The key innovations at the First Global Conference on Research Integration and Implementation (First I2S Conference, for short) were:
- the focus on overcoming fragmentation
- three participation options, especially the co-conferences
- the monster networking event in Canberra
- digital posters, especially using these in a capacity building way.
The focus on overcoming fragmentation
The concept underpinning the conference was to overcome the fragmentation that characterises research integration and implementation by providing a forum where presenters and participants from diverse approaches (trandisciplinarity, action research, systems thinking, implementation science and more) and areas of application (health, environment, security and so on) could interact, learn from each other about commonalities and differences and start to chart ways forward. The archived conference home-page and the archived conference aim and themes page demonstrate how this aim was depicted.
A brief video which was featured on the conference home-page also set out to describe the underlying conference idea, as well as promoting the conference:
Three participation options, especially the co-conferences
We aimed to make widespread participation possible by providing three options: in person in Canberra in Australia, on-line, or in person at a co-conference. This is shown in the archived webpage showing the event structure.
We were delighted to collaborate with colleagues who organised parallel events in three locations. The archived conference pages describe the events that were held at the co-conference in Lueneburg in Germany, the co-conference in The Hague in the Netherlands and the co-conference in Montevideo in Uruguay. Each co-conference tapped into some of the online sessions (live or recorded), as well as having their own sessions. The German co-conference also hosted one of the plenary talks. All three co-conferences were linked with the conference in Canberra during the education panel, which had participants at each of the four venues.
The monster networking event in Canberra
The conference in Canberra kicked off with a monster networking event, which culminated in dinner. Before the meal there was a structured process where participants were divided into tables of 10 to get to know each other, as shown in these photos from the Sunday evening registration and networking event. Participants changed tables twice (an algorithm was used to direct participants to new tables and it maximised mixing).
The digital poster system aimed to make it possible for people around the world to learn about and discuss each other's work. The archived digital posters page from the conference website provides information both about what we were trying to achieve with digital posters, as well as the logistics of producing and viewing them. Although digital posters (also known as electronic or e-posters) are being increasingly used at conferences, the way we employed them had some original features. In particular, digital poster submission well before the conference was encouraged, each digital poster was reviewed by two people and authors were invited to revise their digital posters to enhance clarity and relevance to the conference. This meant that only a handful of posters was rejected, although a number of those submitted right on the submission deadline could not be reviewed before the conference. They were annotated as unreviewed and made available for viewing.