltungen/itd-conferences/itd-conference-2021/pre-crafted-contributions/