MEET in LEEDS takes action with the University of Leeds’ digital transformation

MEETinLEEDS, the conference and events facilities team from the University of Leeds, is making strides towards a digital transformation in a post-Covid world, in support of the university’s overarching, long-term strategy.

In taking steps to harness the potential of digital technologies, data and digital approaches to professional development, support and guidance, across campus facilities and operational activities alike, both MEETinLEEDS and the University of Leeds will be able to achieve sustainability targets, whilst also better meeting the needs of conference organisers and delegates, following the behavioural shift over the course of the pandemic.

Foto: University of Leeds

As part of this new initiative, the conference and events team will begin by supporting all employees with the tools to work effectively through hybrid resources. Its sustainability credentials will also be enhanced through new digitised and automated processes, and reduced paper use and manual processes, which will also improve the University’s overall effectiveness.

As part of its shift towards a digitally-advanced workplace, the University of Leeds campus will also see a physical transformation, which will enable meeting, education and social, informal spaces to enable multi-mode use, providing for both physical and remote communication.

Whilst improvements will be made to increase the University of Leeds’ capabilities to conduct high-quality, collaborative and globally impactful challenge-based research and innovation, hybrid and virtual events are nothing new for the conference and events team. MEETinLEEDS has already contributed to the success of virtual events including the Association for Radiation Research Conference, the European Financial Management Association conference and the world’s largest medieval event, the International Medieval Congress, as well as hybrid programmes such as the The Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology’s Astbury Retreat and the National Committee of Crystallography’s Bragg Lecture.

On the virtual event experience, Professor Phil Holmes, Chair of Financial Risk Management at the University of Leeds Business School, said: “The European Financial Management Association (EFMA) conference has been a great success, and that is due in no small part to the efforts and digital skills and facilities of MEETinLEEDS. Despite not being able to host a physical, in-person event, the team has shown determination and commitment in ensuring that the conference ran smoothly, with a large portion of that emphasis placed on the digital elements.”

Dr. Stephen Muench from the University of Leeds’ School of Biomedical Sciences and organiser of this year’s inaugural hybrid Astbury Retreat, added: “With support from MEETinLEEDS, the Astbury Centre was able to successfully hold its first ever hybrid Astbury Retreat in the Conference Auditorium over two mornings in September. The technical support MEETinLEEDS provided and the guidance on making use of the in-situ AV equipment and Zoom greatly facilitated a successful hybrid event. Attendees were able to watch and engage with presenters from inside the venue or elsewhere. During the recovery from Covid we are pleased to offer our members the choice of attending in person or online as preferences and schedules permit and we received positive feedback from the attendees.”

Harriet Boatwright, Sales and Marketing Manager at MEETinLEEDS, concluded: “As part of the University of Leeds, we take great pride in ensuring that our work reflects the institution’s wider strategy, in order to take a collaborative approach in achieving those goals. Whilst we already had experience in virtual and hybrid events, their importance has really been brought to the fore throughout the pandemic, and we’re so pleased that we’ve been able to use technology to add extra value to our conference programme. We look forward to working towards our new digital transformation, as we see the industry continue to develop in a post-Covid landscape.”

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