Hg3 Conferences was appointed to manage the four-day conference. The company also manages the association's membership. President of the BCA, Lee Brammer, was keen to see high levels of engagement and input at this year's event. "The main objectives were to create an opportunity for researchers of all academic positions to network and discuss their work, so an action-packed programme was key," explains programme chair John Helliwell. A young crystallographer’s satellite meeting was held prior to the main conference to encourage students and junior researchers to register.
The main challenge was finding a venue with the right capacity to accommodate a dynamic programme and a full exhibition space. This year's event included an expanded parallel skills workshops with speakers from different research areas showcasing the pioneering scientific equipment available. The commercial exhibition was larger, too, with 20 exhibitors booking stands for the duration of the conference.
"With such a demanding programme and a large number of exhibitors, it was challenging to find a venue that could cater for the BCA’s requirements," says Nicola Peel, managing director of Hg3 Conferences.
Both Hg3 and the BCA were impressed with the facilities at the University of York. "It is rare to find a university campus that can cater for a residential conference on-site, and with the meeting and social spaces conveniently clustered together," says Peel.
The large, open layout of the venue meant exhibitors could be positioned at the heart of the conference, offering a great space for networking. "The exhibitors and sponsors are an integral part of the conference, so being able to place them right in among the delegates was brilliant. We received great feedback from the exhibitors, and they appreciated the venue’s capacity as it induced easy interactions with the delegates," adds Peel.
"The conference was an excellent meeting of crystallographers nationwide and internationally. Yorkshire was recently voted in the top-three 'must visit' places in the world, and it was great to bring the conference to the region," says Helliwell.
"Delegates were spoilt for choice with the scientific programme and workshops available, and the evaluation forms included very positive comments about the venue, especially the impressive standard of catering."
COMPANY: British Crystallographic Association (BCA)
EVENT: BCA Spring Meeting 2015
GROUP SIZE: 240
AGENCY: Hg3 Conferences
DATE: 30 March – 2 April, 2015
VENUE: University of York
• For more breaking news and in-depth features, as well as case studies, sign up to C&IT Magazine's daily Newstracker here