Although 2020 has not yet ended, what an unprecedented year this has been. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic disrupting many aspects of our scientific lives, including our annual conference, there is one feature of ECTS that has benefited from the pandemic: the ECTS webinar series on Bone, Muscle & Beyond!
Wrapping up the first 3-year term for the current action group members, 2020 has been particularly successful for us and for the ECTS. We started out with webinars by Martine Cohen-Solal on kidney and bone fragility and Georg Schett who presented about inflammation and bone. These were excellent webinars with attendee numbers in line with our 2019 webinars. At the time of the webinars by Maria-Pau Ginebra who spoke about biomaterials in bone tissue engineering and Marelise Eekhoff who discussed Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva, the Covid-19 pandemic had forced most of us to close the laboratories and stay at home. We did notice this in the form of the attendance rates going up to over 200 on average and this persisted throughout 2020! Part of this success relates to the fact that we have affiliated with many other societies for the various topics, such as TERMIS, IOCCBH, OARSI, CABS and ASBMR. We aim to continue to work together with the other societies for stable liaisons and increased exposure.
In May, together with the Scientific Program Committee we organized the webinar event ECTS2020@home: avant-première of ECTS Congress in October 2020, which consisted of 4 excellent speakers invited for ECTS 2020 in Marseille but that were not going to be able to attend the October meeting (which was intended to be in person at the time). This was an excellent session with 300 attendees and received much attention in the social media.
In June we had webinars by David Thomas on osteosarcoma and Kassim Javaid on fracture prevention. In July, the ECTS Academy together with the young investigators of ANZBMS hosted their first webinar by Scott Youlten on the osteocyte genetic signature, which had a record-breaking 400+ attendees. ECTS Academy will continue this initiative by organizing 3 annual webinars. In September, Uwe Kornak presented a webinar on genetics of rare bone diseases and in October we had the first East meets West themed webinar on primary hyperparathyroidism presented by the Chinese Bone society president Weibo Xia and Salvatore Minisola.
With webinars by Nathalie Sims (tips and tricks for histomorphometry), Megan Weivoda (RANKL and metabolism; organized by the Academy) and Teresita Bellido (osteocytes) coming up, the webinar program for the end of 2020 promises to be exciting. In addition, the 2021 series has been almost finalized and contains a great variety of topics with distinguished scientists from the field.
The members of the E-learning action group are now close to ending their term but we have found a new group of enthusiastic members that will continue the webinar series. Although invited speakers have become more accustomed to the idea of providing a webinar and are more inclined to accept given the limited time burden, the new team will have to keep innovating and work together with other societies to stand out from all other competing online initiatives, which should ultimately safeguard the successful continuation of the ECTS webinar series on Bone, Muscle & Beyond.
On behalf of the ECTS E-learning action group, Bram van der Eerden