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ICRI 2022: World-class science in Brno

After July’s Mendel Genetics Conference, one of the highlights of this year’s celebrations of the father of genetics’ two-hundredth birthday, Masaryk University is now preparing to welcome another group of leading international scientists and researchers to Brno.

At the International Conference on Research Infrastructures (ICRI) around 450 world-class experts will meet at what will be one of the biggest events during the Czech Republic’s six-month presidency of the Council of the European Union.

For more than 20 years –– although the earliest editions were geographically limited to Europe –– the operators, users, and funders of research infrastructures have been regularly meeting at the ICRI to share experiences, gain inspiration, discuss the most pressing challenges facing science and research, and ultimately help steer global science and research trends. “This conference is a well-established, prestigious event, and since preparations first began, there has been noticeable interest in the conference from participants,” says the main organizer, Ondřej Hradil from the Research and Development Office of the Masaryk University Rector’s Office. The last conference was held online by Canadian organizers after being postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic; therefore, this year’s conference will be the first opportunity in several years for research infrastructure experts to meet in-person. “It is, of course, critically important for having interactions and making contacts, which in the future may grow into strategic partnerships or joint projects.”

In attendance will be top global scientists such as Edith Heard, the director general of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory; leading South African climatologist Mary-Jane Bopape, who made it onto this year’s list of the most influential Africans compiled by New African magazine; and Australian High Possingham, one of the developers of Marxan, a software tool used throughout the world for nature conservation planning, including use in the Great Barrier Reef. “The conference’s themes are focused on major societal challenges, from pandemics, through climate change and environmental protection, to digitalizing society. People from all disciplines will come together at this event,” says Hradil. Astronomers, biologists, chemists, physicists, social scientists, IT specialists, and data scientists will share their experience from the perspectives of their own expertise and region. “I’m glad that we invited a diverse group of speakers and attendees that is balanced not only in terms of professional focus but also in terms of geography and gender,” adds Hradil.

How did research infrastructures contribute to overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic and how can the knowledge gained be applied in potential medical crises in the future? How can research infrastructures positively contribute to transforming their immediate surroundings or entire regions? And how can the benefits they bring be best communicated? This is just a narrow selection of the topics that the nearly 100 invited speakers will address during the conference and present through case studies and concrete examples of good practice. Anyone can join the discussions. All panels will be live-streamed, and the speakers will take questions after their talks. Registration is simple. See the conference website for details. There, you can also register for more than 40 side and satellite events. They include smaller conferences, symposia, and visits to research infrastructures, most of which you can participate in either in-person or online.

You can find the complete ICRI 2022 programme here.