Qatar Confirmed to Host ICEIRD 2018

November 19, 2017

Qatar Confirmed to Host ICEIRD 2018

Thanks to unified effort by Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) and Qatar University (QU), Qatar has won the bid to host the International Conference on Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Regional Development (ICEIRD) in October 2018. Over 250 conference delegates are expected to attend the conference for which Qatar University will be ‘local host’.

ICEIRD is a three-day conference organised by the University of Sheffield’s International Faculty bringing together academics, university technology managers, entrepreneurs, policy-makers and businesses to foster and promote innovation-led growth. The conference offers a platform for academics, university technology managers, entrepreneurs, policy-makers and businesses interested in the theory and practice of university-industry links as well as innovation, entrepreneurship, and regional development.

First held in 2007, ICEIRD has been taking place annually for the past 10 years in Europe; for its second decade, it will rotate worldwide and be hosted in a different region every year. The 2018 edition will be the first edition to be hosted in the Middle East.

,Qatar has a strong track-record in successfully hosting large-scale international conferences and events. Between 2014 and 2016, Qatar hosted a total of 56 events affiliated with the International Congress and Convention Association.

Ahmed Al Obaidli, Director of Exhibitions at QTA said: “ICEIRD is a perfect match for Qatar as it is a regional hub where academics, innovators and entrepreneurs can continue to learn and share knowledge within and outside the walls of a conference hall.” He added, “The hosting of this event comes as part of our continuous efforts to work with local partners to attract international events and boost business events tourism’s contribution to the national economy.”

Professor Panayiotis Ketikidis, Founder of ICEIRD, added: “Taking the 11th ICEIRD beyond Europe is a step towards to satisfying global demand for the wealth of knowledge that the conference has produced through its wide network over the past decade. We are highly honoured that the ICEIRD 2018 will be hosted by the University of Qatar and are confident that being hosted in a true regional innovation hub will further expand the conference’s network.”

Qatar Tourism expands international efforts to further establish the destination’s relevance for congress organizers – recent steps include a waiver of visa for 80 international countries.

Meet the team of QTA at ibtm Barcelona at Stand J60, join the Qatar Tourism Authority for a VIP Welcome Business Lunch on Tuesday 28 November at 1PM (to register click here) or contact Johanna Fischer of tmf dialogue marketing Germany (, +49 9002 111).


November 12, 2017

Washington, DC:
Meetings With a Difference

Association planners looking for added value and a city that naturally enhances their program find that Washington, DC delivers. Innovative and vibrant, the U.S. capital offers not only state-of-the-art infrastructure, should it host your next event, it’s also a knowledge hub for key sectors that gives unmatched access to federal government and policy leaders.

According to Smith Travel Research’s 2017 DestinationMAP, Washington, DC is among the top three North American meeting destinations. Planners found DC’s safety and attractiveness appealing, as well as value and ease of access via three local airports. DC was also named the first LEED Platinum City in the world by the U.S. Green Building Council. Attendees will find environmentally-friendly practices throughout the city, starting with energy-reducing and recycling programs at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

Washington, DC delivers beyond traditional destination advantages. It is a top city for social entrepreneurs, the most educated city in the U.S. and serves as headquarters for renowned organizations such as the National Institutes of Health. These factors and many more have established the nation’s capital as a leader in industries including tech, biotech/pharma, education and medical.

“The District continues to be the epicenter for inclusive innovation and technology in the country,” said Mayor Muriel E. Bowser. “From opportunities that foster women entrepreneurs to the creation of innovation labs and incentives for tech company headquarters, DC is at the forefront of the tech movement and inclusive innovation growth.”

Easy to get to, easy to navigate by foot or bike, the nation’s capital offers unique cultural diversity, pairing international influence with a distinct local identity: it boasts exceptional venues and a dining scene packed with culinary talent, not to mention the country’s finest monuments and memorials and captivating museums that you can experience for free. And thanks to $11.8 billion in development underway, there will always be something new for you to discover!

This content is powered by Destination DC. Connect with them and read more about meetings and conventions in Washington, DC at



November 6, 2017

Going Further with GDPR

In order to move forward towards a greater compliance with the GDPR, associations should pay a good deal of attention to the following aspects, Benjamin Docquir writes.

