Basel Gets Creative for DIA Europe 2018

December 3, 2018

Basel Gets Creative for DIA Europe 2018

A global association that mobilises life science professionals from across all areas of expertise to engage with patients, peers and thought leaders, the Drug Information Association brings its European meeting to a different location every year. For its 30th anniversary, it chose to stay close to its European headquarters and organised the event at Congress Center Basel (CCB). Some 2,000 participants from all over Europe convene to Basel from 17 to 19 April 2018, ‘at the crossroads of healthcare’, as branded in the theme of the meeting.

The DIA is the only organisation in the world with the aim of bringing together professionals in health-product development so that they can pool their findings and push ahead with measures for the development of health products and lifecycle management. Over the past 30 years, the association has been getting experts around a single table, with the objective of finding new, concrete methods and solutions for patients. Transparent cooperation is made possible by incorporating representatives from the life sciences landscape. In this regard, the industry, the cost bearers, the patients and the regulatory authorities all have an equal say. Whether politics and regulations, research and development, marketing or economic developments: all the different stakeholders of the value chain are represented and that’s what makes the DIA conference unique.

As written in the programme, DIA Europe 2018 is more than just a traditional meeting. It’s a chance to learn, engage, and grow as a healthcare professional. “At DIA Europe 2018, we provided our delegates with a neutral forum to discuss current issues, with the goal of uncovering new ways of working and new solutions for patients. We welcomed participants from across the entire drug development industry and we facilitated open collaboration,” said the committee in charge of the programme, which included more than 65 meetings with nine challenging and cross-functional topics, such as ‘Drugs of the future: What will innovation need and bring?’ and ‘How can we further promote clinical research in Europe?’

A new feature of the 2018 conference were the DIAlouge sessions – a dynamic and results-oriented format which brought together stakeholders in order to solve a specific problem. The three-day event came to a close with the rapid-fire meeting, which in the past has proven very successful, and during which the key contents and findings of the conference were presented.

The innovations that helped make the conference a genuine experience included some creative stage setups, as well as a large number of unique ideas in terms of material, signage, technology and furniture. For the branding, digital elements were combined with tangible features to form a convincing whole. In Hall 4U of the CCB, an exhibition featured state-of-the-art ePosters, which made a lasting impression on participants. “The Congress Center Basel is an excellent location. The infrastructure is ideal and the working relationship perfect. In future, DIA Europe will only be rotating between different locations, and one of these will be Basel”, said Magdalena Daccord, Head of operations EMEA. Cathy Persidis, Senior Conference Manager at DIA added: “My work was definitely made easier with the support and collaboration of the CCB team”.

This article was written by Boardroom Chief Editor Rémi Dévé. More info on Congress Center Basel: / ; and on Switzerland as a convention destination: /


November 20, 2018

Legacy is Always All About Value Capture

Politician, diplomat and educator Baroness Amos has given the keynote at a Sydney Speaker Series luncheon in London. The event was organised by both Business Events Sydney and ICC Sydney, and was hosted by the High Commission of Australia. The Iceberg itself was invited to attend, and was even able there to interview BESydney CEO Lyn Lewis-Smith.

You can read the whole article here.

November 7, 2018

Creating Impact: Bill Reed’s Career Lessons

In the first installment of PCMA’s Leaving a Legacy series, Bill Reed, FASAE, CMP, chief event strategy officer at American Society of Hematology, shares his thoughts on what he learned from his career bumps, who played critical roles on his career path, and why he’s excited for the future of business events.

You can read the whole article here.

October 29, 2018

Japan – The Land of Rising Legacies

Japan is known for its unique culture, unbeatable hospitality, safe cities and world-class infrastructure. It’s this combination that makes it such a popular destination among international associations. But let’s not forget that Japan is also a treasure trove of world-leading scientific and industrial knowledge and talent. These forces come together to create dynamic and vibrant industries across all fields, making it the ideal place to exchange ideas, as happened during the Human Genome Meeting in Yokohama.

