Obesity Issue to Be Dealt with in NewcastleGateshead

April 11, 2018

Obesity Issue to Be Dealt with in NewcastleGateshead

The Association for the Study of Obesity (ASO) has confirmed that NewcastleGateshead will be the host destination for its 5thUK Congress on Obesity (UKCO) on 6 – 7 September. The event, which will take place at Newcastle University’s Armstrong Building, will be attended by over 200 of the UK’s leading obesity researchers, clinicians, health care professionals and academics from around the country to hear the latest research on the prevention and treatment of obesity through the life course, from preconception to pension.

The busy program will include a line-up of renowned national and international speakers as well as local expert speakers from Newcastle University. Conference symposiums will also cover the topics of reproduction and intergeneration, obesity and age-related disease, molecular aspects of obesity, bariatric surgery and food insecurity and obesity.

In addition to the main conference programme, delegates will be invited to attend a free pre-conference symposium on 5 September on the topic of ‘translation of obesity research into practice’. There will also be a free workshop for early career researchers to develop their career in obesity. Furthermore, an event on 4 September will provide an opportunity for members of the public to listen to experts, ask questions and discuss the topic of obesity.

April 10, 2018

Hamburg Brings Big Changes for 2020

The CCH – Congress Centre Hamburg– has been undergoing comprehensive modernisation and remodelling since January 2017. From 2020 onward, the Centre will be able to offer association delegates a total available exhibition space of 12.000 square meters, another 12.000 square meters of foyer space, and 12.000 seats in up to 50 halls and rooms.

Heike Mahmoud, Chief Operating Officer CCH, says: “At IMEX in Frankfurtour customers can enjoy an exciting new technology: For the first time we will present a 3D viewing application based on the Real- time engine that is used with virtual reality (VR) goggles. The resulting visual experience is comparable to a real walk through the new CCH and by far exceeds static 360 degree views.”

In this way, conference participants can freely roam the rooms and entire buildings, walk down hallways, view their environment at any angle, and even interact with objects. Associations will also have at their disposal an iPad app and an individual space layout configurator to the Showroom centred around the virtual CCH hologram.

April 9, 2018

Developing Africa’s Bio-Economy in Durban

AfricaBio has announced the annual BIO Africa Convention which is set to be held between 27-29 August 2018 at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (ICC), in Durban, South Africa. It is an international event co-hosted by the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), an agency of South African Department of Science and Technology and AfricaBio, a biotechnology stakeholder association in partnership with other strategic partners. This is hosted in partnership with local industry and continental agencies.

Under the theme, “Africa – Open for business: Together building the Bio-Economy”, BIO Africa Convention aims to bolster developments and relationships across Africa in the growing bio-economy of the continent. International investors will be attending the conference which will facilitate business networks and the collaboration of minds amongst industry, academia, regulatory authorities and future industry leaders.

April 6, 2018

Vienna Braces for Invertebrate Morphology Congress

The University of Vienna will be hosting the 5th International Congress on Invertebrate Morphology (ICIM5) In the first week of August 2020. More than 500 international leading experts concerned with the study of invertebrates such as mollusks, insects, and crustaceans will get together to present and discuss their latest findings from a range of disciplines relating to the morphology of invertebrates. Special topics of the congress include aspects of evolutionary and developmental biology, phylogenetics, genomics, and functional morphology. 

Being one of the international centers of animal evolution with a tradition that spans more than 150 years of research into invertebrate morphology, Vienna will be represented by the Department of Integrative Zoology (Faculty of Life Sciences).

April 5, 2018

Quality in Health Care under the Microscope in Brisbane

Brisbane and the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre (BCEC) have won the right to host 1500 of the world’s leading health care experts at the International Society for Quality in Health Care (ISQua) International Conference in 2021.

ISQua, a global organisation working alongside the World Health Organization (WHO), is involved in the accreditation of health care facilities worldwide. With increased demand in accountability for quality in health care across the globe, the 2021 Conference is expected to attract a diverse mix of allied health leaders with the majority coming from Europe, the United Kingdom and Asia.

The four-day event was secured for Brisbane in cooperation with Tourism and Events Queensland and Brisbane Marketing along with Australian General Practice Accreditation Limited Group of companies (AGPAL).

BCEC General Manager, Bob O‘Keeffe said the Centre’s location in the heart of Brisbane’s knowledge corridor surrounded by universities, hospitals and research centres and its strategic partnerships with the local scientific community made it the ideal venue for the conference.