Mapping the data flows and the entities responsible for them

One of the cornerstones of the GDPR is that organisations, including associations, must be able to identify what categories of personal data they process and who may decide upon the usage of such personal data. The entity identified as the “data controller” is accountable for the processing of the personal data vis-à-vis the individuals concerned (e.g. the employees or the individuals members of an association) and must be ready to answer requests from the regulatory authorities.

Where an association is active on a global scale or across several countries, including outside the EU, the GDPR may nevertheless be entirely applicable. The data controller must therefore ascertain whether and to what extent the GDPR applies to its activities and, where necessary, appoint a representative in the European Union.

Not only must the data controller have a comprehensive view of the data flows and data processing operations, it must also determine and implement appropriate policies and measures to ensure that the provisions of the GDPR are fully respected. Such measures will generally include drafting a comprehensive data protection policy, which will disclose in plain language the policies and practices of the association with respect to the processing of personal data.

Implementing the rights of employees and members (individuals)

Generally speaking, associations are likely to process the personal data of (i) their employees and internal resources and (ii) their individual members. The GDPR gives the so-called “data subjects” (i.e. the people whose data are processed) a number of rights in order to reinforce the degree of transparency and control over their personal data.

As a result, the associations must be prepared to inform the employees and members in a comprehensive manner, through the data protection policy or by giving them notice of a specific document, and make sure that they are provided with a number of information such as the categories of data processed, the purposes of processing, the legitimate aims pursued by the association, the storage duration of the categories of data, the recipients or categories of recipients of data, etc.

Managing relationships and contracts with data processors

The data controller may entrust an external entity, called the data processor, with the a number of tasks on its behalf. In such situations, the associations must carefully select the external provider, but also make sure that there is a written agreement in place that takes full account of all the obligatory mentions under the GDPR. The first and foremost of such mentions is that the data processor must process the personal data only upon the documented instructions of the data controller.

Again, associations must therefore have a clear picture of what categories of data they are making available or transmitting to their data processors, so as to be able to keep control of such data. Other topics that must be addressed in the written agreement with the data processors are the security requirements, the notification of data breaches, the obligation to take part to audits, the duty to assist the associations when dealing with a request from a member or an employee, etc.

Creating and maintaining a register of data processing operations

Associations must set up – and keep updated – a register describing the data processing operations. This register may be held in English. It must be made available on request to the regulators and contain a description of the categories of data processed, of the purposes of the processing, of the recipients or categories of recipients of data (i.e. who has access to the data), of the existence (if any) of transfers of data outside the European Union (or the EEA), etc.

Implementing security measures and data breach notification procedures

Associations must determine and implement appropriate security measures and policies to address the potential risks for rights and freedoms of individuals whose data are processed. Those measures may include encryption, pseudonymisation, access control and access management, training of employees, etc.

Whenever a security incident occurs, that may trigger an additional risk for individuals, the associations (data controllers) must notify such breach to the data protection authority, with a description of the data that is leaked or compromized, of the potential impact of the security breach and of the measures taken to remedy such impact, to address the flaws and errors that were identified and to mitigate the risks. In some circumstances, the data controller must also notify the individuals themselves about the breach.

International data transfers

Last but not least, associations must ensure that the rules on the transfer of personal data outside the EEA (EU + Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland) are respected. Such transfers occur whenever a database is centralized in a third country (like the US for instance), or when personal data may be accessed from that third country.

Also, when associations appoint a service provider or a cloud computing services provider, there is a possibility of the data being hosted/stored outside the EEA. That shouldn’t happen without the association being aware thereof, because basically the GDPR states that such transfers are only allowed under specific circumstances or subject to specific conditions. These conditions may involve the fact that the third country is regarded as “safe” or providing an adequate level of protection, or the conclusion of specific agreements related to the data transfer, to ensure that the entity importing the data in the third country will abide by a minimum of fundamental principles of data protection.

