Paperless Lab Academy® Digital Survey Results

PLA Survey COVID19

Summary of the feedbacks collected through the PLA Survey 

The impact of the COVID-19 situation

While we were struggling to understand how to proceed with the 8th edition of our European Congress in April 2020, we launched a survey to understand better the expectations of our Paperless Lab Academy® community considering the impact of the pandemic situation at personal and profesional levels, social distancing and remote working.

Behind the Paperless Lab Academy®, you find NL42 owned by Roberto Castelnovo and myself. In 2012, we set up an independent consulting company supporting paperless projects. Along the time and the new entrepreneurial adventure, the organisation of the PLA has become one of our key activity. The PLA congress and trade show has gained and consolidated a strong international reputation thanks to our visitors, though leaders and providers of the lab informatics industry.

Along the editions, our partners and followers started to request for more than just a  two day event and we decided to build on the Academy concept offering further information through webinars and training along the year.

Survey initiative to understand your expectations 

Then the storm arrived and as many companies, we had to quickly build up a business risk and a recovery plan. We’ve been working hard on ideas, programmes and activities to bring you added value, above and beyond the congress we were all looking forward to.

We’re not going to pretend we knew what you, your colleagues and your organisation needed right now, or in the months ahead, so we’ve prepared this survey and got more than 120 responses.

We’d like  to share now the outcome and the great feedbacks, we´ll be using for building our pipeline of initiatives. In summary, we wanted to know about your expectations on topics and format.

Key Topics: Internet of Lab Things and Data Integration

Answers facilitated by the participants about the topics they´d like the Academy to provide information about are showing a primary interest on integration of instruments and devices, Internet of Lab Things followed by remaining informed on the latest solutions available in the market.

internet of Lab Things

Interestingly enough, Data Integrity and Data Quality shows parallel level of interest that digital transformation strategy, scientific data management, FAIR and artificial intelligence.  Maybe because by formation we´re extremely focused on the data management per se, we might have interpreted immediately that those topics are related in % interest because they for us they should be in a real project.

In fact, when the objective is to extract the maximum insight from your data, not mentioning build on artificial intelligence, this could never fly without a good upstream consolidation of your data lifecycle management. Poor quality data have and will never provide the golden oil for data analytics and will never be for of any use of AI.

PLA as a Business and Training Platform 

We wanted to really understand if our efforts and investments in building on the Academy are in line with your expectations and glad to see that the answer is that definitely yes our followers would consider using the PLA platform as a business and Training Tool.

PLA Training Tool


How you prefer to be informed

It is  important to acknowledge the bombarding of information and invites to online activities that have increased exponentially in this time of remote working and social distancing.

We wanted to know better about your expectations from the Academy and avoid contributing to the background noise.

The answers confirm that informative and educational content is expected. Training opportunities from one hand yet customer case studies and user experiences are to be shared along with the possibility to replicate the agenda  that was programmed for the PLA2020. We really built up an amazing agenda this year and we were excited about it. The registrations were also showing great interest on this agenda. We’ve openly shared our frustration with our partners and received amazing supportive attitude.

It is now time to restart. The answer below is a clear message.  Keep on that way and ease the sharing of the information PLA!

online preferred format


Learning at your own pace

Then we realise it was the moment to also take the opportunity to know more about your preferred learning opportunities formats, and which one fits better to you.

learning at your pace


Hopefully, we collected a representative data set showing that from the industry, professionals are reading books and articles on digital format while training as expected to be in live format. Hopefully, social interactions are expected to slowly come back with all necessary protections so that we can all enjoy meeting, discussing in a meeting or why not at a nice welcome cocktail at the Lake Maggiore.

Nevertheless, we certainly can assume that smart working will prevail in all companies and industries, meaning not only remote working when possible but definitely easier access to data and information whenever and whenever you’re seating.

Access to Internet

75% of respondents confirm that easy access to remote recorded information are welcome. So we could think of the Academy has a repository too where to come and look for latest information from the market and the users under the format of recorded content.PLA as a journey

The downside it’s that still around 20% of professionals have issues to find good internet connection.internet access

In conclusion, this survey ran along past month shows that the participants have already incorporated in their professional life remote and online activities. A part of their educational, business & networking activities are and could be done remotely by attending live and recorded webinars and by accessing anytime to relevant content from the industry.

From the Paperless Lab Academy®, we are closely working with our partners and speakers to program webinars and facilitate live and recorded versions of the presentations, note that this program is also sharing the free webinar invites of our partners.

Finally, by November 2020 we were planning the first Indian edition. We might want to try to run a virtual version this time. A lot to learn in how to digitalise those processes before committing to same quality level 🙂

Please stay tuned and register to our Newsletter to remain in the know

Isabel Munoz Willery paperless lab academy

Isabel Muñoz-Willery, owner at NL42 Consulting

I have a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) in Madrid and a Master in Molecular Biology at Pierre et Marie Curie University in Paris.

I initially started my professional career at PerkinElmer as application specialist of the DNA solutions. When the life science
division became Applied Biosystems (now a division of ThermoFisher Scientific), I have progressed through a series of promotions as leader of multinational technical teams and as partner of European and Global Business Directors. My primary objectives have always been to provide the most adequate support to the business and to the customers. When the company decided to focus on providing turnkey solutions of rapid DNA identification to the most regulated industries like Pharma, Forensic and Food, I built an international technical teams (+ 20 persons over EMEA countries), design new services in alignment with customers´ market requirements (laboratory workflow automation, GLP process validation, IS017025 accreditation) and collaborate closely with the corporate R&D and product development teams in providing adequate solutions to the market.

making the complex simpleWhen, together with Roberto Castelnovo, we decided to found NL42, ,we were looking for combining our technical and managerial knowledges and expertises to support customers in the digitalisation of their laboratory and quality processes.

Within the Paperless Lab Academy organisation, I am personally taking care of the sponsors and media relationships, marketing and logistics. 


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