Shift to online work

Opinon article

Since March 2020, COVID-19 has changed the way we work. Above all, it forced a shift towards an online environment, also affecting our IT-DED3 project. The Annual Meetings within the consortium previously planned in person now take place on virtual platforms. For 2020, it was scheduled to be held in Kuopio – Finland, while for 2021 in Paris – France.

Apart from the network meetings, our training program foresees attendances at plenty of different events, which have also been affected by these circumstances. The conferences planned from March 2020 on-wards moved towards an online version. What do our early-stage researchers (ESRs) think about this change?

According to Davide (ESR5), “it is harder to stay focused during the presentations” if they are not in person, while Bao (ESR10) mentions that “it is really disappointing that I could not present my poster” and there was “no opportunity to meet and discuss with industrial partners or other researchers in this field”. Maha (ESR12) agreed with Bao, reporting the “inability to meet different experts in the field more conveniently by networking during the attendance of conferences and the workshops”. On the other hand, our ESRs found that there were some positive aspects, such as that the conferences could be attended from anywhere. As Asif (ESR11) stated, “the main advantage of the online meetings is flexibility. I could join from anywhere in the world and watch the recordings”.

Among the conferences attended, we can find TFOS 2020 (Tear Film & Ocular Surface Society, September 2020), Vision 2020 at Hamilton Eye Institute (University of Tennessee Health Science Center, October 2020), EFMC-ISMC 2020 (European Federation of Medicinal Chemistry, September 2020) or 24rd Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering virtual Conference (ACS Green Chemistry Institute, June 2020).

Despite the positive aspect associated with the virtual environment, our research team is looking forward to meeting in person again. The advantages of face-to-face contact can definitely not be replaced.

Satellite Meeting at the EVER Congress 2019: a collaboration between OcuTher and IT-DED³

  • Date: October 17-19, 2019
  • Location: Acropolis Convention Center, 1 Esplanade John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 06000 Nice, France (
  • Programme (presentations below)

OcuTher is the Educational Network in Ocular Drug Delivery and Therapeutics. It is coordinated by the University of Eastern Finland (UEF) and led by Prof. Arto Urtti.

The joint meeting between OcuTher and IT-DED³ was a success! Organised as a satellite seminar to the EVER Congress 2019 in Nice on October 16, this joint activity was a first step towards a promising collaboration between the two MSCA-ITN networks. This goal was certainly met. The meeting opened with outstanding presentations by Prof. Morten Carstens Moe, Head of Research at the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Oslo, and Prof. Tor Paaske Utheim, Director of Innovation at the Oslo University Hospital. Presentations about ongoing research by six of the ESRs followed – three from each project. The afternoon closed with a networking session that provided an opportunity to the ESRs from both projects to expand their research network and get to know their peers, with whom they share similar experiences.                                                                 

The meeting was followed by the three day Congress 2019 (, where OcuTher and  IT-DED³ shared a booth at the exhibition area (spot nr. 6).