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Nitrogen and Global Change, April 2011

We asked Edinburgh Ambassador, Dr. Stefan Reis from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH), about the success of the conference and the challenges it presented.

What persuaded you and NitroEurope to choose Edinburgh?

Edinburgh is an experienced conference destination with a wide choice of venues - the majority within easy reach of the city centre. The conference also coincided with the Edinburgh International Science Festival giving delegates an added incentive to extend their stay as for many delegates it would be their first visit to Edinburgh.

What were the main events of the conference programme and how did you co-ordinate this?

The committee pulled together a strong scientific programme which included a Workshop for Policy Stakeholders, an International Science Conference and the Launch of the European Nitrogen Assessment (ENA). Co-ordination of the programme was supported by an excellent team at CEH and further assisted by the Convention Bureau and EICC.

Did delegate numbers meet expectations?

We anticipated 270 delegates but this increased to 356. The programme and connections helped secure high profile speakers and together with location, attractive delegate rate, launch of the ENA and the number of people involved in the project - this all helped to increase numbers.

How supportive was the Convention Bureau?

Accommodation was managed by the Convention Bureau's Conference Accommodation Booking Service (CABS) and it was ideal that hotels and venues were within walking distance. We were also assisted with site inspections, delegate literature and referral to a Professional Conference Organiser (PCO) for sponsorship advice.

How would you rate the main meeting venue?

The EICC is a fantastic venue with world class facilities and outstanding service. Throughout, they were very flexible, quick to respond and had great technical support.

Did you face any challenges during organisation?

There was a clash of events with another conference which had not been organised at the time of our planning and policy meeting. Also, registration was a concern with the increase in numbers but this was handled by the Convention Bureau which made the operation so much smoother.

Any advice for organisers?

Start early and get your "slot" into the event calendar; ensure there is online registration; offer a ‘Day' rate for the conference which opens the event to local participation; estimate carefully on catering.

Has organising this conference put you off supporting another?

Not at all. We are about to embark on another new research project with about 40 international partners in October so in a few years time there may be another conference, so watch this space!

 For further information on the venues, please see Meeting Edinburgh

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