The full version of this article can be read in the November issue of Boardroom. Benjamin Docquir is Partner at Osborne Clark, a law firm working across key industry sectors offering agile, insightful solutions, ground-breaking legal planning and a passion for bringing about meaningful, positive change. More information on

October 27, 2017

There’s something about Antwerp

With the holding of the Associations World Congress in March 2018 and the AIPC Annual Conference in 2019, it seems like Antwerp is not only in the mind of association planners in particular but also in that of the industry itself in general. The second largest harbour city in Europe and the second largest petrochemical cluster in the world, it indeed might have a few assets up its sleeves worth being looked at… beyond the diamonds and the fashion. Boardroom reports

In about 4 months, a few hundreds of association executives will converge to Antwerp from across Europe to attend at the Associations World Congress, one of the largest conferences of this kind, at the recently-launched Flanders Meeting & Convention Centre, located within the Antwerp Zoo. The event will once again be co-located alongside the Association Leaders’ Forum for Executive Directors, focusing on critical issues of importance for association leaders.

Later, in 2019, AIPC, the international association of congress centres, will hold its annual conference in the exact same place, bringing together its members to consider key industry issues and hear from top professionals in a variety of business events related fields.

Being host to so many associations who will experience the city and its many offers lie at the core of Antwerp’ ambitions As an emerging international meeting destination, it wants to compete on the global scene and its strengths to do so are numerous: a good location only half an hour from Brussels, a compact, human size, an easy transport system, accommodation options for all kinds of budgets, and an excellent mix of traditional and modern facilities overall.

The Flanders Meeting & Convention Center (FMCCA) within walking distance of the historic city centre is the latest addition to the already rich portfolio of Antwerp meeting infrastructure: it’s adjacent to a beautiful historical zoo and can now welcome congresses of up to 2,000 people.

Should you need help for your next event, Antwerp Convention Bureau will ensure optimal collaboration with their local partners such as FMCCA, Antwerp Hotel Association, Antwerp Expo, Sportpaleis and others – a critical approach to be able to offer tailor-made services to association planners!

More information: Visit Antwerp / /+32 3 338 81 81 /







October 21, 2017

GDPR: How Associations Should Understand it

The General Data Protection Regulation, referred to simply as the “GDPR”, is Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council dated 27 April 2016. It concerns the protection of natural persons regarding the processing of personal data and on the free movement of this data. Words Terrance Barkan CAE, Chief Strategist at GLOBALSTRAT

Because associations maintain extensive databases of personal data, this Regulation directly impacts how associations will collect, maintain and manage the data that is vital to their operations. Note: “Personal Data” and “Personally Identifying Information” or “PII” are not the same thing and are often confused. Personal data is defined below.

What is equally important, this Regulation applies to any organization, regardless of where it may be located or headquartered, that maintains data of an EU resident. This casts a very wide net and touches essential any international organization.

What is the GDPR?

The GDPR came into force on 24 May 2016. However, due to its two-year implementation period, the GDPR will only be applicable from 25 May 2018. At this point, organizations have less than 10 months to ensure they are able to comply. Because the GDPR is an EU wide regulation, it does not require Member States to pass additional legislation for implementation. Some EU Member States (such as Germany, Ireland and the UK) are however taking the opportunity to introduce new domestic law at the same time.

The GDPR covers the processing of ‘personal data’ that relates to ‘data subjects’ by or on behalf of a ‘data controller’. ‘Personal data’ is defined as any information that relates to an identified or identifiable natural person (the ‘data subject’). An identifiable natural person is anyone that can be identified, either directly or indirectly, by reference to anything that can ultimately identify them. This includes a name, an identification number, location data, an online identifier or to data that relates to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that natural person.

Based on this broad description, it is clear that much of the types of data that associations hold on their members, prospects, former members, sponsors, donors, meeting participants etc. would be considered as ‘personal data’.

The entity who determines the purposes and means of processing is the ‘data controller’.  This is contrasted with a ‘data processor’ which processes personal data on behalf of the data controller. There are many changes for data processors under the GDPR, with many of the contractual obligations on them having been placed on a statutory footing. In practice the distinction between a data controller and a data processor is often not easy to ascertain.

The difference between a Data Controller and a Data Processor

One way of looking at this is in the example of an association that outsources its IT services to a third party (think of an online database management application). This is not an unusual situation, especially for many associations that outsource the hosting of their websites that may have an online membership directory as just one example.

The association in this case would be considered the ‘data controller’ because the association maintains ‘control’ over the data (it is collected, maintained and manipulated at the direction of the association’). The third-party service provider(s) would be considered a ‘data processor’ because they have access to the data through the provision of their IT services.

What are your responsibilities?

The ‘data controller’ bears the responsibility to prove to the relevant ‘supervisory authority’ that it is properly following the guidelines and regulations regarding the acquisition and management of personal data.

