Heidelberg Laureate Forum

A virtual networking event

The 8th Heidelberg Laureate Forum (HLF for short) had to take place digitally in 2021 due to the pandemic. The goal of this annual event is the exchange between the winners of the most prestigious awards in mathematics and computer science and outstanding young researchers in these fields.

But how is it possible to transfer such an event, which thrives so much on personal encounters, into virtual space?

The answer: by doing it differently - in this case in a successful co-creation with the Heidelberg Laureate Forum Foundation. The centrepiece of the four-day online event was a flexible virtual platform that enabled both the streaming of content and interaction between participants. The variety of formats, including interviews, panels, workshops, poster sessions and lectures, was carefully and enthusiastically adapted to the needs of the target group. In addition to purely scientific topics, there were also informal offerings such as yoga, a pub quiz or a concert in virtual reality.

The programme was produced and broadcast from two studios at the New University of Heidelberg. The Neue Aula served as the location for plenary situations, while a green-screen studio was the home of the informal programme items and also functioned as a news studio. The 8th Heidelberg Laureate Forum in September 2021 informed, inspired and connected the more than 300 scholars across continents and time zones, making it a very special virtual experience as well.

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