The eRum that we were preparing
The third European R users meeting, eRum2020, was originally planned to be a physical conference that should have been held in Milano, Italy, from May 27 to May 30, 2020.
However, the sudden spread of the COVID-19 pandemic induced eRum2020’s Organizing Committee to postpone the conference to June 17-20, 2020, and to turn it into a virtual conference because of the impossibility for many participants to travel to Milano, as well as to host an event with hundreds of participants in the middle of a pandemic. To mark this change, the name of the event was changed from eRum2020 to e-Rum2020.
Our preparations for the physical conference in Milano were already at an advanced stage when we took the decision to go virtual: with this page we would like to offer you a glimpse of the eRum2020 that we were ready to offer to the R community, if history had not taken a sudden, unexpected turn. This “what if” is our tribute to the eRum that we were planning, and a thank you to all the partners that were ready to help us realising it.
The Organizing Committee of e-Rum2020
eRum2020 should have been held at the University of Milano-Bicocca, which would have hosted the main conference as well as the hackathon on spatial networks between May 27 and May 29. Furthermore, the Politecnico Milano would have hosted eRum’s workshops on May 30. Both the University of Milano-Bicocca and the Politecnico Milano were included as organising partners and many of their staff actively contributed as part of the Organizing Committee and of the Programme Committee.
The travel grants
The Organizing Committee had decided to dedicate part of the conference budget to award travel grants to support participation to the conference from people who lacked the financial means to travel to Milano to attend the conference. The call announcing the travel grants received several applications that were reviewed by an internal committee. The names of the 10 winners of the selection procedure are:
- Rabeek Mohamed Sabeetha Begum Abdulmajedraja
- Mustafa Çavus
- Wanjau Eric Muriithi
- Joseph Oladokun
- Ramit Sawhney
- Binod Jung Bogati
- Apostolos Chalkis
- Ogundepo Ezekiel
- Manasi Mahadik
- Deschepper Mieke
During the conference and workshop days, we had planned 6 coffee breaks, 3 lunches, and one light dinner, served by Le Madeleine Catering. Le Madeleine is a business women company, strongly focussed on food ethics and sustainability: all their dishes are based on organic and local products, and they are created to avoid any waste (e.g., using edible containers). Together with Le Madeline’s team, we had worked on an environmentally-friendly menu, including many vegetarian options.
In order to have a plastic-free event, we had also planned to have water fountains, and eRum branded water bottles gifted to all the participants.
A childcare service for eRum2020 participants would have been offered by Scuola dell’Infanzia Bambini Bicocca of the University of Milano-Bicocca, whose professional educators were ready to entertain children organizing special activities both indoor and outdoor. The service would have been located only 5 minute walk away from the conference venue and it would have been available from 9:00 am to 6 pm.
The social event
Last but not least, the conference program would have included a social event that would have taken place in a location that holds a symbolic value for Milano, the capital of Italian fashion: the JustCavalli Restaurant & Club, located inside Parco Sempione, a beautiful park in the historical centre of Milano, next to the Castello Sforzesco. Participants would also have had the opportunity to climb the Branca Tower, located inside the park, and enjoy the beautiful skyline of Milano at night.