These Regulations include the following principles regarding the handling of personal data:

  • Lawfulness, fairness and transparency: Personal data must be processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner.
  • Purpose limitation: Personal data must be collected for specific, explicit and legitimate purposes and not further processed in a manner that is incompatible with those purposes.
  • Data minimisation: Personal data must be adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary in relation to the purposes for which it is processed.
  • Accuracy: Personal data must be accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date. Personal data that is known to be inaccurate is to be erased or rectified without delay.
  • Storage limitation: Personal data must not be kept in a form which permits identification of data subjects for longer than is necessary.
  • Integrity and confidentiality: Personal data must be processed in an appropriately secure manner including protection against unauthorized or unlawful processing and against accidental loss, destruction or damage, by the use of appropriate technical or organizational measures.

Note: This is where associations must have confidence that the third-party services they use to manage data are properly secured. If your third-party provider causes a breach, the association will remain liable.

  • Accountability: The data controller is responsible for, and has to be able to demonstrate compliance with, the principles stated above.

Regulation and enforcement of the GDPR is performed by a country’s ‘supervisory authority’ which in some countries may include data regulators at a national as well as a regional or local level.

In addition to the principles listed above, data controllers (associations) must also meet at least one the following criteria:

  • Obtain consent: The data subject must give clear consent to the processing of his or her personal data for one or more specific purposes.
  • Performance of a contract: Data processing is necessary for the performance of a contract with or on behalf of the data subject. For associations, membership and the delivery of services can be considered a contract. “Necessary” is a key element here however. Regulators and the courts are likely to interpret this narrowly and convenience is not the same as a necessity!
  • Compliance with a legal obligation: Data processing is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation to which the data controller is subject. Again, this is a narrow criteria and a US legal obligation is unlikely to be sufficient.
  • Vital interests: Data processing is necessary in order to protect the vital interests of the data subject or of another natural person.
  • Public interest: Data processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of an official authority vested in the controller. To meet this requirement it is likely to be in the interest of the public in the relevant Member State – US public interest will not be sufficient.
  • Legitimate interests: processing is necessary for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by the data controller or by a third party, except where such interests are overridden by the interests or fundamental rights and freedoms of the data subject which require protection of personal data, in particular where the data subject is a child.

What are the penalties for non-compliance?

Each supervisory authority has a range of investigative, corrective, authorization and advisory powers in order to ensure compliance with the GDPR. A supervisory authority has the ability to:

  • Issue warnings.
  • Order the data controller or the data processor to comply with a data subject’s requests to exercise his or her rights under the GDPR.
  • Order the data controller to communicate a personal data breach to the data subject(s).
  • Impose a temporary or definitive limitation including a ban on processing.
  • Order the correction or erasure of personal data or restriction of processing pursuant to a data subject’s rights.
  • Impose an administrative fine.
  • Order the suspension of data flows to a recipient in a third country or to an international organization.

In addition, fines can be imposed, ‘in addition to, or instead of’ the corrective powers a supervisory authority has at its disposal. The potential levels of these fines are quite staggering.

  • a fine of up to €10,000,000, or in the case of an undertaking, up to 2% of the total worldwide annual turnover of the preceding financial year, whichever is higher.
  • a fine of up to €20,000,000, or in the case of an undertaking, up to 4% of the total worldwide annual turnover of the preceding financial year for the most severe forms of a breach, including violations of the basic principles for processing, including conditions for consent, the data subjects’ rights, the transfers of personal data to a recipient in a third country or an international organization, or non-compliance with an order or a temporary or definitive limitation on processing or the suspension of data flows by the supervisory authority.

What next?

This article is meant to give a very brief overview of some of the most important elements of the GDPR. There are many more details to be considered regarding the rights of data subjects and how data controllers (in our case, associations) must act when acquiring, storing, managing and deleting personal data.

Associations will need to get proper legal compliance advice when it comes to the GDPR implementation. Because associations collect and manage data through multiple platforms (database management systems, websites, event registrations systems, members only networks, etc.) the range of exposure can be higher than imagined.

For more information of the GDPR and access to a webinar on the subject, visit More on GDPR in the November edition of Boardroom.

