Development Review

Vol 31, Issue 1, 2022

Lesson Learned: Hosting Sixth International Conference on Chemical Engineering Virtually in the Midst of Pandemic

Author(s) : Kazi Bayzid Kabir, Sultana Razia Syeda, Md Iqbal Hossain and Nahid Sanzida

Abstract : 

The Sixth International Conference on Chemical Engineering organized by the Department of Chemical Engineering, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) was scheduled to be held on 19-22 December, 2020. When COVID-19 caused cancellation of all large in-person gatherings across the world as well as international travel, the organizing committee of ICChE 2020 decided to switch to complete virtual mode in September 2020. Soon after, the committee faced the biggest challenge as to how to deal with 250+ participants joining from fourteen different countries to attend five plenary lectures, fourteen keynotes and seventy-five technical papers, and a poster session in a two full and two half day program keeping the sense of engagement and connection in a virtual environment. In this paper the journey from preparatory stage through setting the virtual platform to conducting the conference in real time is described including the choice of online platform, mode of conduct, manpower allocation, trial sessions and preparation of guidelines. The difficulties faced by the organizers and lesson learned are discussed based on detail analysis of the event. Additionally, a survey result of the participants showing that conference was more or less successful in terms of knowledge dissemination and meeting the expectations of participants and speakers is also presented.

Keywords : Virtual conference, Zoom platform, virtual poster, COVID-19, pandemic

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