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From Prof Ian Pearce, Honorary Secretary of BAUS

"... innovation to complement the established routine ..."

On behalf of the BAUS Events, Joe Philip and myself, I would like to extend the warmest of welcomes to you all for the BAUS 2022 Annual Meeting here in the amazing and vibrant city of Birmingham. Marking a long overdue return to in person meetings, BAUS 2022 promises to be a most enjoyable, educational, and memorable meeting, with a host of new innovative features to compliment the established.

In contrast to previous meetings, we have moved away from themed days to widen participation across all three days, and I am sure this will result in a pan-specialty “buzz” around the Conference Centre for the full duration of the meeting. The volume of content remains amazingly high with over 40 hours of specialist section content, 15 poster sessions, daily plenaries, and sub-plenaries and seven satellite sessions.

The abstracts this year were of the highest quality and my thanks go to our abstract markers, whose difficult task was to whittle down the field to the 165 posters that are to be presented across the three days in Birmingham - an unenviable challenge to say the least! This, of course is in addition to the posters from every unit to which there was an overwhelming response with over 80% of units contributing to this new innovation.

Whilst is it clearly impossible for me to draw your attention to every single aspect of the meeting, I hope I will be forgiven for highlighting a few. The plenary sessions, as always, are extra-ordinary, so don’t miss “The Imposter Syndrome” session on Tuesday morning which promises to generate much comment and debate, the Monday session on “Fitness to Practice” and “Medical Regulation” on the Wednesday morning, all real eye-opening sessions.

The Guest lectures, once again, are in a class of their own and not to be missed, whilst the session on equality, diversity and inclusion at Wednesday lunchtime looks to inform and build on the all-important widening participation theme.

This year we have introduced some exciting breakfast sessions for those looking to get something different from their time at BAUS so if, you want to learn about Mavericks in Urology, have a go at anatomical drawing or meet the urological leaders of tomorrow over coffee and croissant, please sign up for these via the registration site as places are limited ... and enjoy breakfast on BAUS.

The social aspect of BAUS is perhaps more important and more yearned-for now than ever before. A gap of three years between face-to-face annual meetings is not something any of us would have wished for or planned but was, of course, an inevitable consequence of the global pandemic which has swallowed up the past 2-3 years. With this in mind, we have extended coffee and lunch breaks to facilitate greater social interaction in and around what is destined to be a hugely atmospheric exhibition hall, as well as organizing two key evening social events.

On the Sunday, we will be opening the event with an informal “Welcome Back to BAUS” reception in the evening. The venue for this is the Birmingham Library, a truly impressive location overlooking this incredible city, and the largest library in Europe. Please do make a point of coming to Birmingham on the Sunday and attending this event: what a perfect way to start the meeting!

On the Tuesday, the BAUS social event, open to all, will be at the Grand Hotel, without doubt the most stunning location for an evening event in the entire city - an event that is sure to generate great memories and one not to be missed.

The virtual meetings of 2020 and 2021 were a huge success and brought to the fore the potential of the digital world for educational content delivery amongst many others. I think it is now fair to say that engagement with the annual meeting is now open to everyone regardless of location. This year we have built on our experience of 2020 and 2021 with all sessions being recorded live for the virtual platform, and being available once again for the next 6 months. In addition, the plenary sessions will be live-streamed, cementing the ethos of broad engagement and participation for all regardless of circumstances. Further to this, and for the very first time, there will be a free crêche at the Conference Centre, which will be available to book at the time of registration but, for logistical reasons, the closing date for creche bookings will be slightly earlier.

More than ever before, this is an inclusive and diverse BAUS annual meeting, with more colleagues involved than ever before, whether chairing, presenting, orchestrating, organizing or abstract marking. The sheer number involved in delivering this meeting is staggering and very much reflects that delivering such a meeting is absolutely a team effort. Thanks of course, also, to our industry partners and sponsors who have steadfastly supported BAUS throughout the years and continue to do so. The satellite sessions as always will prove to be cutting edge sessions delivered by key opinion leaders, and the exhibition hall will be alive with delegates, stands and sponsors, all catching up after the enforced meeting hiatus of the past few years.

Whatever your personal aspirations for your attendance at BAUS 2022, whether it’s being brought up to date in your own sub-specialty, learning of new developments in another, re-connecting with distant friends and colleagues, forging new relationships, or sharing wisdom, experience and opinions with other likeminded colleagues, I am confident this meeting will deliver. Who knows, perhaps you may even be able to avoid the official BAUS photographer or force a draw with the world-famous Grand Master Daniel King as he plays simultaneous chess with multiple delegates!

Finally, feedback shapes the future, so please do complete the post-meeting feedback questionnaire: these are always valuable for planning the next year’s meeting.