France’s Famous Faces: Isabelle Saves-Peccoz

10th May 2022

As head of international cooperation, Isabelle Saves-Peccoz develops and implements the strategy of opening up, outreach and international attractiveness of the Centre for Integrative Biology (CBI-Toulouse) and the Institute of Pharmacology and Structural Biology (IPBS-Toulouse). In that regard, she has been instrumental in getting two-high level conferences to Toulouse in 2022. For Boardroom’s France’s Famous Faces series, she explains how she sees her role as an ambassador and in what ways business events are drivers of change and influence.

Words Remi Deve

You won the bid to host two congresses, one which took place in February, another which will be held in September: how do these events contribute to the international reach of Toulouse?

At CBI-Toulouse and IPBS-Toulouse, one of my missions is to give visibility on an international level to the very high-quality research carried out in our laboratories covering a wide disciplinary spectrum, from fundamental biology to its application in several fields of health. This is why I applied for Toulouse to host the 6th World Global Forum on Tuberculosis Vaccines and then the International Plasmid Biology Meeting 2022.

These two events are very different, they are organized by research units which are part the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and the University of Toulouse 3, but each in their own way allow Toulouse to shine through the quality of its higher education and research. They also help position Toulouse within the broader French research field, in particular in Biology-Health and biotechnologies.

More generally, why is it interesting for a destination to host an international congress?

Hosting scientific events of this kind has a real impact for Toulouse. The first one is obviously touristic: the delegates usually find the city very charming, and rightly so! The second one might be more interesting as it has to do with knowledge-sharing: the various stakeholders taking part in the congress will often grab the opportunity to initiate or develop cooperation with local actors, and that cooperation will result in best practice exchange, transfer of expertise and sometimes mobility of researchers themselves. It is therefore the visibility of the city that is at stake and all its attractiveness that is reinforced.

What type of collaboration has there been with Toulouse Convention Bureau?

The collaboration with Toulouse Convention Bureau was of a different nature and importance on each instance.

For the 6th Global Forum on Tuberculosis Vaccines, which was to bring together around 500 participants from more than 30 countries, joint work with the Toulouse Convention Bureau began in June 2019, for a Forum that was in the end held virtually in February 2022. The collaboration with Toulouse Convention Bureau began very early on as they helped us to put together the most solid bid possible.

They actually were by our side throughout the whole process, from getting all the right partners on board to the site inspection. This collaboration lasted until the completion of the Forum in order to ensure the best possible reception and the best promotion of Toulouse despite the impossibility of organizing the Forum face-to-face. And even if the event was organized virtually, we received significant financial support from the Toulouse Métropole Congress Fund.

In the case of the Plasmid Biology Meeting which is expected to bring together around 150 specialists from around the world, the support of Toulouse Convention Bureau has touched on more logistical aspects, including the search of the right partners and sponsors. They will also help with the promotion of Toulouse which will be made during the event, which I’m sure will be a great success.

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