April 5, 2018

Associations and Data Management Plans

In social and scientific research, data are extremely important. Dealt with first as raw material, but then processed and analyzed by professionals in the framework of a research plan, they produce, in the end, knowledge. Associations – and not only of a scientific nature  –  generate a lot of data and today it is essential for them to handle, preserve and store most of it.

In practice, a Data Management Plan (DMP) summarizes the way in which researchers monitor their data over time, no matter their origin or type. Data can in fact come from a functional magnetic resonance apparatus or a particle generator, but can also contain texts, graphs, images, tables and so on.

In reality, some scientists, such as geneticists and astronomers, have used data-related methods for a long time, but, for others, they represent a novelty they now have to deal with. Geneticists, for example, can already count on over 70 metadata information systems, which can range from viruses to oncological images. However, each research community has its own metadata management system, as www.re3data.org shows.

Open Science

DMPs are required to fully realize the so-called open science, whose aim is to make scientific research quickly available and as accessible as possible. Data retention makes it possible to reuse them, compare them and duplicate searches. It also prevents some from embarking on roads that have not led to concrete results.

In addition, when the amount of data is big, artificial intelligence can come in and deal with it much better than humans, especially in the medical field. Healthcare planners, providers and researchers are perfectly aware that the data they collect every day can be translated into valuable information for patients worldwide. Let’s just think, for instance, about the millions of mammograms that are processed everyday…

The fact is that US federal agencies, such as the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, but also the European Commission, require DMPs to obtain funding.  And it is actually requested not only to specify the way in which the data will be produced, but how they will be stored when the research project comes to an end. Those who do not provide open access to the information they have collected for reasons related perhaps to intellectual property or security must have adequate reasons.

Lack of information

The problem lies in the fact that many researchers are not informed thoroughly. A survey carried out last year among over 1,200 young European research fellows and PhD students shows that only a quarter of them had generated a DMP and another quarter did not even know what it was. Many complained about the poor support from the institutions to which they belonged.

Unfortunately, each scientific discipline produces – qualitatively and quantitatively – a big amount of data, so that the variety of DMPs that can be needed is very high. Clearly, a particle generator provides an enormous quantity of data, while an anthropologist typically produces less. There is also research of a conceptual nature, or of a theoretical nature, that do not require any DMP: it is simply impossible to preserve every source, even minimal, of information. A fundamental step, however, concerns the indication of who, after a research project is finished, will keep the data. Choosing a physical person will be unwise; a library will be more appropriate. But even in this case, since libraries do not store personal data, it is advisable to include the data in a specialized computer archive.

Sensitive Data

There is also the problem of sensitive data, especially the medical ones, more than ever vulnerable in our ‘big data’ era. A lot of companies accumulate personal data in order to resell them to third parties, allowing them to hone their marketing strategies or propaganda. These ‘gatherings’ of information are based on individual, demographic and geographical data. Those called “psychographic” are focused on behaviours and attitudes, and usually come from the illegal fishing from smartphones and social networks. Some agencies – as shown during the last presidential campaign in the US – even managed to collect data on voters. The aim was for them to tailor their messages, and, in the end, influence the election.

In this context, as some sensitive data can clearly be obtained in an illegal manner, many research institutions are looking for ways to control them. Trust protocols have been adopted that allow for transparent exchanges. And, to accelerate the acceptance of what some consider as being just another administrative burden, science professionals and research associations must work to streamline the process and to explain its benefits. Funders and institutions, then, must ensure that data management, and the basic skills of exercising it properly, becomes widespread.

Clearly, some steps are fundamental to producing a good DMP. Online help is available to develop a DMP that fits the requirements of the funding agency on the basis of the association field. Clear objectives about how the data will be archived will clarify the storage space and the formats needed. Other aspects to be touched upon include who will use and manage the data, how and when data will be shared with people outside the association.

We are all perfectly aware that technology can outpace its regulation. But we cannot be afraid of sharing and, at the same time control, the data we generate considering our codes of ethics.

This article was contributed by Franco Viviani, the former President of the International Council for Physical Activity and Fitness Research (ICPAFR) and a professor of Anthropology at the University of Padua, Italy.



April 4, 2018

Diversity and Sports for Copenhagen in 2021

Copenhagen will be the first city to host Worldpride and EuroGames combined in 2021, turning the two into one joint event named Copenhagen 2021. Over the course of 11 days, more than 500,000 people are expected to take part in a number of events including human rights debates, inclusive sport events and an extensive pride parade.