Acknowledgement: Terrance Barkan wants to thank Cordery, London, UK for the permission to reference some of their source material as an inspiration for this article.


October 14, 2017

What AccorHotels Can Do for Associations

Xavier Guillemin, Executive Director Association, Sport & Entertainment Worldwide Market at AccorHotels, explains how the hotel chain can be more than a supplier to associations.

How does AccorHotels cater specifically to European and international associations?

As one of the leading groups in the hotel industry, AccorHotels can meet all the needs with over 4,200 hotels from economic to luxury located in 95 countries. Within this network, we have a dedicated offer for associations where they can organize their entire event including meeting space, food & beverage and accommodation. Thanks to this network and also to the congress expertise we have developed in our hotels, associations will have the chance to sign one contract for one event organized in a one-stop venue.

We heard that AccorHotels has put a kind of association education scheme for their hotels. Can you elaborate extensively on this? Because we think it’s rather unique.

Indeed, and this has been deployed at a worldwide level.

But let me tell this story from the beginning. As we received several complains from associations working with hotels, we realized that many hotels the world over were not able to differentiate a corporate meeting from an association congress. With the help of clients, hotels and destinations, we thus decided to create an Internal Congress Charter that highlights the essential business principles of working with associations. This charter’s aim is to ‘educate’ 310 hotels selected on their capacity to host congresses. We asked all these hotels to commit to the Charter for 2017 and 2018.

It takes the form of a simple and short document of 6 pages. It includes key features such as a description of and the challenges faced by a non-for-profit organization. We cover also long term business opportunities management and why hotels must think ‘destination first’  by working together with convention bureaus.

Thanks to this process, we estimate that more than 1,100 colleagues have been trained to the specificities of the association market.

In addition, based on the content of this Charter, we developed 11 AccorHotels’ commitments towards the association market and created the “Success in Congress” campaign.

Any infrastructure development you’d like to share with the readers of Boardroom?

AccorHotels is a worldwide group in constant evolution as we need to grow and diversify our activities in order to anticipate market evolutions. In 2016, we had one hotel opening every 36 hours. In order to enrich our portfolio, we acquired last year all hotels from Fairmont, Raffles & Swissôtel and more recently we developed strategic partnerships with Rixos and Banyan Tree.

As of today, in the ICCA Top 10 cities, we already have 45 hotels with large meeting capacity ready to host congresses.

The last opening was in early October 2017, in Seoul, South Korea, with a huge complex that includes 4 hotels (Novotel, Suites Novotel, Ibis Styles, and Grand Mercure) with 1,700 rooms and huge meeting capacity.

Moreover, our flagship Pullman Paris Montparnasse is going through a full renovation plan and will reopen in 2019 with more than 900 rooms and spectacular meeting spaces.

Picture: Seoul Dragon City © Kim Dae Ik




October 6, 2017

Australian Seabin Tackles Ocean Pollution

On his travels around the world surfing and building boats, Turton was shocked by the amount of rubbish he saw floating in the world’s waterways. Over a beer with his friend Ceglinski, he asked: “If we have rubbish bins on land, why don’t we have rubbish bins for the ocean?” This simple question sparked the development of the Seabin, an innovative, world-first invention that is attracting global attention for its potential to help clean the ocean and revolutionise the health of marine ecosystems around the world. Similar to a skimmer box in a swimming pool, the Seabin is an automated rubbish bin that collects floating rubbish, oil, fuel and detergents. It is designed for marinas, private pontoons, inland waterways, residential lakes, harbours, ports and yacht clubs.

World Demand

Based in Perth, Western Australia, Turton and Ceglinski spent four years designing a prototype of the Seabin, with seed funding from Australian company Shark Mitigation Systems. In late 2015, they launched the project on crowdfunding site Indiegogo. The campaign raised more than US$260,000 in two months and was supported by ocean lovers from around the world.

In March 2016, Seabin announced an exclusive partnership with Poralu Marine, a French manufacturer of pontoons and marina equipment, to develop, manufacture and distribute the Seabins to customers worldwide.

The resort town of La Grande Motte became the first port in France to sign a collaborative research and development agreement with Seabin. Manufacturing of Seabins is due to start in September 2016. The first commercial Seabin was installed at a marina in Portsmouth, UK, home to Britain’s America’s Cup sailing team at the end of 2016.

