The event was the 12th Conference on Fast Field Cycling NMR Relaxometry. It’s an international conference that’s held every 2 years and has been all over Western Europe (mostly in Italy). There were 65 attendees at this years’ conference.
The original event was postponed due to the pandemic and this is the first event we have held since restrictions ended. It was mostly an in-person event with a Zoom backup for last minute dropouts.
What are the main criteria in choosing a venue? Was it important to choose an academic venue?
Being one of the Cambridge Colleges was actually quite important in order to integrate the University feel and reputation into our meeting. This is an academic conference and the reputation of the University is a strong draw for many of the attendees. Holding the event in a college allowed us to naturally weave the University into our event and give people more of an insight into what being at Cambridge is like. After that, getting the right size of lecture theatre and modern facilities.
Space became more of a priority as people ease back into events post pandemic. Murray Edwards College was a great size for us as the lecture theatres felt busy without being cramped. The outdoor space also blends really well with the indoor space, so it was roomy throughout.
Did the facilities and services at Murray Edwards contribute to your event success?
Yes. The lecture theatres are modern and comfortable. Liam was able to get us quickly set up with all of the AV equipment we needed so that we could run a hybrid meeting – the people on Zoom could even hear audience questions, which never normally happens! The catering staff were also fab, and the quality of the food was generally excellent.
How does Murray Edwards College your event criteria and any specific challenges?
Murray Edwards was fantastic. Hit the Cambridge College angle, with the nice addition of being a college founded to address the gender imbalance within the university – a problem that’s still prevalent in our heavily physics dominated field. Good space, high-tech facilities and very helpful staff.
The event went very well. I’m still receiving compliments about how well organised the event is and some of that credit goes to Murray Edwards. Every time I interacted with Murray Edwards things were made simple, from the AV being faultless to the Porters booking taxis and providing spare COVID masks without hesitation.
Louise was on top of all of the details throughout and willing to help me and the guests with all of the last minute details or changes.She dealt with countless requests and really did seem to put the individual first. She had a complete understanding of the event on the day and had organised every detail. I was very impressed with her work.
Liam was also fab. He set up the AV quickly and reliable and kept popping back to check if everything was ok. To his credit, he’d set it up so well that we didn’t really need him much after the first session! He did still pop in to set us up in the mornings and a few times to check we were all ok.
In your view, what makes Murray Edwards College different from other venues?
Murray Edwards differentiated itself on a price-quality balance for me. It offered excellent services and modern facilities at a very reasonable price. If I’m honest, that is what drew me in the first place.
The Future: In terms of AV, do you envisage your requirements changing to offer in-person and hybrid events? What equipment or services will you need?
ME was set up pretty well for a hybrid conference event. I feel that (for a conference) if the organisers wanted to integrate the online and in-person attendees more fully then the onus should be on the organisers to purchase better software rather than ME to provide any additional hardware.