What's the Value of Conferences?

FEATUREScientific Meetings   What's the Value of Conferences? A Keystone Symposia survey says: $20-30 million in research fund savingsBY JAMES W. AIKENThe long reach of Bill Gates finally touched the Keystone Symposia, and all of conference planning, really. I was writing a grant proposal for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and came to an interesting stipulation: We had to show measured value for our program. Another routine survey

James W. Aiken
Apr 30, 2006
FEATURE
Scientific Meetings
 

What's the Value of Conferences?

A Keystone Symposia survey says: $20-30 million in research fund savings

The long reach of Bill Gates finally touched the Keystone Symposia, and all of conference planning, really. I was writing a grant proposal for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and came to an interesting stipulation: We had to show measured value for our program. Another routine survey where respondents write in what they liked and didn't like about our meetings clearly wouldn't do. I had to propose a method for quantitative assessment of the impact of our conferences. Our stated goals are to connect the scientific community for the benefit of society as well as catalyze scientific progress by having the highest quality programs - all well and good, but how to measure this?

© ERIK DREYER/GETTY IMAGES

To answer the question, we put together a survey that was...