Success was on everybody’s lips at the end of the 22nd Human Genome Meeting (HGM2018) which took place at PACIFICO Yokohama in March 2018. Marking the second time for Japan to host the conference after it was held in Kyoto in 2005, it attracted 460 scientists and professionals from 39 countries/regions, who presented and discussed a variety of topics related to genome research.Themed “Genome data and Health”, the event was organised by the Human Genome Organization (HUGO), whose mission is to strengthen the network and relations between the scientists dedicated to the colossal task of deciphering the human genome and discovering new therapeutic possibilities.

Involved in numerous international collaborative initiatives such as ENCODE, the Human Cell Atlas and the Roadmap Epigenomic project, Japan has significantly contributed to the genome community. Additionally, the country has taken part more recently in the Cancer Genome projects, as well as in the broad sequencing of the Japanese population. Japanese scientists are at the forefront of genome research: they have developed novel technologies and showed continuous efforts to map the genes and have identified the fundamental roles of the non-coding part of the genome.

Center for Life Sciences

Deputy Director of RIKEN Center for Life Science Technologies and council member of HUGO, Dr. Piero Carninci, was the chair of the meeting. RIKEN, Japan’s largest comprehensive research institution, has a Yokohama campus and some of the world’s most advanced research on life science is being conducted there – making Yokohama, the second largest city in Japan, the ideal place to hold the event. For many years Carninci has also made exceptional contributions to the development of genome research, both in Japan and abroad, winning a number of national awards such as the Biotec Award, the NISTEP Researchers award and the HUGO Chen Award of Excellence.

“Organising HGM2018 here is a good way to advertise how great Japan is as a place to do research,” says Dr. Piero Carninci. “And this contributes to the internationalisation of science – which I believe is paramount. That’s actually one of the reasons why I decided to become an event organiser, a role which I knew nothing about not so long ago. Science has to be international, especially in our field of expertise, genome sequencing: the more genomes we can compare, the better. So it is essential to have the Japanese scientists working hand in hand with the Europeans and Americans, in order to exchange knowledge. Thanks to the interactions it created, HGM2018 helped the advancement of science and the achievement of a legacy for years to come.”

Located close to Tokyo and easily reachable from its two international airports, Yokohama was the first port city opened to the world in 1859. Harmoniously blending cultures and architectures with a strong Japanese feel, it boasts a great international dimension. Post-convention options abound: visitors can experience true Japanese aestheticism at Sankei-en Garden, enjoy harbor cruises and receptions at facilities with ocean and night views only a port town can offer, and eat delicacies in Chinatown. With many years of experience, a spirit of hospitality and an excellent track record of quality event management, association conferences and events have been organised with great success in Yokohama.

Dr. Piero Carninci explains: “Yokohama is a very attractive city built around a comprehensivecentre,located in the vicinity of an international airportandit boasts a wonderful,flexible conference venue.Plenty ofhigh-quality hotels and restaurants can be found in very close proximity, giving organising committees all the means to offer a strong event programme combined with fun social and networking activities.”

Carninci also praised the blend of quality facilities andthe support to be found not only on a local but also on a national level. As a scientist, I knew nothing about the world of meetings, but thanks to the help of Japan National Tourism Organization and Yokohama Convention and Visitors Bureau, I got support, contacts, sponsors… everything showed up automatically and went smoothly. Now this is my second time organising an international conference, and I think that we have reached a level where preparation and communication go with no particular problems, as we stay in close contact with the local organisations during all stages of the event,”he concludes.

More information on Japan as a conference destination: / This full version of this article, written by Boardroom Chief Editor Rémi Dévé, is available in the November issue of Boardroom.

October 17, 2018

The Land of Rising Legacies

Japan is known for its unique culture, unbeatable hospitality, safe cities and world-class infrastructure. It’s this combination that makes it such a popular destination among international associations. But let’s not forget that Japan is also a treasure trove of world-leading scientific and industrial knowledge and talent. These forces come together to create dynamic and vibrant industries across all fields, making it the ideal place to exchange ideas, as happened during the Language Resources and Evaluation Conference in Miyazaki and the Human Genome Meeting in Yokohama.

