In the ECTS Board, we are of course mindful of the fluid situation surrounding Covid19 in the coming winter months but also cautiously optimistic. As you know, the last year and a half we sought new ways to keep the scientific community together by the use of online fora including webinars, coffee shops and even the annual congresses and AGMs.
This is not of course ideal and we are all looking very much forward to being able to meet again in real life. The ECTS Board has now held the first physical meeting since the Board was elected in May of last year. We met in Helsinki to be able to also do a site visit to the site of the ECTS 2022 congress and make sure that the facilities were exactly as needed by ECTS delegates.
I am glad to be able to confirm that the logistics work out really well, with the conference centre being easily accessible from the international airport by local train or by a fifteen minute taxi ride. The environmental credentials are very important to the city of Helsinki and to the Messukeskus Congress Centre, with 99% recycling of congress centre waste, locally sourced food, organic coffee, solar roof panels and energy-smart geothermal heating and heat recovery. To date, Finland has had an outstanding record for Covid19 safeguards and the ECTS congress will be in a position to go above and beyond the Finnish health and safety requirements. Depending on the risk assessment at the time of the conference we will make appropriate adjustments to meal arrangements, seating density, mask mandates and other precautions as needed. As in our other meetings, a prayer room will be availabe. Also, separate facilities for breastfeeding will be available to better allow researchers with young children to attend the congress.
The long list of eminent main programme speakers includes Juleen Zierath (Switzerland), Christine Swanson (United States), Klara Sjögren (Sweden), Raj Thakker (UK), Rachel Gafni (United States), Carola Zillikens (Netherlands), Claudio Pedone (Italy), Elizabeth Zimmerman (Canada), Gretl Hendrickx (Germany),Fernando Lecanda (Spain), Maya Kansara (Australia), Steve Twigg (UK), Pekka Vallittu (Finland), Serge Ferrari (Switzerland), Andries van der Meer (Netherlands), Edmond Young (Canada), Kent Søe (Denmark), Mei Wan (United States), Brent Richards (Canada), Nick Harvey (UK), Bente Langdahl (Denmark), Daniela Pfeiffer (Germany), and Amelia Moore (UK). In addition, the congress will offer a large educational and ancillary programme with additional expert speakers, many sessions planned in collaboration with other societies. We are also looking hugely forward to the National Day organized by Outi Mäkitie, which will feature eminent speakers within population genetics, epidemiology, in vitro models and rare bone disease. I am looking very much forward to reconnecting with you in Helsinki and I want to thank everyone on the Scientific Programme Committee as well as ECTS and Interplan staff for their hard work making this congress possible.
Regarding the ECTS as an organisation I am really impressed with how everyone has worked together in these extremely difficult and stressful times to keep the society together and allow a continued exchange of science and networking. Next year, four new ECTS board members and a President-Elect will be elected by the members. This is the first time that the future ECTS President is elected directly by the membership – the old statutes of the ECTS had the President being appointed by the Board. In January, we will open the call for nominations and provide you more details about the process. Also note that the ECTS has a number of Action Groups where it is possible to get involved in more of the work done by the ECTS – more information can be found on the website.
Thanks to the support from our members and corporate sponsors we are able to remain a strong and active society and deliver educational and scientific initiatives of real value. Many thanks for supporting the ECTS, keep looking out for our online activities and looking forward to May in Helsinki when this winter is behind us.
ECTS Board of Directors met in Helsinki and checked the congress facilities