Copenhagen won the EuroGames bid only six months after the decision for the location of WorldPride, both of which enjoyed strong support from local and national governments in both Denmark and Sweden. Lars Christian Østergreen, CEO of Copenhagen 2021, notes that the event will build bridges and break down barriers by taking place in both Copenhagen and Malmö, in Sweden.


April 3, 2018

The Heart of Paris Beats for EuroPCR Congress 2018

The EuroPCR Congress 2018, the official annual meeting of the European Association of Percutaneous Cardiovascular Interventions (EAPCI), organised by Europa Organisation, will be held at the Palais des Congrès in Paris. With 11,000 participants, half of whom come from outside Europe, the Congress aims to share information on new discoveries in interventional cardiology. Part of the Congress are live demonstrations of percutaneous cardiovascular interventions streamed to different countries from several rooms of the Palais des Congrès, teaching new techniques to cardiologists, and showing them the latest innovations, new tools, etc. 

Jean Fajadet, a cardiologist from Toulouse and co-director of the EuroPCR Course explains: “The smooth running of the course and the screenings are therefore a real technical challenge. This requires a great deal of professionalism from the teams at the Palais des Congrès, and, so far, we have always been fully satisfied with the welcome and services provided.”

You can find the full interview of Jean Fajadet here.

April 2, 2018

Lausanne Takes Another Step against Cancer

The Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC) has inaugurated as of the beginning of this year the AGORA – Pôle de recherche sur le cancer on the Lausanne hospital site. This building will bring together about 300 multi-disciplinary teams composed of doctors, biologists, immunologists, bioinformaticians and bioengineers from the different partner institutions. The objective is that through their often interactions development of new therapies will be accelerated which will enable patients to benefit from them immediately.

The ISREC Foundation, responsible for the construction of this building, will thus contribute to the setting up of the new interdisciplinary centre for applied cancer research (SCCL, Swiss Cancer Center Lemanic), which unites the competences of the universities, federal institutes of technology (EPFs), hospitals, clinics and public and private institutions.

April 1, 2018

In the Shoes of the Secretary General (Part II)

A member of Boardroom Advisory board, Mohamed Mezghani has been appointed Secretary General of the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) in January. Boardroom has asked him to contribute a monthly column in which he explains all about the challenges of holding such a position. This is Mohamed’s second contribution, in which he argues that it’s all about the members.


An association is by definition member-focused. It seems obvious. But actually the way members are involved differs from an association to the other. And hence the focus on members doesn’t have the same scope. The more I meet my peers in other associations the more I realise the diversity of approaches.

The specificity of associations is that their shareholders are their customers, i.e. the members. They govern the association, decide on the rules, membership fees and programmes, and then they produce and consume services. It means that they have to safeguard the general interest while assuming the consequence of their decisions at an individual level. There is a risk of conflict if the governance structure and bodies don’t reflect the diversity of membership. Therefore, it is important to have rules all members can follow equally.

There is also a risk that the Secretariat or the staff of the association takes the lead forgetting that their role is to facilitate and support members and not to decide on their behalf. In that regard, associations are not companies: the owner is the member and not the CEO. The challenge is to make sure members dedicate time and effort to run the association. Even if the Secretariat has the expertise and resources to prepare papers, carry out studies and develop services, the legitimacy of the association is brought by the number, quality and profile of its members. They have the practical experience, they are the ones taking risks to innovate in their businesses and to develop their market, and the peer-to-peer exchange is what makes the association credible.

The association offers them an often international network and the bigger picture that they generally miss in their day-to-day job. We help them open their horizon, take a step back from any daily issue they might face and make them stronger by relaying their voice and joining it to that of their peers.

In an increasingly digitalised and competitive word, it is key to find new ways of engaging with members besides physical meetings which, to this day, remain one of the main reasons why people join an association.

Digitalisation, in a way, forces us to progress quickly, allows shorten timelines for project delivery. Because of it, we have to be more agile and react to changes faster. If our members are used to new techniques in their daily activities they must find the equivalent in the association. We have to commit to achieving such objectives.

Members also expect transparency and accountability from those managing the association. This is a great opportunity for us because they feel more concerned and therefore will engage more. Let’s be frank, our satisfaction at work often depends greatly from the interaction we have with our members. We are in a people’s industry. The more people are engaged, the better we feel, and the stronger the association will be. And when dealing with people, we must develop a culture of service excellence to keep them satisfied. And this is only feasible with happy staff… But this will be the topic of one of my next contributions.