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Amelia Philpott Sarah Pannell. Conference Organisation. Who are we? Why are we giving this talk?. 3 rd year Biochemistry DPhil students (surely we don't have time to organise a conference?). Chemistry and Biochemistry PG Seminars at Sussex started 06/07, expanded 07/08.

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Amelia philpott sarah pannell

Amelia Philpott

Sarah Pannell

Conference Organisation

Conference organisation

Who are we? Why are we giving this talk?

  • 3rd year Biochemistry DPhil students

  • (surely we don't have time to organise a conference?)

Chemistry and Biochemistry PG Seminars at Sussex started 06/07, expanded 07/08.

In Spring 08 started forming links with other local universities – Seminar Exchange.

Interest from other universities increased, so decided to bring everyone together in a symposium day.

General considerations
General Considerations

  • Audience

  • Purpose

  • Location

  • Time

Bioscience post graduate symposium
Bioscience Post Graduate Symposium

  • Aimed at Bioscience PGs in the South East of England

  • To share research, gain confidence in presenting work to a wide audience, network with people from different universities and speak to company reps about their products.

  • At Sussex University, 15th December 2008

Bpgs08 checklist
BPGS08 Checklist

  • Budget – raise money

  • Decide date and book venue

  • Publicity

  • Presenters (oral & poster)

  • Creating contacts

  • Catering

  • Registration

    • Encouraging attendance

  • Arranging day programme

  • Prizes


  • How much money have you got?

  • How many people are attending?

  • Are you feeding them?

    • Lunch from UoS catering service costs £5.25/person.

    • 100 delegates x £5.25 = £525! And that's without any coffee/biscuits.

      What other expenses might you have?

  • Travel expenses for speakers?

  • Printing of posters/flyers/programme

    Stick rigidly to costings – you can’t spend what you don’t have.


  • Where can you get funding from?

  • Companies

    • Will usually want something in return  can you offer them anything?

  • Societies

  • Department

  • University

    Accounts department (in Sussex House) can set up account codes to pay in to/take from.


  • Targeting publicity is so important

  • Posters and flyers

  • E-mail

    • Mass e-mails to students

    • Targeted e-mails to Heads of Department and Directors of Graduate Studies at other universities

  • Website (

  • Word of mouth from company reps and presenting authors

Issues we ve encountered
Issues we’ve encountered

  • Need to start with a good proposal

  • Problems with venue

  • Quotes from suppliers e.g. printers

  • Organising catering – accurate numbers etc.

  • Communication with other universities – important to create reliable contacts

  • Communication with sponsors (£!)

  • Publications and branding

Negatives of the whole experience
Negatives of the whole experience

  • Time consuming

    • Need to be disciplined about time spent

  • Will be stressful and exhausting on the day

  • Always something you won’t have thought of

    • Working as a team helps with this.

Positives of the whole experience
Positives of the whole experience

  • Encouragement from sponsors – if you don’t ask you don’t get – be ambitious!

  • Enjoyable experience (overall)

  • Looks amazing on your CV

  • Forces you to develop excellent organisational and teamwork skills


  • Good experience

  • Proved it’s possible but needed good foundations

    Sign up to attend!