30th European Conference on Operational Research 2019
Chair of the EURO 2019 Organising Committee
Cathal MacSwiney Brugha
President of the Analytics Society of Ireland
Dr Sarah Fores
Manager of EURO
30th European Conference on Operational Research 2019
23-26th June 2019
University College Dublin (UCD)
(3.5 days) Welcome reception and council meetings on Sunday with 3 days conference.
Our objective was to bring the world’s leading conference in operational research to Dublin. We wanted the 30th European Conference on Operational Research to bring OR academics and practitioners together so they could keep up with developments in their own special fields of interest and to learn about new techniques and applications in other areas of OR. The clients wanted the conference to be the best EURO conference yet. It was our aim to showcase Ireland’s culture and hospitality and ensure that the conference ran smoothly and efficiently.
At Abbey we also wanted the EURO 2019 conference in Dublin to be the best to date. The chosen venue was University College Dublin (UCD). UCD is one of Europe's leading research-intensive universities and the perfect venue in Dublin for the EURO 2019 conference. In preparation for the EURO 2019 conference we attended the 2018 conference in Valencia as exhibitors promoting EURO 2019 in Dublin. We observed the operational elements of the conference, what worked and what processes could be improved or adapted to better suit the 2019 conference venue. We attended a wash-up meeting with the 2018 organisers and discussed the challenges and learnings that they experienced organising the 2018 conference. The wash up meeting and having the opportunity to attend a EURO conference was very beneficial to us. The EURO conference is a large and complex conference to organise with over 2000 speaking slots across the 3 days in up to 60 parallel sessions. Over the 2 years organising the conference Abbey met regularly with the local committee and had very regular contact with the EURO manager Sarah Fores, the EURO IT manager Bernard Fortz and the EURO 2019 Programme Committee Chair, Luís Gouveia.
One of the challenges that Abbey experienced was the linking of the EURO member system to our registration system Events Air. This required a two way feed of information between the systems. The information needed to update instantly or very regularly in both systems. We set up meetings between the EURO and Events Air technical administrators to connect the systems through an API link and we regularly cross referenced the data between the systems to ensure the data was transferring correctly.
Another challenge for the EURO 2019 conference was the movement and flow of delegates around a large campus. We had more than 2400 delegates on campus. We were using 6 buildings spread across campus, with roughly 12 mins walk between the two furthest buildings O’Reilly hall and the Sutherland school of law. We had 51 rooms in session at any one time with roughly 200 speakers presenting during each 1.5 hour session. Clear signage was key. We needed to guide delegates from outside the campus in and around the campus.
We used a mixture portable sandwich board signs and lamppost signs throughout the campus. At 12 key junctions throughout the campus we used large free standing signage structures that each displayed directional information to all buildings and a campus map with a pin point indicating “you are here” so delegates could regularly orientate themselves on campus. We also had volunteers wearing bright green t-shirts on the grounds of the campus guiding and assisting delegates around the campus. In the reception area of each building we had an information desk with two staff members on hand to assist with all delegates queries.
On our campus maps we allocated a colour to each building and we supplied all delegates with a 4 page fold out schedule which was also colour coded to match the buildings on the campus map. It was therefore clear to delegates as they moved through the sessions, when they needed to change building and which building they needed to look for on the map. On the door of every room in use was the schedule of speakers presenting in the room during the session. These schedules were updated after every session.
Non-standard Procedures/Methods used: One of Abbeys aims for the EURO 2019 conference was to reduce the time delegates spent queuing for registration and to improve the registration process. For the first time at a EURO conference the 2019 delegates registered using a self-service badge printing kiosks. Delegates received a QR code in their final confirmation email and were requested to present this QR code at registration. Delegates could scan the QR code or type their last name into the kiosk to source their registration and print their name badge. Staff were on hand at each kiosk to support delegates. This greatly reduced the time spent by delegates queuing for registration as staff could process registrations much quicker than if they were searching through 2400 pre-printed name badges for each delegate’s badge.
The EURO 2019 conference attracted 2430 delegates from 6 continents and 66 countries. Over 1700 of these delegates registered in the month of March. The conference received 2562 abstracts and 2020 of the submitted abstracts were accepted. Nearly 35% of the 2020 oral presenters live and work beyond Europe’s borders. The programme also featured three scientifically renowned plenary speakers, including the IFORS distinguished lecturer, as well as 12 tutorial speakers presenting on a wide range of fascinating topics.
The excellent initiatives introduced in previous conferences continued for EURO 2019 such as the Women in OR event and the “Practice of OR (Making an Impact)” stream. A new event, namely a panel on "How can better governance save the world with the help of OR?", also featured.
