The yr 2020 was full of challenges. While the COVID‐19 pandemic has affected schedules and packages worldwide, development in science and know-how has not misplaced its momentum and neither did the analysis and scientific achievements at Royan Institute and the Iranian Genetics Association. For the first time and with applicable adaptation to the present pandemic, each the Royan International Twin Congress and the Genetics Congress 2020 had been transformed into digital codecs that included particular occasions, varied scientific packages with keynote audio system, plenary classes, and viable workshops, all of which maintained the requirements and high quality of the earlier congresses. Thus, the potential exists to additional improve future congresses, regardless of the state of the pandemic.
The Royan International Twin Congress consisted of the 21st Congress on Reproductive Biomedicine (2–4 September 2020) and the 16th International Congress on Stem Cell Biology and Technology (5–6 September 2020) in Tehran, Iran. With particular appreciation to the efforts by Dr. Kazemi Ashtiani in 1991, the late founder of Royan Institute, the Royan International Congress was developed with the intent to comprehensively cowl current advances and completely different elements of stem cell and reproductive sciences, and improve international interactions between researchers and practitioners. This yr, the COVID‐19 pandemic pushed the Royan International Twin Congress to be a digital occasion. Conversion of this Congress to a digital format didn’t compromise its content material or high quality; reasonably, a number of alternatives offered themselves to each the Executive Board and attendees. In addition, the 16th Virtual Seminar on Nursing and Midwifery was held together with the 21st Royan Virtual International Congress on Reproductive Biomedicine.
The Royan International Virtual Twin Congress was managed by the Organizing Committee, with Dr. Fathi instructional deputy of Royan institute, as the Executive Chairperson and Leila Daliri as the Congress Secretariat Executive Manager. Dr. Ahmadi was the Chairperson of the 21st Congress on Reproductive Biomedicine and Dr. Montazeri was the Chairperson of the 16th Congress on Stem Cell Biology and Technology. The scientific committee held additional conferences with specialists and lecturers to extract the central topics from current analysis and helpful assets in addition to suggesting subjects that included the COVID‐19 pandemic and its impression on reproductive sciences and stem cell biology and know-how.
The Royan International Twin Congress was not the solely auspicious occasion in Iran that efficiently tailored to digital format as a result of of the pandemic. The Genetics Congress 2020 (GC2020), the 16th National Congress, and the 4th International Congress of Genetics had been additionally held collectively by the Iran Genetics Society (IGS) and the Italian Society of Biophysics and Molecular Biology (SIBBM) in Tehran, Iran and offered one other instance of wonderful conversion to a digital occasion. The IGS, established greater than 50 years in the past, is one of the most distinguished associations amongst Iranian scientific societies, and it holds this Congress each two years.
The success of GC2020 in the 16th National Congress and 4th International Congress of Genetics was attributed to the efforts by its scientific and government workers. Scientific secretaries of the occasion had been Prof. Seyed Javad Mowla and Prof. Valeria Poli, presidents of the IGS and SIBBM, respectively. Executive secretaries and Commercialization and Scientific program managers had been, respectively, Drs. Mohsen Ebrahimi and Maryam Mohajeri. GC2020 was a big scientific occasion that consisted of eight up‐to‐date genetics subjects and two very daring and enticing genetics packages. For the first time, two new sections had been added to the program.
The first pageant of Commercialization of Ideas, Services, and Products in Genetics and Biotechnology and the first National Student Festival of Genetics had been the newcomers to this occasion, broadly welcomed by the viewers. The Innovation and Prosperity Fund of Iran, a authorities monetary institute that helps information‐based mostly Companies, supported this pageant in the commercialization sector and participated in holding the first Iranian scientific‐cultural‐business occasion in the subject of genetics.
As with earlier congresses, help from each nationwide and international collaborators and sponsors was important. This scientific and monetary help is an funding in each events’ promotion and progress, and this collaboration shall be continued regardless of the COVID‐19 pandemic. This expertise proves that relationships between sponsors and giant scientific institutes and analysis facilities, resembling Royan Institute and the IGS, are based mostly on mutual correspondence, dedication, and understanding to reinforce world well being and peace. This basis can stand up to a worldwide disaster resembling the COVID‐19 pandemic.