Snow-capped mountains in the North, pine-clad islands in the South, outstanding people, vibrant cities and ‘cool’ culture… coming to Japan brings visitors in contact with the imagination and intelligence of the country, touching upon its high quality, technological expertise and creativity. This combination leads to new ways of thinking and triggers experiential insights hard to find anywhere else, as the country, along a strong academic community, has for a long time been a leading force for research and development in many industries – from engineering and pharmaceuticals to robotics, finance and IT.

Aiming to be the leading meetings destination in Asia by 2030 and already looking beyond the 2020 Olympics (it will also host its very first G20 Summit in February 2019 in Osaka, spearheading discussions on the many challenges the international community is currently facing), Japan boasts one of the largest national memberships within many international associations, in addition to a great record of hosting successful international association events. This is partly due to the efforts of Japan Convention Bureau who, within Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), identifies conferences that are aligned with the country’s key industries and sectors.

Language Resources

In this regard, it hardly comes as a surprise that the Language Resources and Evaluation Conference (LREC) took place in Miyazaki in May 2018. Since the first LREC held in 1998, the conference has become the major event on Language Resources and Evaluation for Language Technologies. LREC provides a unique forum for researchers, industrials and funding agencies from across a wide spectrum of areas to discuss problems and opportunities, find new synergies and promote initiatives for international cooperation, in support of investigations in language sciences, progress and innovation in language technologies and development of corresponding products, services and applications, and standards.

Coming to the Asia-Pacific region for the first time and co-organised by the European Language Resource Association (ELRA) and the Istituto di Linguistica Computazionale, LREC attracted a total number of 1,149 delegates, from 63 countries. They were welcome in the ocean-view Phoenix Seagaia Resort in Miyazaki, a convention city located in the South of Japan and blessed with a rich natural environment, a warm climate, and plenty of facilities. The original bid to win the event was initiated by Professor Hitoshi Isahara, Director of Information and Media Center of Toyohashi University of Technology, with the support of JNTO and its Conference Ambassador Program.

The conference explored new R&D directions, emerging trends and information regarding LRs and their applications, evaluated methodologies and tools, identified industrial uses and needs, and addressed requirements from e-science and e-society. In addition to this strong content, highlights of the conference included the welcome reception at the sacred Miyazaki-Jingu Shrine, historically dedicated to the first Emperor of Japan, during which Governor Kouno and Mayor Toshikiexpressed their continuous support for international exchange in Miyazaki. Together with the festival-like atmosphere of the gala dinner, where participants could indulge in local tastes, those moments showcased Japan’s unique culture combining sophisticated, modern elements with more traditional components.

Asked about the legacy of the Conference, Conference Chair Nicoletta Calzolari says it’s actually twofold.“There are two aspects for me,” she explains.“The first one is clearly professional, as we help participants coming from Europe, America and other countries to get in touch and interact with their Japanese peers, so they can exchange knowledge and best practices, as there is obviously a high level of research in our field in Japan.But then there are all the people coming from Asia, who visit Japan for the first time. There, I hope they understand Japanese culture and people a little bit better. The cultural legacy of the conference is, in that regard, very important for me.”

The Legacy component of the Congress could also be felt on JNTO’s side as it was selected to receive the ‘JNTO Best International Convention Awards 2017’, in the ‘International Conference Bid Division’. This clearly recognised the efforts showcased by the local authorities and organisations from the early planning stages of the event: a comprehensive bid was put together to promote the geographical and historical appeal of the region, as well as the good accessibility from overseas airports, providing professional and flexible support in an unprecedented manner.

This full version of this article, written by Boardroom Chief Editor Rémi Dévé, will be available in the November issue of Boardroom.

October 9, 2018

How Knowledge Transfer Can Exceed Economic Impact

In partnership with the Vienna Convention Bureau and research firm Triconsult, the European Society of Radiology, the world’s largest professional community in the biomedical field with over 80,000 members across 193 countries, conducted a research on the value of its congresses.

Titled ‘The Sustainability of Scientific Congresses – European Congress of Radiology 2018’, the findings, which were derived from a sample of nearly 10% of speakers responding to detailed questionnaires distributed by the society, revealed that the value of the professional time spent compiling, and the research funding associated with, the content of 3,331 papers presented at the European Society of Radiology`s 2018 Congress, amounted to 813 million euros.

