Dear MRI Community,

As you know, the ISMRM Board of Trustees made the decision to move our 2021 Annual Meeting to a fully virtual format at the end of January.  Since then, the Annual Meeting Program Committee (AMPC) has been hard at work (you can check out some of our activities here)!  While we are still actively organizing many of the components of the meeting, we would like to share with you some of the details of our planned virtual meeting so that you know what to expect this year.

Like prior years, we are planning a 6-day format (15-20 May 2021), with our Educational Weekend followed by four days of Scientific Sessions.  Your tireless AMPC has already planned 92 scientific sessions (!!!) and 86 educational sessions, and we are still working on adding even more interactive and engaging content to encourage discussion and keep our momentum going!

As in 2020, oral and poster presentations (as well as educational presentations) will be submitted approximately one month prior to the Annual Meeting.  Oral abstract presentations will take the form of 5-minute talks, and poster presentations can be either a 5-minute video or a PDF poster. Attendees will be able to interact with these presentations and authors in the following ways before the week of the Annual Meeting:

  • All presentations will be available for on-demand viewing two weeks prior to the start of the Annual Meeting.
  • Each presentation will have a dedicated “chat” associated with it, where questions can be posed by attendees to the authors before and during the week of the Annual Meeting.

Of course, the main event will be the live, interactive sessions during the week of the Annual Meeting. We have settled on a format for the Scientific Sessions which is similar to an on-site Annual Meeting, where oral presentations will be run a bit like “power pitches,” and both oral and poster presenters will have a chance to engage with other attendees.  Here’s what we have in mind for our Scientific Sessions:

  • Scientific Sessions will be held in four 2-hour blocks from 12:00 UTC to 20:00 UTC, Monday through Thursday.
  • Opening and Closing Sessions, Plenary Sessions, and Named Lectures will be delivered from 20:00 UTC to 22:00 UTC, Sunday through Thursday.
  • Each scientific session will be made up of both oral presentations and an associated poster session.
  • Oral abstract presentations will be played during the first hour of the scientific session in a Zoom-like webinar format.
  • Questions can be posed by attendees during the oral presentation portion of the scientific sessions and answered via chat by the presenter of the oral abstract.
  • Following the oral presentation portion of the scientific session, the Q&A portion of the session will begin, where attendees will be able to meet with both oral and poster abstract authors in small-group Zoom meetings to pose questions and discuss.

As in previous years, we are planning an Educational Weekend and additional educational offerings during the week; unlike other years, we are taking advantage of the online format to bring you interactive tutorials, case-based courses, and more!

  • The standard educational weekend and weekday talks will be available as recordings ahead of the meeting, and you will be able to interact with the speakers through the associated chat channels.
  • Your questions to speakers will be picked up in live events where you can test your knowledge in an interactive quiz format and participate in a debate session around the content of the course.
  • We are taking full advantage of the opportunities offered by the online format to include a significant number of interactive educational sessions, including hands-on tutored small-group sessions.
  • Tutorials will cover subjects such as demos of software, tips and tricks for software engineering for MRI, hands-on analysis of physiological MRI, machine learning in cardiovascular MRI, acquisition and processing of resting-state fMRI, and diffusion theory.
  • New this year is an emphasis on transferable skills with educational sessions on subjects such as securing funding for research, data security, career development, and public engagement.
  • We are also pleased to announce a new collaboration between the AMPC and the ISMRM Education Committee, who will vet the educational program and select excellent talks for the ISMRM’s complementary MR Academy. They will also award the first-ever Award for Innovation in MR Education to the most innovative educational presentation.
  • CME and SAMs will be available for our physician attendees.
  • And—of course—there is the ever-popular Artifact Game Show!

And in addition to our stellar Scientific and Educational Sessions, we are bringing back some of the “fun stuff” that you have come to expect from our Annual Meeting!  This includes the following:

  • Shhhh…… Secret Sessions
  • 20+ Member-Initiated Symposia
  • “Fireside Chats”
  • Fun Run (and more!)
  • Virtual EDI Forum
  • Closing Party (with prizes!)

Some of these events will be in parallel with our scientific sessions, and others will occur at time zones convenient for the organizers…stay tuned for more info!

In short, we are thrilled to be able to offer the membership an engaging and informative Annual Meeting for 2021… you won’t want to miss it!  I am looking forward to “seeing” you there!

Nicole Seiberlich, Ph.D.
2021 ISMRM Annual Meeting Program Chair