A Second Life for Rubbish

One of the challenges the Seabin team is addressing is what to do with all the rubbish the bins collect. The amount of waste in the ocean and waterways is overwhelming. “We only see 30 per cent of the rubbish in the ocean,” says Ceglinski. “Seventy per cent of it sinks. We’ve worked out that if we collect one kilogram of rubbish per day, we’ll end up with nearly half a tonne of plastic at the end of the year – and that’s just from one Seabin.”

To help address the problem, Seabin is partnering with Parley for the Oceans, a New York-based environmental group that will recycle the plastics collected by the Seabins to make other products. Parley for the Oceans has previously worked with Adidas to create shoes made from plastic collected from the ocean. Turton and Ceglinski are also investigating how to use recycled ocean plastics to produce the body of the bins, making them more sustainable.

From Marinas to the Ocean

Both Ceglinski and Turton are avid surfers who grew up in Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia. Turton is a boat builder and sailor, while Ceglinski started his career in industrial design before moving to the yachting industry. When they thought it was “time to get serious” about the Seabin, they quit their jobs and set up a workshop on the Spanish island of Mallorca – there are about 2,000 marinas within a one-hour flight.

Their first goal is to have Seabins installed in marinas worldwide. Marinas have caretakers, who will be able to collect the rubbish. “It will make these marinas more efficient,” says Ceglinski. “It means the workers won’t have to spend six hours scooping out plastic and rubbish from the water each day. They can just empty the Seabin once or twice.”

The latest test version of the Seabin relies on electricity to run its pumps. But the team is working to develop a model that harnesses the energy of the sun to filter the water. The next stage of development will be to get the bins into channels and bays. Finally, the men want to see them in the ocean, but Ceglinski says they still have some work to do before battling the full force of Mother Nature.

Despite creating a product that has won worldwide attention, Ceglinski says they don’t want to have Seabins in the future. “We shouldn’t have a need for them,” he says. The men want to link education programs to young people with Seabins in their area. They hope that by creating awareness about pollution, the younger generations will become leaders of drastic, positive change.



First published on The unedited version of this article is also available on the website of Business Events Australia here.
Author: Imogen Brennan / Photo: Gold Coast, QLD © Tourism Australia

October 2, 2017

How Nantes Drives Innovation

Over just a few years, the fast-growing city on the French Atlantic coast has transformed itself. What used to be another French second-tier city is now a vibrant, booming destination full of energy. Elected European Green Capital 2013, Nantes is like a lively, open-air museum, a cultural hotspot full of history and an excellent choice for association events looking for something different, thanks to La Cité Nantes Events Center, Nantes Convention Bureau and their dynamic teams. Words Rémi Dévé

An article in the Sunday Times once called Nantes “the loopiest city in France” and that pretty much sums it all. The birthplace of Jules Verne is indeed equally innovative and bustling – the world-famous giant elephant which is regularly walking down the streets is the epitome of it and has become an icon, a true flagship for the city. In Nantes, the cultural and creative sectors are major growth drivers, part of a very diverse economy looking to a sustainable future.

But it’s not all play and no work: Nantes means business too. The economic prosperity of Nantes and the Pays de la Loire region comes indeed from the traditional industrial and maritime sectors, while several high-tech industries have seen the light of day over the last decade as well.

Nantes and its region also home to leading international companies such as Airbus, Armor, Eurofins, LU, STX Europe and Vivalis. The territory is also a centre of excellence for a large number of key industries such as digital economy, culture and creativity, mechanical industries, health and biotechnology, sustainable development. These industries are anchored around 14 European and international clusters such as Atlanpole Biotherapies (biotechnology/health) or Pôle Mer Bretagne Atlantique (marine and naval sector), which, together with the University of Nantes as the driving force, led the city to be chosen for the 6th Congress of the International Society for Applied Phycology (ISAP). The event took place at La Cité Nantes Events Center in June. With over 300 people working in its universities and research centres and more than 100 businesses, Western France is indeed a European hotspot for the transfer and industrial development of marine biotechnology.

