In 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to postpone our flagship event due to be held in Belfast. To keep the community connected and provide an opportunity for researchers to share knowledge and foster collaboration, we decided to focus on a series of virtual sessions on topics of strategic importance. This was alongside a small number of full-day virtual events, including the NCRI Virtual Showcase and Beyond the Horizon: Innovative cancer drug discovery.
The format of these events was re-thought to maximise the opportunities and strengths offered by the virtual environment. We introduced shorter sessions featuring panel discussions and conversations rather than more traditional presentation styles. This allowed for more significant audience interaction and participation. The ease of access meant that over 12,000 attendees joined us throughout the year – many joining multiple sessions and engaging with us during various other activities, including the work of the NCRI Groups.
The NCRI Virtual Showcase and the first Beyond the Horizon event were also very well received. Our Virtual Showcase media programme reached 210m readers through 2 press releases and the 60 articles generated as a result.
Beyond the Horizon was the first event of its kind focusing on strategic questions related to innovation in cancer drug discovery, where panels of eminent speakers addressed challenges and opportunities. NCRI and our Partners are currently exploring subsequent work in this area.