‘Groundbreaking’ thesis outlines benefits of academic meetings

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Thomas Trøst Hansen Thomas Trøst Hansen

A 'groundbreaking' Phd study into the academic benefits of attending and hosting meetings has been published by convention bureau Wonderful Copenhagen.

From ancient history to ecology, it is estimated that around 300,000 academic events are held every year around the world, engaging millions of individual scholars.

Until now, however, very little research had been carried out into how delegates might benefit from attended these events, in terms of professional advancement.

Now a 148-page PhD dissertation – called the Impact of Academic Events - by Thomas Trøst Hansen, has identified the specific benefits that academics can reap by hosting or attending an academic event. These benefits 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 Thomas Trøst Hansen.

Yet, according to the study, few people in the academic sector have realised the potential of hosting academic events; 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.

By sharing the key findings of the PhD study, Wonderful Copenhagen 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,” says Kit Lykketoft, (above left) Director of Conventions at Wonderful Copenhagen

James Lancaster
Written By
James Lancaster

A journalist for more than 22 years, AMI editor James Lancaster is a familiar face in the meetings industry and international association community. Since joining AMI in 2010, he has gained a reputation for asking difficult questions and getting lost in convention centres. Page proofer, podcaster, and panellist - in his spare time, James likes to walk, read, listen to music, and drink beer.

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