It has been one month since the beginning of the 16th edition of EUCAS, the European Conference on Applied Superconductivity, held at the Bologna Congress Center from September 3-7, 2023. Thirty years after the first edition took place, the international conference has become a landmark global event for sharing knowledge and cutting-edge progress in all areas of Applied Superconductivity, from materials and conductors to large-scale applications for medicine, research and energy transition, as well as electronics and quantum computing.
Consistent with previous events' trend, EUCAS encouraged discussion and information sharing through a diverse scientific program, in addition to providing enjoyable networking experiences with social events. The event also involved parts of Bologna Fiere for conference functions and DumBO, our partner, for an elegant social dinner. More than 1,000 professionals from around the world came to Bologna in order to exchange insights on the topic.
Thanks to the event, Antonio Morandi and Marco Breschi, Associate Professors of Electrotechnics at Alma Mater Studiorum - University of Bologna and members of the Board of the European Society for Applied Superconductivity (ESAS), earned the title of Bologna Ambassador 2023. Fondazione Alma Mater, the University's in-house foundation that assists it in planning and managing activities, provided organizational support.
Weeks after EUCAS, we asked Fabio Pizzimenti from Fondazione Alma Mater and the two Ambassadors awarded for feedback, so as to draw some conclusions about EUCAS and congressmen's opinion of our Bologna.
- As soon as the event was over, what was your overall consideration like?
Prof. Antonio Morandi and Prof. Marco Breschi: Extremely positive. During the conference we personally witnessed the very positive atmosphere in which the sessions took place. There was a noticeable atmosphere of collaboration and exchange that was facilitated not only by the first-rate scientific program, but also by the very effective set-ups put in place at the Congress venue and at the social events, specially designed to reinforce this climate. All of this was confirmed by the numerous enthusiastic feedback we received in the days that followed from colleagues from all over the world. This was the result of a team effort that involved so many players, including the SAS company for the financial management of the event, Fondazione Alma Mater, the Bologna Congress Center as local service provider, the city of Bologna as the beautiful setting and us as scientific organizers.
- Why was Bologna specifically chosen for EUCAS 2023?
Prof. Antonio Morandi and Prof. Marco Breschi: The assignment of the conference to a given destination responds to several criteria, including the scientific profile of the applicants and the ability to develop a plausible proposal in terms of transportation, accommodation, conference venues and activities. Our application, jointly designed by the University of Bologna and Fondazione Alma Mater, was received very positively in all aspects by the scientific society in charge of the selection, ESAS.
- What was the feedback from the congressmen on the city of Bologna as a destination?
Prof. Antonio Morandi and Prof. Marco Breschi: It was enthusiastic. As already anticipated, we received numerous statements of endearment and appreciation. Adjectives such as excellent, memorable, and fabulous were really frequent. We quote one that well summarizes the opinions we were able to receive during their stay in town: "just to say what a really fabulous conference it has been. I want to congratulate you on how extremely well it all worked. Of course it helps to have one of Europe's great medieval cities as the surroundings".
- Did the venues and services provided live up to expectations?
Prof. Antonio Morandi, Prof. Marco Breschi and Fabio Pizzimenti: We answer this question by putting ourselves in the shoes of attendees of past editions that were held in other European venues. The conference spaces and services offered were excellent and were the pillars on which the success of the conference was built. The Bologna Congress Center and its set-up provided an ideal location for the enjoyment of the scientific program and for the development of indispensable personal relationships among colleagues, including not exclusively scientific ones. The social dinner held at DumBO with the subsequent concert was the icing on the cake.
- In what was the city lacking?
Fabio Pizzimenti: Probably the public transportation service, which could be better and in advance coordinated for events of this size and international resonance.
- How was the Convention Bureau helpful in organizing the event? Did you receive any kind of support from city institutions?
Fabio Pizzimenti: The collaboration established between Fondazione Alma Mater, Bologna Welcome and its business unit Bologna Convention Bureau was crucial to share the operational organization of reception, hospitality and promotion, also along with the network of suppliers that were part of the team.
Alma Mater Foundation submitted the event and was granted access to funds made available by the Municipality of Bologna for the period 2023-2026 linked to high attendance and long length of stay goals for event participants: the Incentive Plan Bologna Welcomes Events.
Other funds were obtained from the Emilia-Romagna Region on the recommendation of the Bologna Convention Bureau. EUCAS was in fact part of the Brand Awareness Campaigns Project for MICE Events 2023.
- What role did the university play in the organization of EUCAS?
Prof. Antonio Morandi and Prof. Marco Breschi: The role of the University was of fundamental importance, both for the support provided to us during the organization of the event, as well as for the possibility offered to us to carry out our research activities over the decades in an autonomous and productive way, which allowed us to achieve the scientific results that led to the assignment of hosting this event.
- What, on the other hand, was the role of Fondazione Alma Mater?
Fabio Pizzimenti: The Foundation has now gained decades of experience in organizing events on behalf of the various facilities of the University. Over the years, it has been in charge of scientific conferences, including ones of international relevance, as well as workshops, seminars, etc., both in the areas of teaching and research and third mission.
Its nature as an in-house entity, basically an extension of the University itself thanks also to its substantial mission identity, allows it to provide the departments with high-impact organizational services such as events.
The organizational secretarial service is 360°: ranging from the search for the location to the arrangement of the set-ups, from the individuation of technical and security services to the management of registrations and the hosting of speakers, from the elaboration of a coordinated brand image to the production of informative materials and welcome kits. Not to leave out, of course, the administrative and accounting part.
As of today, the Foundation has handled many events for the University and is continuously evolving, as mentioned above, for the different events ahead, mainly international, both for 2024 and years to come, which will see the arrival of participants from all over the world.
- Has the city been able to host an event of the caliber and dimension of EUCAS?
Fabio Pizzimenti: The city and the local suppliers have proven once again that we can welcome large scientific communities and many participants from all over the world successfully. We are currently working with Bologna Welcome and the University to bring other major international scientific events to the city over the next few years.
Have you organized an event in Bologna? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us.