Roseann O’Reilly Runte, President and CEO of the Canada Foundation for Innovation, shares her thoughts on the importance and challenges of organizing ICRI.
It is important to highlight both the importance of ICRI for the global research and science community and the ingenuity and resilience of this community. When the pandemic disrupted our plans for the 2020 meeting, it was the research infrastructure community that encouraged us to persevere. Thanks to this support, ICRI 2020 became ICRI 2021.
This speaks to the unique role ICRI has as the preeminent multidisciplinary forum for discussions on research infrastructures. Its critical contribution to science and research stems from the attendance by the globe’s leading experts on research infrastructure and the quality of the topics they discuss. I am certain that many friendships and professional collaborations have their origins at ICRI.
Planning and hosting an ICRI is a considerable endeavour requiring many contributors. We are happy to offer our friends and colleagues in Brno, Czechia, our support, and continuing collaboration.
Though the pandemic prevented an in-person meeting in Canada last year, the virtual format allowed us to reach about 700 participants from 50 countries on four continents, representing academic, government, international and non-governmental organizations across the natural and social sciences. This is indeed a significant level of participation.
One reason for ICRI’s success in attracting this level of participation is the blending of new and recurring topics under an overarching conference theme. This fosters new discussions and an incremental building of understanding and knowledge about research infrastructures.
The overarching theme for ICRI 2021 was The role of research infrastructures in building bridges to a sustainable world, which gave rise to plenaries and parallel sessions that examined topics of relevance and importance to the future of domestic and international research infrastructures. Inspiring discussions and presentations included the North-South dimension of science and research, and the need to distribute global research capacity more equitably.
As a hybrid event, ICRI 2022 will allow many more people to participate than in the past. So, I encourage everyone to share news and information about ICRI 2022 with colleagues in your professional networks.
Though still in the planning stages, the program for ICRI 2022, hosted by Czechia, promises to be similarly rich in new and continuing topics of interest, and in the potential for stimulating exchanges.
Even before the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s role as host of ICRI 2021 concluded, we began assisting the next host country as they started thinking about their role in ICRI 2022. Planning and hosting an ICRI is a considerable endeavour requiring many contributors. We are happy to offer our friends and colleagues in Brno, Czechia, our support, and continuing collaboration. As we were fortunate to learn, strong engagement from the research community is one of the key success factors in organizing this global conference.
As a hybrid event, ICRI 2022 will allow many more people to participate than in the past. So, I encourage everyone to share news and information about ICRI 2022 with colleagues in your professional networks. Please start by saving the dates of October 19–21, 2022, in your calendars for ICRI 2022. I have, and I will look forward to seeing you there.