La Cité Events Center in numbers

6,000 sqm of multi-purpose areas

3 auditoriums with 450, 800 and 2,000 seats

30 meeting rooms

Total capacity: 4,000 people

An adjacent 4-star hotel with 105 rooms

AIPC Quality standards Gold certification

The scope of the event was to appreciate the huge phycological biodiversity and the diversity of its biotechnological applications through the prism of a new and promising industrial sector in full development. The Congress included speakers and posters presentations, exhibitors and, for the first time, a BtoB session as well as an open conference specifically designed for the general public. With more than 560 participants, ISAP Nantes 2017 was the most successful Congress of the Society to date, with twice as many attendees compared to previous editions.

When asked about the reasons for this success, Pascal Jaouen, Co-Chairman of the Congress and Head of Laboratory GEPEA-CNRS, whose research activities relate to the processes of valorisation in the fields of food, environment, energy and the sea, says: Marine biotechnology, or the utilisation of marine bioresources as targets or sources of biotechnology applications, is a field with massive potential for innovation and economic growth. The western French regions of Pays de la Loire and Brittany are leaders in the field and it just made sense to hold the Congress in Nantes, especially since there are strong links between innovation and the industries based there. As ISAP aims to promote research, preservation of algal genotypes, and the dissemination of information concerning the utilisation of algae, we knew we would get all the knowledge we needed to build up a strong academic programme.

In Nantes, the congress centre (La Cité) and the University work closely togetherThere is a charter of partnership between us for the prospection of congresses of expertise such as ISAP. As soon as they detect the possibility for Nantes to host an event, they come to us. In the case of ISAP, it started as early as spring 2014 – they were, and actually are, very reactive. Nantes and its region are home to 70 research laboratories and there is always some kind of congress activity going on!” explains Jaouen. The city and the region in general and La Cité in particular were praised as highly professional when it comes to the hosting of congresses like ISAP. Nantes’ accommodation is first-class but at competitive rates, it’s within easy reach by air and less than two hours away from most European cities, La Cité Nantes Events Center is situated at the heart of the city, opposite the high-speed train station, and its staff was extremely helpful and friendly both in the preparation of the Congress as during the congress. Altogether, Nantes is a very attractive place, which many of our delegates thoroughly enjoyed.” Jaouen adds.

The fact that La Cité Nantes Events Center and the city of Nantes have been actively engaged in welcoming international associations since 2010 also helped, with a Charter for hosting events with a view to making life easier for event organisers. “The delegates felt really welcomed in Nantes. The ‘Charte d’Accueil Destination’ did wonders to promote the Congress all over the city” Jaouen concludes.

No wonder, then, that the Laboratory GEPEA-CNRS is going to organize four additional events at à La Cité Nantes Events Center in the upcoming two years, including S2small 2017 Nantes (an international conference on sustainable solutions for small water and wastewater treatment systems) in October, the ISBC 2018 symposium (about biosensors) in May, EFFOST 2018 (for the European Federation of Food Science and Technology) in November, and SFGP 2019 (Société Française de Génie des Procédés) in October.

More information: /



September 25, 2017

Education is Our Legacy for the Future

In a rapidly changing world with an increasingly uncertain future, education is probably the most important single thing any organization does, and that importance just keeps growing. There are three reasons for this, Rod Cameron, Executive Director AIPC and JMIC writes.

The first is that knowledge and the benefit of experience are probably the most valuable legacies we can pass on to those who will be following us into any discipline – and critical to delivering the kinds of specialized products and services that increasingly characterize a future workplace that may require skills not directly transferrable from other areas of employment. With a tight market for talent in many parts of the world today, employers often have to recruit from other specialties and then provide the additional required knowledge on-site. And while “on the job” experience will eventually provide a lot of what’s required, specialized training is a way to get new recruits up to speed more quickly.

But in times when almost everything about the product is changing so quickly, education is not just an investment in the future – it’s also about right now, and being able to put the very latest information, insights and strategies into immediate action. Even those with lots of experience in a particular business regularly find themselves facing new challenges, as everything from client needs and business methods to new technology and customer expectations change on what seems to be a daily basis. Invariably, the best ideas for how to address these come from others in the industry who are having similar challenges, and educational programs are an effective way of facilitating an exchange of such information and insights.

Finally, it’s about reputation – and an ability to create a comfort level amongst clients who need the confidence that things are being done properly and professionally. Education is primarily about building the kinds of competencies needed to demonstrate capability – and the more visible this capability is, the more likely it is to support being taken seriously by other disciplines. In a world where “second best” gains little respect, an investment in good education can not only produce better results, but more visibly better results – and that is perhaps the most valuable commodity in the market today.

