For the second year, the ELIXIR All Hands meeting has taken place virtually. With over 500 registered attendees and 24 guests from as far as Australia and the United States, ELIXIR has turned the constraint of lockdowns and a ban on international travel to its advantage by welcoming a larger and more global audience to the event.
This year’s event built community relations through a diverse programme of workshops and mini-symposia focused on emerging and established topics in the realm of the data-driven life sciences.
Naturally, in the current global pandemic, there was a need to focus on the contributions and future plans surrounding sharing and access to COVID-19 related data. The event was launched with presentations and a panel discussion on the COVID-19 Data Portal and other interdisciplinary initiatives, including the Population Health Information Research Infrastructure (PHIRI) for public health data and Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives (CESSDA) for social science data. Data standards and data sharing were key themes of the discussion which concluded that the passion, cohesion and collaboration of the scientific community was the ‘positive outcome on a grim background’ of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The event hosted two exceptional keynote talks on divergent topics. The first from Doreen Ware (Agricultural Research Service, USDA and Adj. Professor at Cold Spring Harbor) focused on the challenges facing agriculture in the future, and the emerging opportunities for data science in this discipline. The second keynote from Kostas Glinos (Head of Unit, Open Science, European Commission) presented the European Commission’s work to instigate a paradigm shift toward open science. The talk highlighted the challenges in altering commonly held perceptions about the scientific methods, especially the ‘publish or perish’ notion.
This event was originally planned to be hosted in the beautiful city of Prague in the Czech Republic, and the ELIXIR Czech Node did an exceptional job of bringing a taste of the country to the event. Through a special networking session, a ‘tour de ELIXIR Nodes’ in Prague, and securing an exclusive stream of a theatre play ‘The elegance of the molecule’ performed by renowned theatre company Dejvicke divadlo, participants gleaned a bit of history from this unique city.
The ELIXIR 2022 All Hands event will be held in Amsterdam, Netherlands 7-10 June 2022.