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Flexible, transparent, modern – congresses focus on new formats

It has been five years since the German Convention Bureau presented the LINC Leipzig Interventional Course in its study on the future as an example of best practice for the congresses of tomorrow. Industry experts were already praising the LINC's visionary ideas back in 2013, and a look at 2018 shows that the congress has perfected its forward-looking formats. The German Neurological Society is also treading new paths with its congress.

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As one of the most important specialist congresses for minimally invasive vascular medicine, the LINC welcomed 4900 medical professionals from more than 75 countries in January - almost 1000 more than in 2013. The LINC is characterised by its pioneering approaches to interior design and the use of technology. The LINC is housed inside a 20,000-square-metre hall at the Leipzig Trade Fair. Unlike in a congress centre, there are no rigid boundaries between lecture halls, networking areas, exhibition space, posters and catering zones. Structure is created by suspended dividers and transparent glass panels, artistic elements and a colour concept from lighting to flooring. Individual areas are visually defined, but not separated. In combination with a sophisticated acoustic concept, this gives rise to rooms within the room, whose interior remains visible and freely accessible.

For visitors, this means that they can move freely in the space, design their own personal conference programme based on the pick-and-mix principle, experience sessions sitting or standing, in full or merely in passing, always with the opportunity to interact with others. The latest LINC innovations include 'speaker's corners' for presentations and discussions right in the middle of the conference. They also pick up on the idea of the marketplace described in the GCB study.

The LINC's high technical standards already impressed experts in 2013. The core element is the live transmission of operations in clinics all over the world. Overlay techniques and an app provide the audience in the hall with all relevant data, allowing them to interact with the surgeons in real time. Since 2018, split screens have also given them an insight into the parallel session - all in cinema quality.

With the concept perfected in Leipzig, the congress organisers are now even meeting the needs of doctors in the rest of the world: There are now also a LINC Asia-Pacific in Hong Kong and a LINC Australia in Sydney. 2017 saw the first LINC in New York.

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Science Slam - science for all

Medical congresses are not just an opportunity for specialists to meet behind closed doors. An increasing number of conferences are open to the public, for example in the form of 'patient days'. The German Neurological Society (DGN) focused on entertainment in September 2017 with its brain-themed science slam at the KONGRESSHALLE at Zoo Leipzig. Adapting the format of the poetry slam for a scientific audience, the DGN welcomed not only experts but also people not attending the congress. Contestants had ten minutes each to present their complex facts in an entertaining way. The winner was chosen by gauging the applause of more than 700 spectators. "Organising a science slam about the brain serves to present neuroscience and neurological medicine in a manner that even laypeople can understand and enjoy, and to get young scientists excited about research into this fascinating organ," explained DGN Congress President Prof. Dr. med. Joseph Claßen, Director of the Clinic and Polyclinic for Neurology at Leipzig University Hospital. The DGN organised the science slam in cooperation with the Young Neurologists and the Science Slam promoter LUUPS.