Meet With Purpose: Working Together for the Greater Good in Ottawa

For SIOP and ISHA, convening in Canada’s capital city provides opportunities for local collaboration and advancements in the field of life sciences.

For the International Society for Paediatric Oncology (SIOP), the decision as to where to hold their conference is paramount. An organization dedicated to cancer research and care for children needs the backing of a strong, passionate scientific community. But it also needs a destination that can stand out among the crowd, offering visitors an experience they won’t find anywhere else. Fortunately, SIOP has found both in Ottawa.

SIOP is gearing up for its 2020 annual meeting in Ottawa, a dynamic world capital that also happens to be a leader in oncology research and innovation.

“The destination plays a major role when people are choosing which conference to attend, so we’re excited about coming to Ottawa to take advantage of the scientific expertise,” says Perry Gil-Ryan, Director of Client Accounts at Kenes Group, the professional congress organizer for SIOP.

Even though pediatric oncology represents a small slice of the cancer research world, Ottawa has plenty of connections within this discipline. For its upcoming annual meeting, SIOP will collaborate with some of the brightest minds in oncology, including those at the University of Ottawa. The institution and its affiliated centres, including the Ottawa Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, are spearheading life-changing cancer research while also providing the best possible care to patients. Gil-Ryan noted the immense opportunity present for both collaboration and knowledge exchanges with these innovative minds.

The International Society for Hip Arthroscopy (ISHA) is another group whose meeting will be hosted in Ottawa next year. The city is a natural fit for ISHA’s 2020 meeting, thanks to its reputation for life sciences leadership and global-mindedness, says Paul Beaulé, professor of surgery at the Ottawa Hospital and an organizer for the conference.

As a national capital, Ottawa regularly welcomes people from around the world who are working to overcome challenges in health care. “That enhances the quality of the meeting and its appeal internationally,” he says. And ISHA’s meeting in particular aligns with Ottawa’s collaborative spirit ⁠— the city offers an environment conducive to “creating a meeting that provides a forum for exchange of ideas and bringing the science forward.”

Examples of Ottawa’s scientific community working to improve people’s health and wellness can be found at every turn. The city has a stronghold in the fields of biopharmaceuticals, cardiovascular health, e-health, and medical device development.

Ottawa also enjoys ample government support for its life sciences community, which has driven innovation across the health and wellness spectrum. The Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and the National Research Council are all headquartered in Ottawa and fund projects aimed at transforming health.

All these components of Ottawa’s life sciences community contribute to a meaningful experience for conference-goers. “The meeting has to come to a location where there is some knowledge credibility so people feel that not only is it a great city, but the knowledge they will acquire is (relevant),” Beaulé says.

ISHA 2020 will provide its attendees with numerous opportunities to get up close with the local life sciences community, convening clinicians, basic scientists, and allied health professionals in finding solutions to hip preservation. Attendees will get hands-on experience at the University of Ottawa Skills and Simulation Centre, where surgeons can practice on cadavers under expert guidance. There will also be live research sessions, breaking down data collection and analysis in real time.

While it’s clear that Ottawa has the brainpower to support a life sciences conference, the city also has plenty to offer visitors in the way of arts, culture, and recreation. Ottawa is home to the exquisite Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s perfect for walking and biking, and in the winter, ice skating on the frozen waterway. Access to these activities is particularly inspiring for a meeting focused on advancing health and wellness.

“When you come to Ottawa you feel that it’s a very active city with the canal and people jogging and running and biking everywhere,” Beaulé says. “You have a city that is vibrant in activity, so that really connects well with the meeting and…that same aspect of what we’re trying to improve in patient care and research.”

Attendees can also combine entertainment with education. Ottawa boasts seven national museums, which will host several dinners for ISHA 2020 attendees. The Canada Science and Technology Museum’s permanent exhibit on Medical Sensations is not to be missed, while the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum’s working farm is one of the most unique attractions in the city.

Ottawa is a city whose life sciences community welcomes people of all backgrounds and expertise to support better health for all. No matter your organization’s role in the life sciences, delegates are sure to have a gratifying conference experience.

This article is brought to you by Business Events Canada. Learn more about planning your next life science event in Ottawa, or reach out directly to receive our knowledge maps, designed to help you determine which life science destination is the best fit for your meeting.

(Handout photo)