Dates - 29th-30th June 2016
Venue - Apex City Quay Hotel & Spa, Dundee
Delivery Partners - University of Dundee, Dundee City Region Convention Bureau
Attendance - 126 delegates from 18 countries
Impact on the local economy - £154,000
Young Microbiologists Symposium on Microbe Signalling, and Pathogenesis
Dundee continued to strengthen its position as Scotland's favoured conference destination when it welcomed both global and home-based established experts, graduate students and post-doctoral researchers to the fourth Young Microbiologists Symposium 2016 on Microbe Signalling, Organisation and Pathogenesis.
The aim of the symposium was to give early career microbiologists the opportunity to present their work in a convivial environment and to interact with senior world-renowned scientists in the fields of microbiology research.
Liaising closely with the team at Dundee City Region Convention Bureau, the partnership with Molecular Bacteriology department at the University of Dundee’s School of Life Sciences to deliver the conference, began 18 months in advance of the scheduled date.
Fellow organisers were Helge Dorfmueller also from University of Dundee and Delphine Caly from the University of Lille.
This long lead time, typical of the service offered by the bureau ensured that nothing was left to chance and every base was covered by the time the delegates arrived.
Postdoctoral Research Assistant Shi-Qi An of the School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee said: "It was an absolute pleasure to work with Dundee City Region Convention Bureau. They were with us every step of the way and were very professional and supportive in their approach."
Excellent transport links, including the addition of new direct flight routes to Dundee, such as the link with Stansted which opens up 150 destinations alone, coupled with the Amsterdam route which connects Dundee to one of the world's largest hub airports means the city is even more accessible to international delegates.
Ease of connection for delegates, aligned with the high regard in which the Dundee University's School of Life Sciences is held among sister institutions worldwide are also significant factors in making Dundee the final choice for the prestigious conference.
Dundee University’s School attracted over £100 million of research income in the last three years alone and has 900 staff from over 60 countries, giving it a reputation as one of the most dynamic international centres for molecular cell biology, with outstanding laboratory and technology facilities.
That researchers and keynote speakers from UK universities including Dundee, Glasgow, Queens Belfast, and Oxford, as well as institutions in China, Singapore, America, and throughout Europe and Scandinavia also chose to send delegates is seen as a compliment to the standard of conference facilities available in the City of Discovery.
Dundee's exciting Waterfront development, soon to be anchored by the V&A, the warmth of local people and the smooth running of previous events makes Dundee a magnet for conferences. An in depth survey among delegates which looked at everything from the quality of transport links, venue facilities, accommodation, food, and social activities revealed a very high degree of satisfaction in all areas.
Provision of a free shuttle coach transfer from Edinburgh Airport, utilised by the majority of delegates was a welcome, hassle-free introduction to a city with which many were unfamiliar.
The survey showed that 84 per cent of the delegates who flew into Edinburgh went on to award a' very good' rating to the complimentary shuttle service.
The conference venue, The Apex City Quay Hotel & Spa was rated four star by the delegates for all its facilities. Situated on the quayside area of Dundee, the hotel is in the centre of the city's £1b Waterfront redevelopment.
And the delegates, the majority of whom were first time visitors to the city, were impressed with all aspects of the conference organisation before and after the two day event including the delegate ceilidh.
Beyond The Conference
Dr Shi-qi An, who helped organise some of the events is preparing an article about the conference for the influential journal Microbiology Today and is well placed to give her views on the Dundee effect.
She commented: "This was a very positive experience for everyone one who attended. I spoke to many delegates and they all appreciated not only the quality of the scientific programme but the intimate atmosphere of a small conference.
"The attendees come from so many different countries and so had little personal knowledge of Dundee but were very pleasantly surprised with the quality of the facilities on offer.
“The ceilidh was fantastic way to end the meeting in a celebratory fashion. It gave the attendees a taste of traditional Scotland and is an incredibly inclusive activity for everyone who attended given that many of the attendees would never have socialised together before.
"The team at Dundee City Region Convention Bureau were so helpful in making suggestions to improve the event but also helping in the organisation. Comparing this event to the one we organised by ourselves in 2014 this was a much improved event and highlighted a lot of the things that the area is known for.
"And as far as getting here is concerned everyone I spoke to was very impressed by the free shuttle coach service from Edinburgh Airport to the city. This was a real bonus.
"Throughout the conference I was very interested to discover that, because of the high reputation of the University of Dundee, many of the early career researchers are very keen to continue their careers in the city.
“For instance one of the participants, who gave a talk as a PhD student at the YMS2012 and is now setting up her lab, used this opportunity to advertise for positions in her new lab and made promising contacts. This bodes well for the future.
"A post- meeting survey reported that 71 per cent of the survey participants found the scientific programme ‘very good’ and 83 per cent were interested in attending a future YMS conference.”
BOX OUT QUOTES
"This conference was extremely well organised and therefore hugely enjoyable. I think all needs were catered for."
"The diversity of talks was excellent and the arranged entertainment (ceilidh) went down very well with everyone!"
"The presentations in the conference were amazing, I was really enjoying them. In addition, the ceilidh dance was gorgeous, which made us more relaxed to experience genuine Scottish culture."
"The hotel staff were extremely friendly and worked very efficiently. Everything was organised so well!"