Dear friends and colleagues,

It is my absolute pleasure and honour to serve as your Program Chair for the Joint Annual Meeting ISMRM-ESMRMB in London, 07-12 May 2022. After 2 long virtual-only years, I look forward to welcoming you to London!

A little bit about me: I am from Belgium originally and after a false start as a product designer (in the Antwerp art academy, famous for fashion and kicking out Vincent van Gogh!) I studied physics at the Free University of Brussels (VUB). I finished my PhD there in 2005 and did a post-doc in Munich until I took up a post in the University of Leeds in the UK in 2010. I am currently a professor in medical imaging physics at the University of Sheffield.

Here in Sheffield, we are gradually returning to campus but many businesses in the UK as well University staff will likely continue increased levels of homeworking. Clearly the pandemic has accelerated a shift in our working culture, and it is only natural that scientific meeting culture follows suit.

I am absolutely thrilled to announce that we are planning the first ever hybrid annual ISMRM meeting, offering both in-person and online participation options. With this we are travelling further on the path laid out by the 2021 Program Chair Nicole Seiberlich, who pioneered this vision before the 2021 meeting was moved online again. The call for a hybrid format actually predates the pandemic and was mainly driven by the improving online connectivity, which has created real participation options for those who are not able to travel for any reason (family obligations, financial costs, environmental concerns, busy schedules, …).

While many of the details are still being worked out, we are committed to provide an interactive hybrid format. Those travelling to London will experience an ISMRM meeting much like in pre-pandemic times, with all the benefits of in-person interaction but with an additional option to interact with online attendees. Online attendees will be able to watch live streams of all sessions in London, and recordings will be available for those in more distant time zones, with increased interactivity than in previous online annual meetings. Importantly, online attendees will also be able to present their work to attendees in London and online.

Beyond the hybrid format we will continue to offer all of the familiar and high-quality content we have come to expect from the ISMRM, as well as successful new initiatives pioneered in recent years. Together with the AMPC, our brilliant vice-chair Nivedita Agarwal has been hard at work building a rich educational program with an emphasis on interactivity and novel delivery formats. The AMPC will also continue to work closely with the Education Committee, ensuring that the annual meeting remains a suitable feeding ground for the educational resources in the online MR Academy. I am also looking forward to working closely with Rhys Slough, SMRT Program Chair, building on developments in the past 2 years towards closer alignment between the two meetings. Finally, like many European researchers I have warm memories of past ESMRMB meetings and so I am looking forward to working with the society as we develop this joint meeting.

The AMPC has identified a set of engaging plenaries and named lecturers, and we are continuing down the path initiated by Karla Miller in 2018 of increasing quantities of member-initiated and member-led content on the annual meeting, and Junior Fellows-led content such as the Secret Sessions and Junior Fellow Symposium. Have a look at the calls to deliver an educational talk at the 2022 meeting, or for member-initiated symposia and tutorials. Other initiatives we will carry over from previous years are fireside chats with the legends of our field and our commitment to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in the highly popular EDI forum. This year will also see a relaunch of the official ISMRM challenges that were a popular fixture a few years ago (updates soon are now live on challenge.ismrm.org).

We will also continue the concept of the Special Focus Meeting, introduced in 2021 by Tim Leiner and Nicole Seiberlich targeting those with busy (clinical) schedules. For 2022 we have selected “Cardiovascular MRI” as a focus topic. The meeting will have additional educational and plenary content with a cardiovascular theme, and most scientific cardiovascular sessions will be concentrated on Monday & Tuesday. So, be sure to let your cardiologist friends know about this great opportunity!

And, of course, we are looking forward to a busy program of social events in the evenings after a two-year gap. Be sure to attend the Welcome Party in London on Sunday May 8th, and of course the Closing Party on Thursday May 12th, sure to be legendary. Details are being worked out now. Some of the chapters are also already busy planning the evening events of the century! London 2022 also happens to be the 30th ISMRM, a landmark in the history of the society, and the first ISMRM in the UK in 20 years (since Glasgow 2001). In order to mark the occasion, the British & Irish Chapter is working together with the AMPC on a number of exciting public engagement activities. Watch this space for updates!

We are excited to see you in person in London or online, and so, no matter how you are attending, gear up, get ready and submit your abstracts before the 10 November deadline!

Steven Sourbron
2022 ISMRM Annual Meeting Program Chair

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