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The Spring Meeting 2021 of E‑MRS (European Materials Research Society) was a great technical feat the key4events teams achieved. They worked with a client keen to reproduce its traditional on-site event virtually but in exactly the same way as the on-site conference usually takes place. They had to provide a high-quality service for unprecedentedly large volumes. Managing 15 virtual rooms at once was a first for key4events, but it turned out to be a huge success.

E‑Congress platform : the challenges of an all-digital event

At the start of 2021, E‑MRS watched a demonstration of the e‑conference platform that key4events has been developing continuously since the health crisis began.

Flawless technical expertise for a scientific conference

This scientific association, which promotes materials science and engineering internationally, saw the key4events platform as the market’s best-suited tool for meeting all its needs.

‘Like all our clients in science, E‑MRS’s challenge was to share large volumes of content : we were more focussed on the platform’s technical side than its appearance,’ explains Géraldine Schmück, Event Project Service Manager at key4events.

Indeed, the Spring Meeting includes several symposiums taking place at the same time over four days with around 1,800 presentations and speakers, plenary sessions, workshops and even lessons for getting ready for exams !


A new vision of event management

‘The client wanted to reproduce its event entirely virtually but in exactly the same way as the on-site conference usually takes place. So our role was to steer them towards a new vision of its e‑conference as the idea was to adapt, rather than to recreate the restrictions of reality in a virtual format. Remotely, participants don’t appreciate conference content in the same way as they do at an on-site event.’ 

And with 2,000 participants in front of their screens, it was worth offering an optimal event experience !

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Behind the scenes : what technical organisation was required for such a large-scale e‑conference ?

In the end, the conference’s 19 symposiums were reduced to 15 rooms, which was still considerable. And key4events developed a bespoke platform for the E‑MRS, supporting the client in producing a scientific programme better adapted to a digital format.

Mini-conferences within the e‑congress

In the weeks that followed, the watchwords were action, listening skills and flexibility, as well as improvisation, given the contingencies of live events. The E‑MRS’s Spring Meeting was an event bringing together several mini-e-congresses, which was why the content was especially rich and the talks highly specialised.

‘Each room was associated with a particular theme that would interest a category of researchers,’ says Géraldine Schmück. ‘And with symposiums managed by many intermediary organisers, it was a real challenge to adapt to the programme’s changes, including at the last minute ! But in the end, everything went smoothly and entirely transparently for participants, which was the most important thing.’ 

40 operators in action at key4events !

The infrastructures, with extra back-ups to tackle any internet cuts, were able to handle the load of 15 simultaneous flows. As regards staff, we had to train many freelance operators, hired to provide this service alongside key4events employees, and in parallel to other events in the schedule.


‘Given the challenge and weightiness of the scientific programme, our client was very flexible and showed excellent listening skills. And the atmosphere in our studios was wild : our teams worked to music with colourful scarfs around their wrists and head and prizes to win. It was a great way to reduce the stress of this large-scale conference!’ 

Next stop : E‑MRS 2022 in on-site format !