Dear ESMAC members, colleagues and friends,

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world. Well, at the very least the perception of the world has changed for many of us. However, the annual conference of ESMAC has withstand the tide of cancellation, and we will gladly welcome you for a one-day virtual conference this year on Thursday 17th September.

As you may know, the ESMAC board decided to postpone Odense 2020 meeting to next year, 2021, given the uncertainty around international travels restrictions and social distancing measures that had to be put in place in many countries. The board quickly realised that postponing our face to face meeting did not necessarily mean cancelling the meeting altogether. Mature technology allowed many of us to continue working from home during the pandemic. The same technology will allow us to have a great virtual conference!

We have prepared a meeting that will feel like a normal ESMAC meeting. Okay, I know, without the dinner party… We will have to wait another year for that. But, in the meantime, Virtual ESMAC 2020 includes posters and oral sessions, and coffee breaks where you will be able to chat with friends and colleagues, exchange ideas, initiate collaborations, and get useful feedback on your research.

The programme is condensed in one day to encourage everyone to be fully present throughout the day. We have taken time zone differences into account to allow a maximum of participants, from around the world, to present. We will start the day with a poster session with all topics covered, but with presenting authors preferentially picked from Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Oceania. The mid-day section will be dedicated to 4 oral sessions covering the core topics of Adult disorders and ageing, Paediatric disorders, Movement analysis, and Imaging, modelling, and simulations. Oral sessions will be introduced by invited speakers and will follow with abstracts ranked highly during the review process. We will end the day with another poster session covering all topics, but with presenting authors preferentially picked from Europe and the Americas to accommodate time differences.

Although such a virtual conference may be new for many of us, and we (at the ESMAC board) definitely feel a bit like pioneers, virtual conferences is not a new thing, especially since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many meetings turned out virtual in the last few months and the feedbacks have been extremely positive. Virtual ESMAC 2020 is going to be great, don’t miss out!

We hope to meet you, by text ‘chat’, by sound, or by video, from anywhere in the world on Thursday 17th September 2020.

Martin Švehlík Morgan Sangeux
ESMAC President Virtual Conference Chair

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