Academics seize opportunity to put Wellington research on the world stage

Wellington is tapping the knowledge of its top academics in a bid to bring the world’s leading conferences to the city.

An event on the benefits of hosting international conferences was held at Victoria University of Wellington in February. Hosted by Professor Wendy Larner, Provost of Victoria University of Wellington, Tourism New Zealand and Business Events Wellington, it attracted 25 of the university’s academics interested in bringing conferences to the city.

It has already resulted in seven applications to Tourism New Zealand’s Conference Assistance Programme, with the intention of bidding for international conferences in Sign Language, Chemistry, Biological Sciences, Virtual Reality and Information Systems.

There was also potential interest in bidding for other international events in Physics and Psychology.

“Hosting an international conference delivers a range of benefits beyond the contributions their visitors provide to the local economy,” said Tourism New Zealand’s Global Business Events Manager, Anna Fennessy.

“They confirm our universities as centres of excellence in their field. They bring the world’s leading experts to New Zealand to share their knowledge, and they are an opportunity to showcase New Zealand expertise on the global stage.”

Associate Professor Bing Xue from Victoria University of Wellington’s School of Engineering and Computer Science spoke about her positive experience of bidding to host the 2019 IEEE International Conference on Evolutionary Computation. She had initially expected 400 delegates but following support the conference had already received around 800 registrations.