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Value of knowledge at medical congress ‘close to €1bn’, report finds

The monetary value of information presented at this year’s European Congress of Radiology, in Vienna, amounted to €813m, according to a groundbreaking new report.

The total was arrived at by adding up the professional time spent compiling – and the research funding associated with – the content of 3,331 papers presented at the Feb 28-March 4 meeting, which attracted a record 28, 474 visitors.

Market research organisation Triconsult oversaw the study, which was commissioned by the European Society of Radiology (ESR) and the Vienna Convention Bureau, and is understood to be the first study of its type and on this scale.

The findings were derived from a sample of 230 congress speakers who responded to a detailed questionnaire distributed by the Vienna-based society.

Peter Baierl, executive director ESR, said: “Our mission is education. We live in a world of numbers and everyone, wherever they come from, can go with those numbers to whomever is important; the public, the industry, or our customers – the doctors.”

“We wanted to establish what value is associated with presenting scientific papers at scientific congresses”, said Christian Mutschlechner, director of the Vienna Convention Bureau.

“For the ESR congress you can expect an economic impact of 40-65 million euros when 20,000 visitors stay in Vienna for four days. But the value of the knowledge presented at the congress might range from between 500-850 million euros – ten times that of the economic impact.”

Dr. Felix Josef, CEO Triconsult, said: “The point is not that it`s 813 million euros”, he said, “the point is that we have indication that it`s a real big number – close to one billion euros”.

The report will be seized upon by meeting industry advocates.

Joint Meetings Industry Council executive director Rod Cameron said: “This is confirmation of the deeper value associated with knowledge transfer delivered from professional meetings such as the European Congress of Radiology. It confirms what we have suspected but have seldom been able to qualify with this degree of precision until Vienna and the European Society of Radiology took this initiative. This will help associations to quantify the value proposition to future members of their scientific communities. I sincerely hope that other associations and destinations collaborate to establish similar value measurement as best practise while we, as a meta industry, seek to demonstrate our contributions beyond those of business tourism alone.”