ECVS Congress Planner: Change of Plan? No Problem.

by Katie Williams

Ambrose Fox has developed a bespoke event planning tool for our client, ECVS. The planner was designed to efficiently organise and help co-ordinate the scheduling of the Annual Scientific Meeting. When the large-scale event was cancelled during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Congress Planner was useful in the rapid re-planning of the event.

Every year hundreds of people gather for the Annual Scientific Meeting hosted by the European College of Veterinary Surgeons. This large-scale event is held across several days in a different European city each year. In 2019 the congress was held in Budapest and attracted almost 1,000 attendees.

The Annual Scientific Meeting is organised into streams: Small Animals and Large Animals. Each stream is then allocated numerous sessions led by experts on a vast collection of veterinary topics.

Speakers are chosen to present a topic for discussion based on the submission of an abstract. If successful in acquiring a slot to discuss their findings, a speaker will typically be awarded a time slot during the event.

Sessions can last anywhere from 15 minutes for ‘short communications’ up to 60 minutes or more. There can be many sessions held across many different rooms about any manner of veterinary topics at one time.

Planning and co-ordinating such an event takes a lot of time and a considerable amount of effort. Ambrose Fox has developed the Congress Planner for ECVS to make the whole process more efficient and easy to manage. The planner was developed using React and works in standard internet browsers.

The bespoke diary-style planner is linked to the ECVS database – also developed by Ambrose Fox – which allows the user to connect speakers and submitted abstracts to the sessions they create for the event. The information is readily available in drop-down lists to be selected by the user – no manual typing necessary.

A session can be easily created by clicking on a blank space in the calendar. Once a session has been created, a drag-and-drop style interface allows the user to move the session to a different day/time without the need to delete and re-enter information.

While the user populates the calendar and allocates each session to a stream, an online programme is automatically generated outlining the schedule for each stream and includes the time, location, abstract title, and speaker for each session.

These programmes are published on the ECVS website and updated in real-time with any changes or additions to the schedule. This eliminates the need to manually copy information from a diary to create a programme for each stream.

The Congress Planner proved essential in the re-scheduling of the Annual Scientific Meeting 2020 when Covid-19 derailed the plan to hold the event in Valencia. ECVS were able to rapidly reorganise the Meeting and hold their resident sessions online. The automated generation of programmes made the re-planning of the event much easier to manage. Last-minute changes and additions were updated on the website in real-time.

While the intricacies of small animal orthopaedic surgery will baffle most of us, the straight-forward efficiency of the Congress Planner is simple and effective enough to be understood and appreciated by all.

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