The inevitable air of uncertainty that accompanied this pandemic hindered the determination to carry a digital Royan Congress and allowed solely two months to rearrange the particulars of this Congress. The deadline for summary submissions was subsequently tighter than typical, which decreased the quantity of submissions in comparison with earlier occasions. However, the submitted abstracts for the Congress had a considerable quantity of individuals regardless of two weeks to promote and one week for submissions. The submissions for every Congress had been revealed in the summary e book.
In addition to important attendance and sponsor help, the congress individuals are the motivation, driving drive, and final goal of the Congress. Compared with earlier years, the quantity of individuals elevated, possible because of the on-line Congress breaking the financial, distance and time boundaries for people who couldn’t journey. The whole quantity of registered on-line people was 824, and, because of the stay Instagram clips, there have been roughly 1400 views every day of the 5 days of the Congress that was dealt with with Mr. Jangkhah and his colleagues as digital training affair in Royan institute.
The attraction of this Congress was the selection of the plenary classes with international audio system. The Supplementary Tables S1, S2, and S3 present a abstract of the plenary classes. Speakers delivered their shows by stay classes or broadcasted shows, whereas the individuals requested their questions by a chat operate. The Royan Congress additionally featured a pre‐congress workshop on Managing the Variability of Controlled Ovarian Stimulation Protocols and Luteal Phase Support in High Responders (September 1). Due to the compressed quantity of contents, the workshop was held individually from the Congress in order that the viewers would be capable to attend with out discovering the schedule tiring.
GC2020 had a singular and completely different method. Due to the pandemic situations and the program’s digital mode, the organizers determined to carry their packages as a one‐month marathon in 4 separate sections, entitled “GC2020 Quadruple”. The benefit of this technique was that the presenters had a greater expertise with fixing attainable issues. The digital format enabled the organizers to offer the absolute best shows to the viewers. On the different hand, the viewers in such an in depth and detailed occasion had the alternative to adequately deal with the parts of every occasion and to take benefit of all classes.
In the first part, 4 workshops had been carried out fully on-line for 3 days and had been attended by many home and overseas individuals. Participants communicated with the teacher on-line throughout the workshop presentation and had been capable of totally exploit the workshop by an ample Q&A session. The degree of satisfaction registered was very excessive, offering an incredible mannequin for the subsequent events.
School college students are thought of an enormous asset and nice potential in varied fields of science and know-how, and investments are being made worldwide. Accordingly, the first National Student Genetics Festival was the second GC2020 step, which was designed and applied to introduce genetics to highschool college students and discover distinctive abilities amongst them. Sections of this pageant included scientific lectures, pupil article shows, digital excursions to go to information‐based mostly corporations in genetics and biotechnology, pupil competitions, and instructional packages for lecturers. This part was met with an unparalleled welcome by Iranian college students, lecturers, professors, and researchers, and offered the foundation for future occasions and packages of this kind.
The Commercialization Festival’s function was to bridge the hole between analysis and business and familiarize the college students getting into genetic research with attainable job alternatives. Students had been launched to commercializing concepts throughout specialised symposia and turned acquainted with the founders of excessive‐tech enterprises. Additionally, business homeowners had the alternative to search out excessive‐tech begin‐ups for funding. Technical discussions on the challenges of offering genetics merchandise and companies in Iran, introducing help establishments, Capital Café (presenting new concepts to buyers), Success Story (offered by business activists), and specialised commercialization workshops had been 5 enticing elements of this GC2020 quadruple’s third step, all of which carried out efficiently.
In the fourth and closing step, GC2020 additionally skilled one of the strongest scientific judging groups that included roughly 70 members of the Iranian Scientific Committee and 30 international members from completely different specialties in the subject of genetics. Over a interval of 30 days, the group reviewed and judged greater than 500 abstracts of scientific papers, which resulted in the choice of 143 oral shows and 381 posters throughout three consecutive days. Compared to the earlier conferences, we had a way more in depth listing of high‐rating invited audio system from Italy, Iran, the USA, Canada, Belgium, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Spain. Prof. Valeria Poli and Prof. Salvatore Oliviero helped suggest some enticing subjects for plenary classes, together with the Non‐coding RNAs in the well being and illness session, which attracted the most influential viewers. Also, the animal genetics classes had been very energetic and dynamic this yr, with heated Q&A debates in every session. The digital format helped us to draw a extra international viewers for the plenary classes. Most of the viewers participated from Italy as a result of of a normal invitation by SIBBM. Due to the excessive quantity of contents, 5 concurrently energetic digital halls had been established to execute the GC2020 Scientific Section (see Supplementary Tables S4, S5 and S6).
