Meet With Purpose: Finding Community Through Discovery

Collaboration at one life sciences meeting in Vancouver allowed attendees to find like-minded researchers and increased peer-to-peer connections.

Life sciences events are defined by a spirit of collaboration, whether it involves physicians making connections with health advocates or tech entrepreneurs brainstorming with scientific researchers. To foster the kind of organic, meaningful collaboration needed for their life sciences events to succeed, meeting planners seek conference destinations that embrace community and connection.

As a city renowned for its natural beauty, healthy living, and friendly, diverse population, Vancouver is an ideal location for bringing people together. So it’s no surprise that meeting planners are choosing this vibrant seaport city to host events, drawing in delegates from all over the world. In fact, Vancouver broke its record last year for hosting conventions for the sixth consecutive year, welcoming over 100,000 attendees.

Many visitors to British Columbia’s largest city are in town for life sciences meetings. The Association of Molecular Pathology, American Association of Physicists in Medicine, and American Urogynecologic Society are just a few of the life sciences organizations holding meetings in Vancouver in the coming year.

Recently, the city played host to the General Session and Exhibition of the International Association for Dental Research, held alongside annual meetings of the American Association for Dental Research and Canadian Association of Dental Research. Delegates joined in Vancouver to explore the latest in dental, oral, and craniofacial research, advancing health for all people.

Surrounded by opportunities for recreation and access to local industry and academia, delegates enjoyed an all-encompassing conference experience. “This destination has so much to offer delegates and organizations, including a variety of meeting facilities, amazing hospitality industry partners, and great value,” says Leslie Zeck, director of meetings for the International and American Associations for Dental Research.

The General Session and Exhibition welcomed 5,500 attendees from 81 countries to the Vancouver Convention Centre, located on the city’s downtown waterfront with breathtaking mountain views. British Columbia’s flagship convention centre also prides itself on sustainability. It is the world’s first double-LEED® Platinum certified convention centre and boasts the largest living roof in Canada.

The massive convention space housed 71 exhibition booths and a scientific networking center in addition to multiple lunch and learning sessions, hands-on workshops, lectures, and symposia. But attendees also took advantage of cultural and recreational activities just outside the convention centre.

“In addition to the availability of multiple convention centre meeting rooms and exhibition spaces, accommodations are available within walking distance at a variety of price points to satisfy all attendees,” Zeck says. “Shopping, restaurants, and tours are all located in the convention centre area, and the parks, walking trails, water, and mountains are all literally steps away. Vancouver offers the perfect combination of work and play for delegates.”

Vancouver’s academic community had an influential role in the conference’s success. Not only was the University of British Columbia represented with numerous faculty presenting at the meeting, but the school also opened its doors to delegates for a special campus visit.

Delegates explored the University of British Columbia Faculty of Dentistry, which included a tour of the laboratories housed in the Life Sciences Institute. The off-site excursion also granted delegates access to the university’s various centres of dental and oral health, such as the Patterson Dental Learning Centre and Nobel Biocare Oral Health Centre.

The meeting also infused elements of local community and culture. In the opening ceremonies, members of the Squamish Nation performed a moving song and dance tribute. And keynote speaker Carrie Bourassa, PhD, of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Institute of Indigenous Peoples’ Health, discussed the national health research agenda for the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples in Canada.

With so many educational, cultural, and interprofessional opportunities to soak up in Vancouver, holding a life sciences event in this one-of-a-kind city is sure to leave a lasting impact for associations. As was the case for attendees of the General Session and Exhibition, “Our delegates are still talking about it months later,” Zeck says.

This article is brought to you by Business Events Canada. Learn more about planning your next life science event in Vancouver, 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.