Commenting on the importance of the study, Executive Director of the European Society of Radiology, Peter Baierl, said: “Our mission is education. We live in a world of numbers and everyone, wherever they come from, can go with those numbers to whomever is important; the public, the industry, or our customers – the doctors.”

Monika Hierath, European Society of Radiology director of European & International Affairs and executive manager, European Institute for Biomedical Imaging Research added: “Radiology is crucial in the diagnostic process of modern healthcare. But it is also playing a role in the entire healthcare pathway – for treatment selection, monitoring, and assessment of treatment outcome. We attract researchers, industry leaders, and other stakeholders including policymakers [to the congress] from the European Commission but also international organisations such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) or the World Health Organisation (WHO). This creates very fertile ground for knowledge exchange and knowledge transfer but also beyond the scientific community into practise, policies, and actions”.

“We wanted to establish what value is associated with presenting scientific papers at scientific congresses”, commented Christian Mutschlechner, director of the Vienna Convention Bureau. “We started in 1991 with ‘Economic Impact Studies’ [measuring visitor spend]. For the European Society of Radiology`s congress you can expect an economic impact of 40-65 million euros when 20,000 visitors stay in Vienna for 4 days. But the value of the knowledge presented at the congress might range from between 500-850 million euros – ten times that of the economic impact…”

Our partners at The Iceberg produced a video about it:



October 1, 2018

Who Does Your Association Conference Serve?

In an article published on the website of Convene, one of Boardroom’s partners, Dave Lutz, CMP, reflects on how an association conference shouldn’t be a rite of passage or a way for someone to leave a legacy.

Conferences are there to serve the paying attendees. Organizations that don’t put the attendee first in every conference experience they offer lose an opportunity to grow trust and loyalty.

Read Dave’s opinion piece here.

September 21, 2018

Auditors Inspect Innovation in Dubai

For Dubai, half a century brought change that transformed a tiny fishing village into one of the leading cities across the globe for both business and tourism. Once a quiet coastal settlement, Dubai has reinvented itself, over just a generation, into the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) pioneering destination, with over three million inhabitants. A hub between East and West, it’s only normal international associations turn their attention to it, as did the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) when it chose Dubai as its host for its annual conference in May.

 Serving today more than 190,000 members from more than 170 countries and territories, the Institute of Internal Auditors held its first annual conference in New York City in November 1942. Since then, this event has been held in more than 50 locations worldwide and attracts over 2,500 attendees annually.

The IIA’s International Conference showcases the best the profession has to offer and provides participants from around the world with an understanding of the latest developments in internal auditing. Today, it is the premier event for internal auditors who want to hear powerful keynote speakers and international presenters representing the global internal audit profession. Attendees are presented with a number of concurrent sessions on today’s current issues and trends, industry best practices seeking to address common challenges, and knowledge-sharing opportunities. The overall experience enhances professional development, provides engaging peer-to-peer networking, and affords access to key service firms and vendors.

“There is nothing like gathering together with your colleagues and peers, to be able to exchange ideas. And our international conference gives us the ability to do that face to face,” argues J Michael Peppers, 2017-18 chairman of the Global Board of Directors for the IIA.“Our members are looking to be challenged, to expand their skillsets, their knowledge bases, so that they can serve their organisations well. And international conferences pull together speakers on so many topics and we’re able to get diverse viewpoints and opinions and learn about technologies that we may not have in the home regions where the members work.”

Connecting the World Through Innovation

Held under the patronage of is His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum,Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai – and thus demonstrating government support at the highest level –the four-day 2018 Conference was organised at Dubai International Convention&Exhibition Center under the theme “Connecting the World Through Innovation”, with the participation of some 3,000 experts from over 100 countries from the global internal audit industry – a record-breaking attendance.

The theme was very fitting to Dubai. The Emirate was founded on oil – although the economy has long diversified away from it – and quickly developed into a city known for the tallest buildings and most exclusive hotels, aiming to be the most innovative at any goal it set forward. With the UAE Vision 2021, the country is building a competitive and resilient economy focused on fostering knowledge and innovation, as well as sustainability, honing in on seven main sectors: renewable energy, transport, education, health, technology, water and space.