Eibhlin Colgan from Guinness Storehouse joined the conference to speak on “Moving grain and beer at the Guinness St. James’s Gate Brewery”. Since its foundation in 1759 Guinness have been at forefront of operational excellence. Guinness have been involved in operational research, sourcing materials, brewing beer, and the logistics of delivering to pubs in over 40 countries around the world.
Over the conference days Abbey sold almost 1800 room nights across Dublin. Thousands more were sold directly to delegates on booking sites like booking.com. There were 5 sponsors and 6 exhibitors at the conference.
In addition to the scientific programme delegates enjoyed an exciting social programme including a welcome party, president’s dinner, gala dinner and closing party. The Welcome party took place in the University College Dublin in O’ Reilly Hall and O’ Brien Centre for Science after the opening ceremony Sunday 23rd June 2019. The musicians that played during the opening ceremony with the Irish dancers played in the conservatory of O’Reilly Hall during the Welcome Party. Canapes, Beef and Guinness stew and drinks were served to delegates from 19.00 to 21.00. Roughly 1800 delegates attended the reception. Attendance was complimentary.
The Presidents dinner took place in Corrigan Hall in No. 6 Kildare Street in the Royal College of Physicians on Monday 24th June 2019 at 8.00pm. 80 invited guests attended and were served a drink on arrival followed by a 3 course meal with wine. A coach was booked to transport guests from UCD and the Radisson Blu St Helens to No. 6 Kildare Street.
The Gala Dinner was held in Aviva Stadium on Tuesday 25th June 2019. Tickets were available for purchase prior to the conference on the registration system at €80 per ticket. A complimentary bus transfer was available to delegates from four locations to Aviva Stadium. Guests were piped into the venue by an Irish Uilleann pipe player. A drinks reception took place in the Atrium area overlooking the Aviva Stadium pitch before guests were called to dinner at 20.00 and a three course dinner and wine was served. A ceilidh band performed during the courses and after dinner.
The Closing party took place in the University College Dublin after the closing session Wednesday 26th June 2019 in O’ Reilly Hall. Fish and Chips and mini burgers were served with drinks to delegates from 18.00 to 20.00 Around 800 delegates attended the reception. Attendance was complimentary.
In conjunction with the conference over a dozen private committee and council meetings took place in the newly built University Club. The University club is an extension of O’Reilly Hall. Many of these meetings required a white tablecloth service of 3 course meals with alcohol for up to 70 people.
What our client said: Seán McGarraghy, Chair of the EURO 2019 Organising Committee, Cathal MacSwiney Brugha, President of the Analytics Society of Ireland, Luís Gouveia, Programme Committee Chair EURO 2019.
“It is with great pleasure that I welcome EURO delegates to Dublin's fair city and to EURO 2019. The idea of EURO was first proposed at the 1972 IFORS conference in Dublin so - in a sense - EURO is coming home. I hope that this conference will be exciting to you, and provide an opportunity for exchange of ideas on all topics in Operational Research and Analytics.”
“The Analytics Society of Ireland, originally the Operations Research Society of Ireland, was founded in 1964, and in 1972 hosted one of the first IFORS conferences in Dublin. At this conference the decision to set up EURO was taken, the Association of European Operational Research Societies. Ever since then we have hoped to bring EURO to Dublin, and are delighted to do so now.”
“Conferences such as EURO 2019 bring together a rich variety of talented individuals working in a wide range of areas to share their progress and findings. With over 2400 registered participants presenting over 2000 abstracts selected from over 2500 submissions, EURO 2019 promises to be a diverse, interesting and rewarding event. Both Ireland and the Celtic heritage make Dublin an excellent and charismatic place to bring the conference participants together. The dedicated and professional organisation team, the beautiful University College Dublin and city of Dublin will all offer wonderful hospitality and a great atmosphere.”
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In June 2019 EURO - the Association of European Operational Research Societies - very successfully hosted its 30th conference in Dublin, Ireland. It is clear that Abbey played a major role in its success. The knowledge and experience of everyone within the group was invaluable to the local organisers, the scientific committee and the Association.
From the outset, at the bid phase, Abbey group showed great professionalism and flexibility which gave us confidence in their ability to deal with all aspects of running a conference with over 2,000 participants. Working in very close collaboration with the local organisers who were based in the university conference venue they made suggestions and operationalised many practical solutions within a closely managed budget.
During the conference itself it was impossible to miss the happy, smiling, helpful Abbey staff as they smoothly supported a very large number of grateful delegates. It is important to mention specifically the two managers of Abbey who were our main contacts throughout; Anja Fischer and Gráinne McQuaid were exceptional in keeping us focused and calm whilst ensuring that the conference with a EURO format went beyond expectations.
I would not hesitate in working again with Abbey and recommending them to any other event organisers.
Dr Sarah Fores
Manager of EURO