Playing the long game – the true power of conferences

29 November 2017

The question is often asked: what is the benefit of conferences?

The real answer to that question often only emerges years after the events have taken place, when ideas presented and connections made later lead to breakthroughs that save lives, change society or redefine best practice and policy.

A new book launched today explores the long-term impacts of conferences through the stories of 10 prominent Australians who are synonymous with such breakthroughs.

Business Events Sydney (BESydney) and the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) have once again joined forces to undertake this groundbreaking research, which demonstrates the vital role that conferences have played in some of the most significant global discoveries of the last 50 years.

Lyn Lewis-Smith, CEO of BESydney, said that the stories demonstrate exactly how important conferences are: “These stories show why it’s vital to take the long view when thinking about conferences, and the impact they have. All the individuals in this book have helped to change the face of health, science and society, and each one has used conferences in some way to do that.”

‘The Power of Conferences: stories of serendipity, innovation and driving social change’ includes stories from Nobel Laureates Barry Marshall AC and Brian Schmidt AC, as well as a host of other Australian luminaries.

Professor Ian Frazer AC talks about the role conferences played in his discovery of the HPV vaccine, which is saving millions of women from HPV-related cancer – and may eradicate it within a generation.

For the father of photovoltaics, Scientia Professor Martin Green AM, conferences played an integral part in helping him and his team ‘outpace’ NASA and COMSAT in the global race to create a solar cell with 20% efficiency – and more recently go on to achieve an unequalled efficiency level of 40%.

While Professor Tom Calma AO and The Hon. Linda Burney MP describe how conferences have been instrumental in transforming educational opportunities and outcomes for indigenous children and young people in Australia.

The book was authored by international experts in the value of business events, Associate Professor Deborah Edwards and Associate Professor Carmel Foley, together with award-winning writer Cheryl Malone. “These stories show that through a meeting of minds, networks and friendships, discoveries occur which ultimately lead to significant benefits for society. We hope that readers are as inspired reading them as we were writing them,” said Associate Professor Edwards.

The Power of Conferences is available for download now from the UTS ePress website.


 

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