On the 9th and 10th June 2022, the MCID held its Official Opening Event, which was attended by over 100 participants at the Vetsuisse campus at the University of Bern. The event, eagerly anticipated for more than a year since the launch of the center in January 2021, was open to invited participants.
The Official Opening event took place on the afternoon of 9th June. Addresses were given by Prof. Dr. Christian Leumann, Rector of the University of Bern and Prof. Dr. med. vet. David Spreng, Dean of the University of Bern Vetsuisse Faculty, the administrative base of the MCID. Prof. Leumann provided insight into how the MCID came to be launched, with gratitude expressed to the Vinetum Stiftung, who generously support the center. Prof. Spreng emphasized the importance of striving for multidisciplinarity in the research activities of the center. Prof. Dr. Volker Thiel and Prof. Dr. Carmen Faso provided the audience with an introduction to the aims and structure of the MCID and a brief overview of the first MCID project funding call, as a result of which 17 research projects are now funded and running. The MCID was honoured to welcome Prof. Dr. Marcel Salathé from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) to provide a keynote address. Prof. Salathé emphasized the challenges and strengths of multidisciplinary research and the role played by multidisciplinarity in developing and launching digital contact tracing for Covid-19.
On 10th June, the MCID held its first annual Scientific Symposium. The audience greatly appreciated keynote addresses from Prof. Dr. Marius Brülhart, Economist at the Faculty of Business and Economics at the University of Lausanne on the subject of “Mental Health during COVID-19: Evidence from Helpline Calls” and from Prof. Dr. med. Isabella Eckerle from the Geneva Center for Emerging Viral Diseases entitled “Chasing the next SARS-CoV-2 variant and disease X». One MCID member from each of the seven MCID Clusters was invited to present plans for MCID-funded projects and other MCID-funded projects were presented and discussed during a lively poster session. Plans for the three MCID Core activities, the BioPreparedness BioBank, the BEready Cohort and the Ethics and Policy Lab, were presented and representatives from Core Activity teams took part in a Q&A panel session. The MCID Opening Event represents the first physical meeting of many Members of the center. Enthusiastic interactions between experts of all disciplines at this event promises a continued drive for multidisciplinary exchange as the MCID moves forwards with its activities and as MCID-funded projects begin in earnest.