Submitting a Congress Hosting Bid - check list


1.      The first requirement is that there should be strong local divisional support for the invitation. The hosting division should be a flourishing organization with some financial reserves.

a.   The division should select a capable potential President of the Congress and a capable back up person who could take over in case illness or other unforeseen events make the provisional President unavailable. The provisional president should oversee the preparation of the invitation and should be in charge of the presentation.

2.      There should be sufficient, competent, enthusiastic, supporting, local IAP members available to man the scientific program and other special congress subcommittees such as hospitality.

3.      The venue. A suitable venue must be available for the time of the Congress (usually September or October). The venue should include one large lecture or conference room capable of seating the maximum expected number of delegates and accompanying persons (between 1200 to 2000, depending on the location of the hosting division), and between eight to ten other "break out" rooms of varying sizes for the concurrent sessions. Tiered seating is an advantage, particularly in the large auditorium. Excellent audio-visual facilities are essential. The smallest "break out" rooms for the concurrent sessions should seat about 80. It is preferable if one of the "breakout rooms" can hold about 500 and another about 200. The venue should also have a suitable registration area, a slide preview room, a microscope room with power outlets for about 60 microscopes, a secretariat office with phone, fax, e-mail and computer facilities at the conference venue, a hospitality room, a press conference room, meeting rooms with tables and chairs, including a room suitable for the executive meeting (approximately 25 people) and a venue for the Council meeting (up to 100 people), a large open area with power outlets for the trade exhibits which should be located near the rooms where the scientific sessions are held and where the morning and afternoon coffee is to be served. In the past, several different kinds of venues have been used successfully, including specially designed convention centers, hotels and universities. As long as it will work, it will be acceptable.

4.      Appropriate accommodations for up to 2,000 registrants must be available. It is important to have a range of accommodation from five-star hotels down to cheap hostel type accommodation. Accommodation should be within easy walking distance (no more than 10 minutes) of the venue. Alternatively, conference buses or reliable, frequent and safe public transport should be available. The travelling time from the accommodations to the venue should be no more than 10 minutes.

5.      Security and personal safety are always important considerations.

6.      Entertainment, cultural aspects and tours. The venue should be situated in an area where there is plenty of scope for tours and evening entertainment.

7.      International transport. The conference venue should have easy access to an international airport.

8.      Visas. There should be no restrictions on visas. Registrants from any Country must be able to obtain a visa. In the past, one conference venue had to be changed because there were visa restrictions based on Country of origin of the registrants.

9.      Communications. There must be an efficient, reliable telephone system with fax and e-mail facilities manned by the Congress Secretariat during office hours for the months after the distribution of the final announcement. The Secretariat must be fluent in written and spoken English. The organizer should aim an inquiry turn around time of less than 24 hours. Responses should preferably be by e-mail, phone or fax. Postal communication is usually too slow.

10.   Printing. A local, professional, efficient, printer with a high quality printing press should be available. There is a considerable amount of printing to be done (conference handouts, long courses, lists of registrants, preliminary and final meeting announcements, etc). Deadlines for these are always tight and time is of the essence. The printer must be experienced, reliable and able to handle and roughly proof read English text. The transport time from the printer to the Secretariat must be short.

11.   Support by local tourism organizations. This has become an important aspect of many invitations. The supporting tourism organization usually gives helpful free advice and often prepares free special brochures about the venue.

12.   A Local Professional Congress Organizer. The Academy has always insisted on having a suitable Local Professional Congress Organizer to handle the congress administration. Usually, the Congress Organizer has been a member of one of the recognized international associations of conference organizers.

13.   Costs. A draft budget should be prepared with the invitation. The registration fee should at least be comparable to those for the previous conference, bearing in mind that the Congress is too expensive for most of our thousands of members to attend. Anything that reduces the costs is likely to increase the number of registrations. Every member attending the congress must pay the registration fee. Registrants are of course free to obtain reimbursement from their own Institutions. It is impossible for organizers to prepare a sound budget, which has registration fees as almost the only source of income, if numbers of registrants are exempted from paying the registration fee.

All these points should be considered and addressed by the hosting division before an invitation is presented at the International Executive and Council meetings.