During IMEX, Copenhagen presented us with the interesting notion of the image problem academic events are facing; the endless conference invitations and the talk around carbon footprint paired with the strained budgets at public research institutions result in the loss of academics as key meeting attendees. The meeting industry should be able to document value creation, to make an impact, and in Copenhagen they are trying to do just that; help academics evaluate their events.
The campaign for legacy is meant to highlight how the meeting industry contributes to a better world, however, according to Industrial PhD student, Thomas Trøst Hansen, this concept is not clear and the real challenge lies in developing evaluations of the existing value creation at academic events, e.g. inspiration, network development, community building and exchange of recognition. These are the reasons for having academic events and we have failed to demonstrate their importance.
Always according to Mr Hansen’s research, academics work and receive recognition through a value chain which is used as a basis for evaluating academic events. He has found remarkable differences in the outcomes between different types of events, including congresses, specialty conferences, symposia and practitioners’ meetings. By focusing on the academic sector and addressing the academic outcomes, the evaluation framework will be more engaging for the academic sector, including universities, funding bodies and scientific associations. The involvement of such actors in the evaluations of their own events is key to promoting the broader outcomes of the meetings industry.