EACR Virtual Congress 2020: “Highly enriching and a great experience”

The COVID-19 crisis meant a lot of people had to change their plans for 2020 very quickly. We weren’t able to hold our Congress in Torino this year, but we were able to organise a Virtual Congress, free for EACR members.

We had a fantastic 2 days of science, with over 2700 members registered and researchers logging in from 79 countries! We’d like to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who took part.

New EACR President, Prof. Caroline Dive said the Virtual Congress “uplifted our spirits and reminded us how exciting science can be.”

The programme contained 10 Keynote Speakers, including the winners of the prestigious Mike Price Gold Medal Award and Pezcoller Foundation-EACR Cancer Researcher Award, as well as the Nobel Laureate, William Kaelin (watch his talk on YouTube). There were also 20 Proffered Paper presentations from student and early career researchers throughout the two days. As well as this we gathered senior editors from top cancer research journals for a Meet the Editors Discussion Panel. You can watch the Meet the Editors session on the EACR’s YouTube channel.

Recordings of the talks and Q&A

Good news for anyone who couldn’t attend – EACR members can now watch the recorded talks and Q&A from the Virtual Congress in the EACR Members’ area. There are 26 talks in all – a few speakers asked us not to include theirs due to sensitive data. Just log in with your EACR membership details to watch.

Not a member? Click here to join. You can also see a few selected highlights on our YouTube channel.

Award Lectures:

As mentioned above, two prestigious awards were presented at the Virtual Congress. Nitzan Rosenfeld of the CRUK Cambridge Institute and Inivata was the recipient of the 2020 Pezcoller Foundation – EACR Cancer Researcher Award for researchers of excellence with no more than 15 years post-doctoral experience. His talk, “Circulating tumour DNA: An increasingly powerful diagnostic tool for oncology”, began the first day of the conference. Read more about the award and Nitzan Rosenfeld.

Pier Guiseppe Pelicci
Pier Giuseppe Pelicci with the Mike Price Gold Medal Award and former EACR President, Anton Berns

The Mike Price Gold Medal Award, awarded to senior researchers who have made exceptional contributions to the progress of cancer research in Europe, was presented to Pier Giuseppe Pelicci. He gave a talk titled “Regulation of self-renewal in cancer stem cells” in the second session of day 1 of the Virtual Congress. You can find out more about Pier Giuseppe Pelicci and the award here.

Congress Feedback:

In the feedback survey, 99% of participants said they would recommend the event to others. There was overwhelmingly positive feedback regarding the quality of talks, the ability to interact with speakers, and the ease of access around work and home commitments.

Nobel Laureate William Kaelin’s Q&A chaired by Caroline Dive

Many participants appreciated the excellent range of topics as well as the opportunity for early career researchers to present their work on a big international stage. The Meet the Editors panel proved to be a highly popular session as it enabled young researchers to ask questions about the acceptance process and what makes a good manuscript.

“High quality of talks, good balance between high profile keynote speakers and more junior investigators. Was great to be able to keep up to date with new developments in spite of current travel restrictions.”

“I loved the possibility to connect to great scientific content in these times where travelling and meetings should be avoided. The sessions were great and I was able to see my family in the morning and evening, despite being ‘at a conference'”

“It is challenging to run a conference virtually and there were minimal connectivity/streaming issues and any that did occur were handled quickly and efficiently. The way the Q&A sessions were run with the chatroom function worked and made it easy to get involved and ask Qs. The interactive live panel was a great addition and very informative. The talks chosen made for an interesting and diverse conference.”

“The conference was highly enriching and a great experience. I congratulate the organizers for a terrific meeting, that was quite equivalent to a face-to-face meeting (and even better in many ways).”

General Assembly & New Board Members:

Alberto Bardelli announcing the new Board Members during the General Assembly

The Virtual Congress’ General Assembly saw a number of Board Members’ terms come to an end. We would like to thank Anton Berns, Richard Marais, Leonor David, Therese Sorlie & Emmy Verschuren for their years of dedication to the EACR.

Four new members were elected to the Board during the General Assembly. Rene Bernards moves into the position of President Elect, with Evi Lianidou being elected as Treasurer. Meanwhile, Elisa Oricchio joins Arkaitz Carracedo as a representative for Early Career Researchers, whilst Núria López-Bigas was also elected as a Board Member.

We would also like to say a special thank you to Alberto Bardelli for his two year term as EACR President as he moves into the role of Past President. Caroline Dive is now the new EACR President and we look forward to her two year term as she guides us further forward. Caroline had this to say about Alberto’s term as President:

“on behalf of all EACR members, I thank Alberto for his time as President. He’s taken the EACR forward with his wisdom, passion, dedication and innovation. I have some very big shoes to fill!”


Participants used social media to engage with each other and other members of the scientific community during the Virtual Congress. Here are a few posts:

Accessing the recorded talks:

A few selected talks are featured on the EACR’s YouTube channel, and the rest are available for EACR members in the Member Resources area of our website.

Not a member? Click here to join. You can also see a few selected highlights on our YouTube channel.