New board

EICC panel to drive role of academia in economy

Edinburgh University Medical School
Academia helps drive growth (pic: Terry Murden)

An initiative to showcase the role of academia in growing the economy has been launched by the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.

It has created an academic advisory board, named the Exchange Initiative, which will drive international association conference business and innovative research coming out of Scottish universities.  

The initiative aims to promote and encourage the vital role that senior academics play in attracting international association conferences, which translate to tens of millions in economic impact for the city and region every year, while the collaboration is also set to increase the international standing of the university sector and leading academics.

Elaine Miller, a business development manager at the EICC, said: “Associations conferences help position our universities, the EICC, and Edinburgh on a global stage, whilst showcasing the leading research coming out of our universities.  

“There are also significant long-term benefits in attracting these large-scale events, as the collaboration, knowledge exchange, and relationship building that takes place at conferences helps to inform change and creates lasting impact.  

“The EICC and Exchange Initiative group recognise these benefits and want to ensure there is more engagement with policymakers, industry bodies, Scottish Government agencies, and other academic research institutions.” 

The primary sectors being targeted by the EICC in collaboration with the Exchange Initiative are: Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Engineering, IT, and Energy.   

Gary Hutchison, Dean of Applied Sciences at Edinburgh Napier University, and chair of the Exchange Initiative, said: “The academic advisory board gives us a structure, with a clear set of objectives, and platform to go out and identify even more opportunities for the EICC, the university sector, and the city itself.  

“We build from an already strong base, and it’s an initiative we are all very excited about because we know the impact knowledge exchange will have on helping raise the bar for Edinburgh, and the economic and social impact that will result.” 

Marshall Dallas, EICC CEO, said: “The EICC has a longstanding history of collaborating with the university sector, the academic advisory board formalises this collaboration, and it’s an initiative that has been in the workings for a number of years. 

“Overall, we are confident the Exchange Initiative will deliver a step up in the association business we attract to the EICC, an initiative that squares well with our mission to create an environment to inspire ideas that change the world.” 

An online portal is set to be launched by the EICC and Exchange Initiative during the first quarter of 2023, a website that will provide a resource and marketing tool to support ongoing bids for international association conferences.  

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