We spoke with Dr. Schneider, Chair of the 23rd ESACT meeting at Lille Grand Palais, to hear his feedback on the event.
Academia meets industry
Participating in ESACT meetings for over 20 years, Dr. Schneider explains that much of the society’s focus centres on animal cell engineering and stem cell research; and that ESACT is unique because it gathers two distinctly different audiences: research scientists, and companies focused on application. Several large equipment providers, such as GE Healthcare and Thermo Scientific, were present and greatly appreciated the direct contact with scientists.
The perfect synthesis
When Dr Schneider, as chair of the 23rd meeting, was tasked with finding a venue, he knew straight away that he wanted to host it at Lille Grand Palais because he had coincidentally just given a presentation for another meeting there, was very much impressed by all aspects of the facilities, and understood that they would enable integration of the two distinctly different groups. “Lille Grand Palais was very well suited to what we wanted, the auditorium was very nice…even the seats were very comfortable. It was fantastic that all 1,000 delegates could eat together”. Dr Schneider also mentions how pleased he was with the exhibition area, both for its proximity to the auditorium and meeting rooms, and for its vast size, which enabled meeting synthesis. ”The exhibition area was also perfect; people were very enthusiastic about mixing the commercial exhibition and the poster… we always try to do that for the ESACT meetings but it’s not always possible, and for me this was a big advantage.”
The world comes to Lille
Over 1,000 delegates from all corners of the world came to the meeting, with representatives from North and South America, Asia, Australia, Africa, and of course, Europe. Dr Schneider adds that compared to past ESACT meetings in other cities, the 23rd ESACT meeting had an excellent turnout. “The location of Lille was perfect for such an international audience because of the airport access from Paris, London and Brussels; and it’s easy to access by TGV”.
Warm staff welcome
Besides the ideal facilities and perfect location, Dr Schneider was also impressed by the warm reception he received from the staff at Lille Grand Palais, starting from his very first inquiry. He experienced the entire Lille Grand Palais team to be responsive to all his needs and “were very pleasant to work with”. Additionally, he found the cooperation between Lille Grand Palais and the PCO (Professional Conference Organisers), who handled logistical details such as registration and excursions, to be seamless. Dr Schneider concludes with how much he appreciated the staff support: ”I am working more than full time at my institution, I have no time for this job (to organise the event); the staff and the structure of Lille Grand Palais were very helpful”.