A video challenge with great prizes, a live link to Antarctica, Ask Me Anythings, and a sustainability quiz – at the youth congress “Our Common Future” in May 2021, interaction with and between the participants was the name of the game.
Through “Our Common Future,” the Robert Bosch Stiftung promotes project work between students and researchers. Through the initiative, these teams create research projects on the topic of sustainability.
con gressa designed and implemented the youth congress while also supporting the acquisition of speakers and workshops. After the event, con gressa published a best-of video for the participants, leaving lasting memories of the event.
For one week in 2020, about 500 people attended the virtual Heidelberg Laureate Forum (HLF), where selected young researchers from mathematics and computer science were able to interact with laureates of their disciplines. Laureates attending included winners of the Abel Prize, the ACM A.M. Turing Award, the ACM Prize in Computing, the Fields Medal, and the Nevanlinna Prize. Five con gressa staff members were present on site to support during the networking conference.
The event was orchestrated from the Computer Center of the University of Heidelberg with a pop-up studio able to offer editorial and technical support. An extensive scientific program was complemented by various interactive events such as office hours by the laureates which helped facilitate the exchange between the participants. The event also featured online exhibitions and film screenings as well as a poster session and evening talks which took place in a virtual reality environment. There was even a virtual after-conference party on the last evening (with dancing!).
We are always thrilled when we are allowed to deviate from classic event formats and be part of a project team that sometimes takes a more playful approach to scientific topics.
For the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, we are organized a barcamp on the topic of mobility in the spring of 2019. Discussing with like-minded people, exchanging ideas, and developing ideas – these are things that work great in a barcamp. Barcamps (sometimes also called “Open Spaces”) are highly participatory formats: A moderator merely explains the process and topic and provides the right “spirit”; everything else comes from the participants themselves. In parallel sessions, the ideas and topics brought along are discussed and worked on together.
The Wisskomm Lab initiated by con gressa is a mixture of barcamp, idea lab and hackathon. Scientists, communicators and interested citizens come together to work out novel and concretely realizable project ideas in science communication: Short impulses introduce a topic and after an idea pitch, teams continue to work on selected project ideas. In between, there is a moderated exchange between the teams – for collegial consultation and critique. The events conclude with project presentations in the plenary session.
For many years we have supported associations and federations from the scientific environment with our expertise.
Members of the Association for the Promotion of German & International Science Law are well-known scientists and science administrators from the Federal Republic of Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The association has been in existence for more than 25 years. Since 2018, con gressa plays the role of a managing agency, coordinating membership support, financial administration, communication and organization of events of the association. Meanwhile, with many of the association’s meetings and conferences taking place online, con gressa is also responsible for technical coordination.
con gressa has also been closely connected to university communication and its actors for a long time, not least because Managing Director Susann Morgner worked in this field for more than ten years before founding con gressa. Since 2011, we have been organizing the annual conferences of the German Association of University Communication and have played a key role in designing their programs. Since 2014, we have also been looking after the association’s now more than 1,000 members and supporting the board in many matters.
In 2020 and 2021, the annual meetings of the university communicators were completely digitized. The chosen digital event tools demonstrated that meetings can be fully GDPR-compliant, barrier-free, visually attractive and affordable.
con gressa created the digital concept for the events, administered the conference tools, supported speakers and partners, and implemented the entire participant management. During events, con gressa provided technical support for the sessions. In 2021, the election of the new board of directors was also conducted entirely via an online system.
Giving science a special stage: that’s what the makers of Germany’s somewhat different kind of science festival “Children of Doom” are trying to do. The event took place in Berlin for the first time in May 2019.
At the premiere, there were various lectures and interactive formats on topics including artificial intelligence, robotics, genetic engineering, climate research and geosciences, accompanied by art installations, music and workshops in an interesting setting – and all with a steampunk flair. The theme focused on doomsday scenarios, which were to be countered or debunked in an entertaining way using solid scientific expertise.
con gressa advised the organizers on the conception of the scientific program for the 2019 festival.
Fotos: con gressa GmbH
2020 will be remembered as the year of the Corona pandemic – and thus also as the year in which the importance of science journalism for an informed public became abundantly clear worldwide. Individual scientists reached an audience of millions and became important advisors to policymakers and the public. At the same time, the pandemic exacerbated the already precarious economic situation of many media companies. Against this background, the European conference and event series “Science Journalism in the Digital Age” (EU-SciCon) took a look at the future of science journalism.
Various online lectures and discussions took place from fall 2020 to spring 2021. International media experts from Canada, the USA, Great Britain, Switzerland and Germany examined possible future options for journalism about science from different perspectives. All presentations were streamed live, recorded, transcribed and documented on the event website. The series concluded with an EU-SciCon working conference in Freiburg on May 12, 2021.
con gressa managed the website, organized the online events and supported the implementation of the final conference.
The two-day tenure-track conference took place as a hybrid event both offline and online. At the conference venue, the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, hygiene rules took the spotlight. Only very few participants were allowed on site, the half-empty rooms took some getting used to, and the required supply of fresh air made some people shiver.
The online room was on the other hand much more crowded. More than 400 participants followed the conference on the Internet. There was lively discussion via chat walls. Questions were read and answered by an “audience moderator” live. Some speakers were also present (only) online. And although technical measures had been taken to ensure that the panelists could see and hear each other both offline and online, it was not so easy to actively involve all participants in discussions. For the online audience, on the other hand, it worked well. Collaborative tools (padlets) that had been set up for the purely online workshops were also used extensively.
With over 600 participants, the MINT-EC Excellence School Network held its virtual school principals’ conference on November 6, 2020, which also celebrated the network’s 20th anniversary. The gathering on the virtual event platform Let’s Get Digital (LGD) saved some CO2 – at least 62,579.66 kg! STEM-enthusiastic schools had the opportunity to present themselves and their projects at their own booths on the platform, and there were numerous networking opportunities. For example, more than 400 randomly generated conversations took place between two participants at a time in the platform’s so-called networking carousel. Personal video messages to the school principals came from Federal Minister Anja Karliczek and Prof. Dr. Christian Drosten, among others.
LGD was also used for the MINT-EC Digital Forum on February 26, 2021, and ensured that around 600 students and teachers were able to meet for a productive exchange. Other tools integrated into LGD enabled participants to interact and network in individually designed spaces, for example.
con gressa was responsible for the conceptual and organizational planning as well as for the technical support of the conferences.
Held for the first time in Germany and taking place in November 2019 was the Nobel Prize Dialogue – an exchange between Nobel laureates, the world’s best researchers, stakeholders from politics, media and the interested public. The theme of the event was “Towards Health: Equality, Responsibility and Research”.
The Nobel Prize Dialogue originated in Sweden, where since 2012 it has regularly built bridges between science and society during the week of the Nobel Prize awards, honoring the human spirit of invention and research and inspiring shared creative thinking.
The Nobel Prize Dialogue Berlin was a cooperation between Nobel Media AB and the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the Robert Bosch Foundation, the Volkswagen Foundation and, as an additional supporter, the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings. con gressa was responsible for project management, marketing and event organization.
Fotos: David Ausserhofer (www.ausserhofer.de)
For the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) we were tasked with holding several online events in different formats and we are happy to announce that we will again cooperate on holding the annual user meeting this year. The annual user meeting is primarily a networking event to intensify scientific exchange and to stimulate new cooperations. The meeting was fully digitized for the first time by con gressa in 2020. The all-in-one platform Let’s Get Digital was used for the conference.
con gressa is active in the area of conceptual and organizational planning for the HZB and is also responsible for technical support in the implementation of various formats including diversity workshops, scientific retreats, specialist conferences).