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15th EVN Symposium & Users' Meeting

Submitter: Benito Marcote on behalf of the LOC
Description: Every other year the VLBI community meets together during the EVN Symposium & Users' Meeting.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic stopped this routine as has happened with other recurrent conferences. The expected 15th edition of the EVN Symposium & Users' Meeting to be held in Cork (Ireland) on 2020 had to be postponed.

Given the obvious uncertainties during 2021, we decided to host an online-only EVN Mini-Symposium & User' Meeting in order to mitigate the absence of the regular Symposium.

Fortunately, after two years we were ready to finally arrange the 15th edition of the EVN Symposium & Users' Meeting as a hybrid event on 11-15 July 2022 with in-person participants at the University College Cork (UCC, Ireland) and online participants connected via Zoom and Discord.

An average of 115 participants followed the 14 sessions, of which about 35-45 of them were online. The Symposium set the state of the art in multiple fields were VLBI has a strong presence: from stellar evolution and Galactic stellar systems, to masers, transient events, AGN and other high-energy systems, and Cosmology. Some specific sessions on the last developments on the VLBI techniques and tools, large-scale surveys and LOFAR-VLBI results, were also held.

The Symposium also included a session of the Users' Meeting, where the EVN users met the EVN Support group (including the EVN Program Committee Chair, the Head of EVN Science Operations and User Support, and the EVN Scheduler). A summary of the status of the EVN was provided, followed by feedback and discussions provided by the EVN users about the usability of the array.

Only the social events organized during the Symposium could not have a virtual counterpart. Participants enjoyed the traditional EVN football match in the fields of the UCC and learning some folk dances from different countries.

The hybrid approach of the Symposium allowed that up to 20 countries could be represented during this week. While the talks could be followed via Zoom, discussions continued with the chats in Discord, where up to 85 people participated (independently of being in person or remotely).
Likely the hybrid approach will remain in the future for conferences of this kind, take advantage of the two worlds.
Copyright: JIVE
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