What is changing is delivery. This is a product of technology and a matter of what is possible today that might not have been a few years ago – but it’s also about changing expectations around how information can and should be communicated by those on the receiving end. Online and remote learning, for example are very attractive in that they let students set their own pace and don’t require actual attendance in a central setting. At the same time, they enable participants to access speakers and resources that would be difficult if not impossible to bring together for a smaller group.

On the other hand, in a way, the method of delivery is in itself a part of the lesson, since it reflects on what we know about how to convey information most effectively and demonstrate the additional values – network development, for example – that reinforce the value of face to face encounters in validating both content and relationships. In the end – as with remote meetings generally – the most effective approach will likely be a combination of both, depending on the kinds of materials to be covered and the need for direct interaction as a component of the learning process.

The bottom line: training and education are both critical and evolving quickly. The challenge for everyone is not just to keep pace with current norms but to also prepare new arrivals for dealing with what may be a range of possibilities in the future. That is a more creative exercise than simply passing on existing information – but the only realistic approach to a world that is evolving as quickly as ours is today.

AIPC, the International Association of Convention Centres, represents a global network of over 180 leading centres in 57 countries with the active involvement of more than 900 management-level professionals worldwide. /

September 18, 2017

European Calcified Tissue Society – Building a Sustainable Future

Founded in 1963 with the aim of bringing together scientists and researchers in the field of calcified tissues to interact, learn from each other and create new alliances to advance research, the European Calcified Tissue Society (ECTS) have, since 1963, been acting as a forum to promote scientific excellence and education in the musculoskeletal field.  Roberta Mugnai, Executive Director, who Boardroom met at the last European Association Summit, shares her insights as an association professional and explains how the organization operates. Interview Rémi Dévé

Can you briefly explain what ECTS is about?

With an Annual Congress, PhD Training Courses and many research funding instruments, the European Calcified Tissue Society acts as a forum for the dissemination of scientific excellence and education. ECTS represents today more than 600 members, including basic researchers, clinicians, students and health allied professionals working in the musculoskeletal field. It has a network of over 30 national and international societies.

Since its inception until the late nineties, our main activity was the organization of a bi-annual congress. The society and congress were run by a number of volunteers. But at a certain point, we found ourselves with a desire to create a stronger community: the frequencies of the congresses were increased to annual events and the first staff members were hired. That’s when ECTS started to become a truly professional membership organization.

Can you elaborate about the events you organize and you relate to Education, the main theme of this edition of Boardroom?

Like many learned societies, we organize a number of training courses and e-learning aimed to support all stages of career development, from PhD Students to established clinicians and basic scientists.

Education is at the very heart of ECTS. In 2016 we established the ECTS Academy, whose mission is to form a scientific network on musculoskeletal diseases to promote scientific excellence and the training of young scientists and doctors in Europe. It works as a kind of spinoff society of ECTS whose 10 members are elected for 5 years after a strict selection based on scientific excellence and cooperative engagement.

The ECTS Academy organizes a number of events and learning opportunities for the young generation. It is still rather new but since 2016 the ECTS Academy has successfully organized a number of activities, including special sessions during the ECTS Congress or quarterly webinars for instance, for what we call New Investigators to gain career advice, support and guidance by experienced professionals. This initiative is much more than a ‘school’ and prepares the next generation to truly become the new leaders of researchers in the musculoskeletal field.

Have you ever worked with a Professional Congress Organizer? Do you see the added value of it?

With the exception of the ECTS congress, all the activities that I just mentioned are organized in-house. We are a small team of four but the ECTS members are dedicated and committed to the ECTS mission and they take a large number of operational activities in their hands, which we are deeply grateful for. For the ECTS congress, we use the services of a PCO, but we keep the leadership of the strategic decisions, scientific programme and relations with our corporate supporters.

The size of our congress doesn’t justify the hiring of dedicated congress staff and the hiring of a PCO is the most appropriate solution for us at the moment. We selected our PCO very carefully based on a number of elements: first and foremost they needed to embrace our mission and vision and had to be ready to be a member of the ECTS family! Our PCO is now really part of the team. I believe collaboration and transparency are keys to success.

Read the rest of Roberta’s interview in Boardroom#4 – September 2017 available here.