Company: Johnson Matthey
Event: UK Technology Exchange
Group Size: 100
Date: 11-14 June, 2012
Venue: Clare College, Cambridge
A leader in emission control technologies, Johnson Matthey hosts an annual four-day exchange event for its technology staff. Having used Cambridge as a venue since 1995, it returned to the university in June after a one-year break.
The event required a tiered auditorium to seat 100, with breakout rooms conducive to an ideas exchange between delegates including chemists, engineers and technology directors. Session topics were sent two weeks in advance of the event to staff as far afield as the US, Japan, Sweden, India and Korea.
Halls of residence and main dining rooms are used by students during term-time, so off-site accommodation was needed for 52 overnight guests, with parking also a challenge.
To keep costs down, delegate numbers were limited compared to previous years so creative thinking was required to open up breakout sessions to day visitors.
With accommodation costs a factor for delegates, organisers negotiated rates at local hotels, while parking spaces were secured at the university's rugby ground, with VIP spaces at the college itself. Clare College - the second oldest in Cambridge - was chosen for its purpose-built conference facility, the Gillespie Centre.
Six session topics were scheduled across the four days, with discussion-based sessions introduced at the end of each day to involve both delegates and daytrippers. The Elton-Bowring room was opened into one space for breakout sessions and a formal sit-down lunch.
Technology directors met after each session to compare notes, heading back to their destinations to collate post-event feedback from delegates, which was positive.
Conference organiser Beverley Williams says: "It was good to be in the city centre and the college provided a wonderful atmosphere - we have already rebooked for next year."