Dubai Business Events’ bidding strategy is aligned with these sectors and the Emirate’s strongest knowledge economies. Work to get the Institute of Internal Auditors to hold its conference in Dubai started with the involvement of the UAE chapter of IIA, through the Al Safeer Congress Ambassador Programme. It helped, of course, that the city hosted the IIA Global Council back in 2014.“The Dubai Business Events Al Safeer Congress Ambassador Programme has been instrumental in bringing this conference to Dubai,” explains Steen Jakobsen, Director of Dubai Business Events“We’ve worked very closely with UAE-IAA chapter for many years and the leadership is part of our Al Safeer conference ambassador programme. So it’s through the ambassador programme that we identified this conference as an opportunity for Dubai where we engaged with the right local counterparts and jointly worked on submitting and promoting the bid for Dubai.”

The full version of this article, written by Boardroom Chief Editor Rémi Dévé, is available in the September issue of Boardroom available here.


September 11, 2018

Empowering the Young Generation

Aaron Etra is the co-founder of the Institute for Life Sciences Collaboration, which organizes two series of international life sciences conferences (ICMAN and ICNODAT) and fosters ongoing cooperation among organizations worldwide under the auspices of the Global Health Collaborations Association. He has long represented NGOs at the United Nations, which he also served as an official in Geneva, and is Chair of the Executive Committee of the Council of Organizations of the United Nations Association of the USA. As an expansion of the feature published in the September issue of Boardoom, he shares his insights on how youth should be empowered in this special contribution by BestCities Global Alliance.

Can you tell us about your role as chair of the Executive Committee of the Council of Organisations? 

The COO is a federation of NGOs whose establishment dates back to the formation of the United Nations and whose role is to support the work of the UN in all its aspects and worldwide. I Chair an Executive Committee of 23 persons drawn from the member organizations which itself undertakes programs and projects, while also encouraging partnering among its member organizations and with other organizations and networks in the U.S. and internationally.

Do associations currently report on their contribution towards the 2030 agenda? If not, how can they?
Yes, there are several forums in which associations and other NGOs meet, interact, report and review the progress toward meeting the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2030. I would like to encourage even greater participation and discuss such opportunities at the length they deserve.

BestCities are committed to advancing our industry and we feel that a role or us to help associations engage with the next generation of association members.  What do you think engaging with this generation would bring to the industry?
It is essential to bring the meetings industry as a whole in closer touch with the aspirations and priorities of the world’s youth. The challenge is to convince the next generations that they can indeed further their goals, at least in part, through participating in meetings programs and projects. As an industry we want to be able to measure impact and people are working on different elements however measuring societal impact is not easy.

Do you have any suggestions how we can do this?
One such source of measurements of societal impact is the Indicators developed for measuring progress toward the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. These have drawn on expertise from all quarters worldwide and provide a universally applicable data base.

You attend a number of industry events. What events or activities do you find most valuable?

I find particularly valuable sessions and programs where meetings representatives from the two basic groups – exhibitors and planners – have meaningful exchanges and opportunities to present and test innovations and new directions for their respective activities, with a view to a collaborative result.

The 2019 High Level Political Forum theme is ‘Empowering Young People’ – What do you see as the fundamental pillars required to empower young people?

The ability to participate, engage and have meaningful impact on policy and practice is what draws youth to the likes of the HLPF and the 67th Annual UN DPI/NGO Conference that just concluded at UN Headquarters. Youth can and should question current policies and action, provide fresh insights and perspectives, demand changes where felt necessary and hold all stakeholders to fulfilling their respective roles.

What do you think the main benefits to the industry are for effectively engaging the next generation?

The benefits include refreshing both the leadership and membership with new energy, enthusiasm, talent and belief in the future. It presents opportunities for all parties to learn, diversify the industry and create a whole new generation of future leaders in the meetings industry.

How do you think an organisation like BestCities Global Alliance can support the growth of the industry through youth engagement and legacy?

BestCities can ensure that its members are tuned into worldwide opportunities for youth engagement and legacy, both in respect of subject matter and modalities. It can inform and assist its members and their constituents in assuming the roles they can play in the issues of the present and the future which will improve their functioning and enhance their relevance.