Executive Summary

The 62nd London International Youth Science Forum (LIYSF) partnered with Whova in 2021 to organize a successful hybrid event and create an engaging experience for in-person and remote attendees. Student participants joined the Whova app, where they were able to interact using the same features on either desktop or mobile. 

About 62nd London International Youth Science Forum 

The London International Youth Science Forum has been showcasing scientific and engineering excellence and connecting hundreds of young minds since 1959, making it one of the oldest science forums in the world.

The 62nd LIYSF was a 2-week long hybrid event where over 400 young scientists came together to be immersed in a world-class science program including lecture, poster, workshop, and networking sessions. During the forum, students explored top tier research centers and educational institutions, and connected with students from a diverse range of national and cultural backgrounds. 

24,000+

Community Board Messages

6,000 +

Private app messages

2,000+

Poll responses

300+ 

Photos shared

50+ 

Posters in the Artifact Center

Challenges

1. Transitioning to a hybrid format

After decades of hosting all of the forum participants in London, the LIYSF organizers were challenged with restructuring the event to accommodate students attending both onsite and online. 

At this year’s forum, with nearly 300 students connecting virtually from 55 countries around the world, the organizers needed to provide a format that would cater to remote and in-person audiences. 

2. Creating an interactive learning space for young scientists

Normally, all of the students attending the London International Youth Science Forum would have the opportunity to engage and learn in one physical location. So it was crucial that the organizers provided an effective and dynamic learning environment despite the event being hybrid. They needed to make sure remote attendees had the same opportunities as in-person attendees and ensure that both groups of attendees could work together. 

3. Connecting in-person and remote audiences 

Bringing students together from different countries to celebrate science and diversity is a foundational element of the LIYSF. Providing an effective platform for the international audience to communicate and interact was necessary to uphold the forum’s emphasis on intercultural communication. 

Solutions

1. Creating live sessions for in-person and remote audiences: The London International Youth Science Forum used Whova’s Hybrid event tools to manage two audiences at once. Using Whova, it was easy for organizers set up live sessions to be streamed to attendees across the world so students could learn together, regardless of where they were tuning in from. 

2. Utilizing the Exhibitor Booth for live Scientific Visit workshops: The LIYSF organizers set up virtual booths, also called Scientific Visits, where scientific organizations could host live exhibitions and share informative videos. Whova’s virtual booths are set up just like an in-person exhibition hall, where attendees can check out the different exhibitor stands and interact with the hosts. 

During these Scientific Visits, students were able to explore resources from the renowned educational institutions and scientific research centers, and chat directly with the professionals. Setting up these sessions virtually made it simple for both remote and in-person attendees to engage with the exhibitors equally. 

24,000+

Community board messages

6,000+

Private app messages

2,000+ 

Poll responses

3. Setting up poster sessions for students to present their own research: The forum had over 50 posters showcasing students’ independent scientific research projects in Whova’s Artifact Center. The Artifact Center allowed students to demonstrate their research projects by uploading videos, documents, pictures, and resources in their own poster session. Using this feature made it easy for both remote and in-person audiences to share their projects and learn from each other. 

Students were able to demonstrate independent scientific research projects as posters by using Whova’s Artifact Center to upload video recordings, images, pdfs, links and more. 

4. Boosting engagement and interaction with gamification features: The organizers sparked tons of interaction with Whova’s Leaderboard Contest. With the Leaderboard Contest feature, attendees earn points toward a prize based on their level of engagement. The chance to win LIYSF merchandise inspired the students to post discussion topics, create meet-ups, and form social groups in the Community Board. 

The students also had fun sharing hundreds of photos in competition to earn points in the Photo Contest. Gamifying the photo sharing experience within Whova encouraged the attendees to post pictures, which allowed the remote students to see images from the event, as well as share their own pictures from attending at home.

5. Using Whova’s Speed Networking to connect a diverse audience: The organizers created 4 Speed Networking sessions over the course of the forum. The Speed Networking feature breaks participants into groups, and shuffles them around to different virtual tables automatically, so attendees can get to know people they might not otherwise meet. 

LIYSF Speed Networking sessions gave over 200 participants the chance to meet new other students from around the world in a virtual, face-to-face setting. Afterward, they were provided with a list of everyone they met with so they could easily connect via messaging in the app.

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