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The Federated Logic Conference (FLoC): Edinburgh July 2010

The Federated Logic Conference (FLoC) took place in Edinburgh in July 2010 and generated over £5 million in economic benefit for the city. The event was attended by over 1,200 delegates and consisted of eight conferences and 50 workshops held at Edinburgh First, The University of Edinburgh.

The complexity of dealing with eight established conferences - all top in their field and with their own traditions - made this event very challenging to arrange. "At times it was like being a marriage councillor," states Professor Libkin.

Professor Libkin had been on the Steering Committee for previous conferences and was finally persuaded to host the event in Edinburgh. Edinburgh has strong connections in this field with the School of Informatics ranked the strongest in the UK for research in Informatics and Computer Science and contributing 10% of the UK's world-leading research (Source: RAE 2008). The School is the largest academic research grouping in Europe and was very supportive of the bid.

Did you employ any external support to assist with the organisation of FLoC?

We decided to do everything in house. The registration fee was important as this event attracts delegates from all over the world whose countries investment in science is varied and consequently budgets to attend events like this can be low. Our aim was to keep the Registration Fee under £300 and in the end we achieved £250.

We received donations from key companies such as Microsoft, HP, and Google, as well as funding from Research Councils UK. ECB assisted here in providing us with an economic benefit figure that the conference could potentially generate, thus showing value and enabling us to secure funding.

The conference was hugely successful - why do you think that was?

We ran the most successful conference - the largest number of workshops, delegates and conferences with no serious problems. We did have one scare when the volcanic ash struck but thankfully it did not affect us in any way.

Most delegates stayed for five days and over 100 delegates stayed for the full two weeks with our highest attended day achieving 650 delegates. We set the bar very high in terms of the paper submissions - taking only 20% of what was submitted.

The workshops were a key element enabling delegates to come and listen and also to present. We had over 50 workshops - "it was a full time job assigning workshops to rooms," recalls Professor Libkin. We kept the registration fee low and provided an early bird discount - over 80% of delegates registered on the early bird rate. We provided inexpensive accommodation using Pollock Halls and of course Edinburgh and its famous landmarks is an attractive city to visit - many delegates stayed on for a vacation after the conference.

What has been the lasting legacy of the conference?

Cooperation at conferences, networking and the sharing of ideas is always a benefit. This conference helped to get the School on the international platform. The reputation of the School is very high and so a conference like this helps us showcase this and ultimately attract the best talent to Edinburgh and to Scotland

Would you volunteer to run a future conference?

"On a smaller scale yes, but not one as large. But never say never!"

Conference Factfile:
Delegates - 1,200
Type - International (over 900 delegates from overseas)
Duration - up to two weeks (most delegates stayed 5 days)
Venues - Edinburgh First at The University of Edinburgh
Economic benefit - £5 million

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