Collaboration is key to a successful meeting, allowing the greater purpose of these events to be achieved.
In a field as vast as the life sciences, no two meetings will be quite the same. But no matter the discipline or focus, an outstanding event depends on a host destination that underscores the gathering’s greater purpose: coming together for life-changing solutions to today’s most complex health challenges.
With such a critical mission at the heart of any life sciences meeting, its destination needs to foster collaboration by offering access to resources in industry and academia, as well as ample opportunities for networking.
Wondering where to begin? Follow these steps to ensure that your destination will be an excellent setting for your next life sciences meeting:
Incorporate the destination’s knowledge capital into the event
During your site visit, look for ways to infuse elements of the local knowledge base into the meeting. An exceptional host destination makes it easy for delegates to explore relevant points of interest, adding value to the meeting overall.
Take the 14th International Conference on X-ray Microscopy, held last year in Saskatoon. Attendees toured the Canadian Light Source, a treat for any X-ray microscopy expert. The national research facility of the University of Saskatchewan houses the brightest light in Canada and is a prime resource for scientists in health and agriculture, among other areas related to life sciences.
Working with a respected hotel chain such as Accor’s family of Canadian properties can also connect attendees to a destination’s knowledge capital. In addition to providing lodging for guests and meeting and networking space, hotels can create an entry point to the local life sciences ecosystem. Both the Hotel Fairmont Royal York and the Hotel Novotel Toronto Centre in downtown Toronto are a stone’s throw from medical institutions like the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and the Hospital for Sick Children.
Seek opportunities for increased sponsorship
The pharmaceutical, biotech, and medtech industries are ripe with possibilities for sponsorship to boost the reach and reputation of any life sciences event.
Meeting planners have had great success tapping into regional industry for event sponsorship. One such case is the General Session and Exhibition of the International Association of Dental Research (IADR), held in Vancouver this year. Organizations sponsored scientific sessions, distinguished speaker lecture series, and promotional items like conference bags. Sponsorship was also available for the meeting’s scientific networking center, bringing stakeholders together for conversation and collaboration.
Find opportunities for B2B exchanges, collaboration, and knowledge transfers
What would a life sciences meeting be without the chance to forge connections between delegates and local experts? With the International Society for Paediatric Oncology (SIOP) holding its annual meeting in Ottawa next year, the organization is planning ways to enhance collaboration and knowledge exchanges through institutions like the University of Ottawa. The school and its affiliated hospitals, including the Ottawa Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, will be valuable partners to SIOP in its work researching and caring for children with cancer.
Access to local experts to enhance speakers’ programs
Universities are hubs of life sciences expertise, and faculty serve as a fantastic resource whose input is invaluable for life sciences meetings.
At the IADR’s meeting, faculty representing the University of British Columbia gave multiple presentations. The school also held an off-site event for attendees with insider access to its Life Sciences Institute and centres of dental and oral health. And to the east in Nova Scotia, Dalhousie University in Halifax lent its expertise and support to the American Section of the International Society for Heart Research’s (ISHR) annual meeting last year, with faculty serving as planners and presenters.
Assess whether the destination will increase delegate attendance
Choosing a destination with a reputation for hosting conferences and a strong life sciences ecosystem is sure to draw in attendees from all over. Canadian cities like Montréal have been established as leading destinations for international conferences, and life sciences events are well-represented. The Canadian Society of Nephrology brings its Annual General Meeting to Montréal every two years, leading to some of the organization’s highest attendance numbers.
Incorporate social, environmental, and economic legacies into the event
An outstanding life sciences meeting goes beyond the conventional presentations and lectures to give attendees experiences with lasting impact. These special activities can increase engagement among attendees, and as a result, foster deeper connections. One way to accomplish this goal is to partner with local organizations offering a meaningful tie to the event.
At the ISHR meeting, attendees took part in a Women in Science Breakfast sponsored by the Halifax-based Heart and Stroke Foundation of Nova Scotia. A local brewery opened its doors to the young investigator committee for an early career social, while the meeting’s reception, lobster banquet, and awards ceremony were held at the historic Pier 21.
And at SIOP 2020, several of Ottawa’s acclaimed national museums will host dinners for delegates. The meeting’s faculty congress centre will also be held in the Grand Hall of the Canadian Museum of History, which pays homage to the First Peoples of Canada’s Pacific Coast.
With so many considerations for a life sciences event, getting every last detail right can feel overwhelming. But meeting planners can take control with a host destination that fully embraces their organization’s mission, taking their event to new heights.
This article is brought to you by Business Events Canada. Learn more about planning your next life science event in Canada, 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.