© WienTourismus/Christian Stemper

Radiology congress: EUR 800m invested in knowledge transfer

The Annual European Congress of Radiology at the Austria Center Vienna is one of the largest medical conferences in the world: held from Feb 28-Mar 4, 2018, it attracted more than 28,000 radiology experts – approximately 20,000 participated in person with the remainder following proceedings online. The ESR and VCB invited about 14,000 participants to take part in a survey focusing on sustainability and the monetary value of knowledge transfer at this large-scale congress. Around 10% of participants who attended the congress in person completed the comprehensive survey, which was developed in partnership with market researcher specialists Triconsult. The final figures were extrapolated from the attendees' responses: using this method, the value of investment in knowledge transfer at the 2018 European Congress of Radiology was calculated at around EUR 800 million.

The total is based on the number of working hours put into preparing the 3,331 presentations and publications featured at the congress, as well as additional funds from third-party financing – the actual time spent on conducting the underlying research is of course not included in this calculation. A new method known as The Vienna Model was used for the analysis. It was co-developed by the Vienna Convention Bureau and the European Society of Radiology with consultant and Vienna University of Economics and Business lecturer Martina Stoff-Hochreiner. The study also brought information to light regarding congress participant demographics and delegates' reasons for attending the event.

The meetings industry: more than tourism

Christian Mutschlechner, head of the Vienna Convention Bureau explained: "The European Congress of Radiology has been loyal to Vienna every year since 2000. Thanks to the current survey conducted among its participants, we are now, for the first time, in a position to come up with a definitive number that confirms the enormous value of scientific exchange at the congress – and to draw valuable conclusions regarding the overall monetary significance of academic exchange at conferences."

ESR Executive Director Peter Baierl commented: "Our mission is education. We live in a world of numbers and the present study provides a valuable source of information in many respects – for communicating with the public, industry and our customers, the doctors."

JMIC Director Rod Cameron added: "The survey shows very clearly that the value of the meetings industry goes far beyond tourism alone. I hope that other organizations follow the European Congress of Radiology's lead and conduct similar studies. It is not just a way for them to quantify their own value and use this when reaching out to prospective members, it also represents an opportunity to gather further best-practice examples for use as industry benchmarks."

Knowledge transfer between research, politics and science

The medical science of radiology is becoming increasingly important as the range of treatment applications continues to grow. Monika Hierath, Director of the European Institute of BioMedical Research explained: "Radiology is not only essential for diagnosing diseases, it is also playing an increasing role in the overall recovery process – from determining treatment methods to monitoring and evaluating progress." In addition to researchers and industry representatives, the annual radiology congress attracts decision makers from important institutions such as the European Commission, the International Atomic Energy Agency and the World Health Organization. This promotes fruitful knowledge transfer, not just within the research community, but beyond it to clinical practice and policymaking.

Any associations or destinations with an interest in conducting similar studies based on The Vienna Model can contact Christian Mutschlechner, Head of the Vienna Tourist Board's Vienna Convention Bureau, for further information by e-mail () or telephone (+43-1-211 14-500).

Download: 'Sustainability of scientific congresses based on ECR 2018'

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