Letter From the Editor: Taking the Temperature of the Conference Industry

June 19, 2009

E-Separation Solutions

E-Separation Solutions-06-23-2009, Volume 0, Issue 0

As we move into the dog days of summer, the field of chromatography moves into one of its busiest times of the year, with a series of conferences and symposia on the way.

As we move into the dog days of summer, the field of chromatography moves into one of its busiest times of the year, with a series of conferences and symposia on the way. Events such as HPLC 2009 later this month, PREP 2009 and the Rocky Mountain Conference in July, and the ACS Summer Meeting in August have each become industry staples over the years, and are now regular stops for most of the separations community. So it is no great revelation then, to consider that this summer will go a long way toward determining whether or not the conference industry is truly declining or if the power and draw of face-to-face meetings with colleagues and industry experts is stronger than many have speculated.

If the recent ASMS Conference can be considered any kind of a barometer, then these upcoming events can expect to do quite well in spite of current economic conditions and what many feel is a trend away from live events. Held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from May 31–June 4, attendance was healthy and no noticeable drop-off was felt, as the mere presence of so many conference-goers made a firm statement that important and relevant events will continue to see robust attendance, even in these days of reduced budgets and virtual conferences. However, it will be interesting to see just how much of a factor the central location of ASMS played this year, as the dense population of scientists and vendors in the northeast may have contributed to the attendance numbers, making for an easy and more affordable trip for many. With the aforementioned upcoming events taking place in locations such as Germany and Colorado, we will have to wait and see how well the separations community travels for the remainder of 2009.

In the end, it would seem premature to count out the conference industry, as face-to-face events still provide unique and valuable opportunities to network and do business, as proven by the attendance at not only this year’s ASMS, but at Pittcon 2009 as well. So the prediction here is that these events will do just fine and should continue to see good attendance. However, it will certainly be interesting to see exactly how the summer and fall conference season unfolds.