TOP APPRECIATION AND AWARDS
Like for earlier conferences, the finest abstracts, oral and poster shows, audiences, and poster readers in every subject had been chosen and awarded with a certificates and prize. The GC2020 had three additional awards: the first nationwide Farzaneh award for the finest Iranian scientist and researcher girl in the subject of genetics was awarded in reminiscence of the late Dr. Parvaneh Farzaneh; the National Genetics Award of Iran comprised of 9 classes of younger and leading researchers in seven completely different classes of genetics; and three awards from SIBBM for finest papers of the Congress.
STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES
The optimistic level of these occasions was the essential administration of the Royan Institute’s organizing committees and the Iran Genetics Society. Undoubtedly, these two occasions had been the most cohesive and affluent Iran international congresses in 2020, which was confirmed by the huge quantity of on-line attendees and subsequent offline views. Although the challenges posed by the outbreak of COVID‐19 had been unprecedented, the Executive Board of GC2020 succeeded in overcoming these challenges and managed so as to add the Student Festival and the Commercialization Festival for the first time in the Iranian Genetics Association historical past.
Considering these had been the first experiences of fully digital congresses in Iran, the end result was a hit and has demonstrated that this technique gives a number of benefits over face‐to‐face conferences. Perhaps the best benefit was its broader outreach. Difficulties of touring throughout a disaster could possibly be a big hurdle for potential international audio system; nevertheless, as a result of of the on-line format, international audio system might take part. Many people attended from varied international and home places. Notably, the sanctions aimed toward Iranian establishments have affected many elements of science, together with monetary and international communications. However, the on-line Congress induced slightly stress and stress on the government committees; it circumvented the monetary limitations and prices, eased the communication, and solved the drawback posed by international touring prohibitions.
Nonetheless, the Royan Congress abstracts had been accepted as poster shows solely, with no oral shows since the individuals had solely very restricted time to organize. This was a downside of the Congress and ought to be addressed in future occasions. Moreover, the attendees’ digital expertise instantly is determined by entry to a quick and secure web connection, which is a drawback in some areas. Despite the obstacles, suggestions offered by the individuals indicated an total passable occasion, highlighting the resilience of the Iranian scientific group.
One of the highlights from this yr’s Royan International Twin Congress was underscoring the commercialization of stem cell and regenerative medication merchandise. In line with this aim, a plenary session on Innovation in Healthcare was held, with founders of profitable corporations energetic in the subject from Iran and the U.Okay. amongst the panel members. They mentioned begin‐up processes and improvement of these corporations and offered encouragement and perception to these prepared to take a step additional into the market. Furthermore, a debate roundtable on stem cell merchandise was held, which mentioned regulatory insurance policies and challenges in transitioning a product from bench to bedside.
Moreover, the Innovation and Prosperity Fund of Iran, a authorities monetary Institution that assists information‐based mostly corporations, supported the Commercialization Festival of GC2020. This help was aligned with the current emphasis on the domestication of merchandise in Iran, which nonetheless stands regardless of the ongoing pandemic. The pandemic and its related issues couldn’t restrict the GC2020, which was confirmed by the addition of two new sections to this occasion by the organizers. Despite the limitations, the organizers had been capable of handle an entire pageant in the subject of genetics and biotechnology for varsity college students, professors, business activists, and corporations that supply merchandise and companies in this space. GC2020 proved that pandemic issues couldn’t restrict the organizers, pushing them to reinforce the efficacy of utilizing the services and turning this menace into a chance.
Large festivals with varied digital setting parts require a multi‐stage efficiency technique to supply applicable options and create appropriate fashions for future digital or mixed digital and face‐to‐face occasions. On the different hand, the success of these two on-line occasions in science and commercialization confirmed that borders and limitations couldn’t stop scientists and know-how activists from attending.
Despite the points that encompass the COVID‐19 pandemic, which was the major purpose for holding a digital Congress, the alternative for folks to take part in scientific conferences with out having to spend cash or time to journey, even put up‐pandemic, could possibly be a silver lining. This method could possibly be built-in into face‐to‐face congresses to present rise to hybrid occasions that mix the options distinctive to non‐digital occasions with the advantages of digital occasions.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
The authors have declared that there isn’t any battle of curiosity.