ECRD 2016

Categorie(s): venues in edinburgh case study 2016 conference in edinburgh

The European Organisation for Rare Diseases (EURORDIS) recently held their 8th European Conference on Rare Diseases & Orphan Products (ECRD 2016) at the EICC from 26-28th May 2016. Sharon Ashton, Senior Event Manager at EURORDIS tells us more about how it went.


• 3 days

• 750 delegates

• 48 countries represented

• Over 120 session chairs, speakers and panellists

• 28 sessions

• 200 posters

• 11 exhibitors

Can you tell us more about the recent European Conference on Rare Diseases & Orphan Products Conference?

The European Conference on Rare Diseases & Orphan Products (ECRD) takes place every two years since 2001. It is considered as a priority event by all stakeholders active in the field of rare diseases as it represents an excellent platform for policy promotion that covers all areas of relevance for the rare disease community.

Who were the delegates attending the conference?

Circa 750:

45% rare disease patients and patients’ representatives

30% academics/clinicians/researchers/healthcare professionals

20% pharma and biotech representatives and consultants

2% government workers/policy makers/payers/regulators

3% medical students and post graduate trainees

What were the key requirements when selecting Edinburgh as the host destination?

1. Accessibility from all cities within Europe and beyond (USA, Canada, Japan) via direct air or train links to Edinburgh;

2. Subventions proposed by the host destination such as, but not limited to: Free site inspections (flights, accommodation and organisation of visits); Discounted local public ground transportation and city tours; Complimentary guide books / city maps ; financial contribution per delegate.

3. Accessibility and variety of surrounding hotel accommodation (various levels of affordability, accessibility, transport etc.) within a 2km radius of the conference venue

4. Personnel and facilities in place to welcome people with disabilities (blindness, mobility): within the conference venue, hotels and in the city (public transport)

Were there any unforeseen challenges in the run up or during the conference?

We faced the following 2 challenges:

  1. During ECRD the city was exceptionally busy with the Edinburgh Marathon choosing that weekend and then the GUINNESS PRO 12  Final  – had we not held room blocks in different hotels throughout the city via Marketing Edinburgh’s practical, who provide a practical, easy to use and professional quality booking service, we would have been in serious trouble. It would have been near impossible for delegates to find accommodation at reasonable rates.  We did release too many rooms in our headquarter hotels which meant that we had to scramble to find a few rooms for our speakers at the last minute. Marketing Edinburgh was very helping in finding solutions for us.
  2. We are used to holding events in central Europe where the currency is the EURO. Prior to the conference (pre-Brexit!), the GBP (pound sterling) was strong which meant that hotel prices were high when converted to EURO and we had to purchase/reserve pounds at a set exchange rate in order to be able to ‘control’ / have visibility on our budget. 
What was the general feedback from delegates?

“Catering and event staff were the best I have experienced. Helped create a great atmosphere.”

“A wonderful, very informative meeting with great networking opportunities”

“I thought it was an excellently organized conference and I valued all the sessions I attended”

“Important event to meet relevant stakeholders and develop new collaborations”

How did you find Edinburgh as a destination for your conference?

Edinburgh was a great host city with excellent and accessible conference facilities. Edinburgh offers a variety of good quality and affordable hotels and is a compact and culturally diverse city. The assistance we received from Convention Edinburgh which included their online accommodation booking service proved crucial to the success of the conference. Convention Edinburgh also helped us to source a professional photographer. Their call for bid service was very practical, easy to use and produced very fast and very satisfactory results. They also activated their social media/PR  contacts for us pre-conference which produced more local media interest in our event. All enquiries were handled in a timely, professional and friendly manner.

Thinking about hosting a conference in Edinburgh? Take a look and see how Convention Edinburgh can help>


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