Events: what’s in it for the academic community? A Doctor gives his prescription

Expert Opinion Features
Events: what’s in it for the academic community? A Doctor gives his prescription

Former Copenhagen CVB has published its industry PhD student Thomas Trøst Hansen’s thesis on the global meetings industry and the many academic benefits that come from hosting and attending an academic event.

Dr Hansen’s study for Wonderful Copenhagen brings fresh insight into the world of academic events and presents specific benefits of chairing and attending a congress.

The study attempted to answer the fundamental question: ‘What’s in it for the academic community?’ in terms of benefits from being involved in major academic events.

Up to 300,000 academic events are held on yearly basis globally, engaging millions of individual scholars. Yet, up until now, there has been limited research on the professional outcomes for these individuals.

Moving away from merely looking at the financial benefits of hosting an academic event, Dr Hansen’s dissertation identified specific benefits that academics can reap by hosting or attending an academic event. These include the three concepts of Buzz, Network and Recognition.

While Buzz gives researchers access to informal information that is key to being at the forefront of developments within their field, Network involves increasing visibility and developing scientific collaboration. Recognition refers to exchanges that are essential for functioning in the current academic system and is the end purpose of chairing and attending.

“Academic events are marketplaces where researchers meet to engage in a wide range of exchanges. It is a key arena for exchanges related to network, buzz, recognition and much more. To stay in the metaphor of marketplaces, one can do online shopping, but if one wants access to the best bargains, you need to be physically present. This is especially true for research collaboration that depends and thrive on trust,” explains Dr Hansen.

Yet, according to the study, few people in the academic sector have realised the potential of hosting academic events and Dr Hansen says it is up to the global meetings industry to make them aware of the benefits and opportunities. However, for the industry to do so it needs to follow trends in academia and science policy closely to know where it can be of service to the academic sector, he notes.

By sharing the key findings of the PhD study, Wonderful Copenhagen says it hopes it can help CVBs gain a better understanding of key business partners and the potential of improving the value proposition offered to local researchers.

“This unique study has identified some clear benefits to the academic community. We hope it will encourage and inspire academia, associations and convention bureaus around the world to better understand and communicate the beyond-tourism-effects of international congresses. Being able to actually identify a broader impact of academic events is ground-breaking and should lead not only to an even closer collaboration between academia and convention bureaus, but also to better evaluation of congresses,” said Kit Lykketoft, Director of Conventions at Wonderful Copenhagen.

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World. Write Paul an E-mail

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