Conferences are a vital part of academic life allowing for critical review and challenge of research findings by a broad collective of peers. Presenting a paper or poster significant for postgraduate students, early career academics finding their feet and their peers at such fora; whilst for others it is a key output of research projects helping forge new collaborations and attract funding. For the commercial sector too it provides opportunity to connect with academia and the very latest innovations, stimulating new thought, commercialisation opportunities and much, much more. For those hosting the conference there are further significant benefits in terms of professional profile and organisational reputation.

The University of Edinburgh encourages staff to engage with the conference community. Through our Conference Alliance, the University now actively supports its academics to host conferences.

What is the Conference Alliance?

The University of Edinburgh Conference Alliance is a membership community run by the University of Edinburgh Hospitality & Events Collection, offering  support to our academics to bid for and successfully deliver association conferences in Edinburgh.

What support is available?

Specialist support from the University’s event experts who help academics navigate the technical aspects of bidding for and delivering conferences.

Member services include:

  • City bid support: advice, venue proposal, costings, city information
  • Bid presentations and collateral
  • Support on site visits
  • Event management services
  • Conference budget advice
  • Facilitate introductions to relevant venues and service providers beyond UOE Conference & Events portfolio
  • Accommodation service for delegates
  • Guidance on possible funding opportunities
  • Calendar of member events for networking and educational purposes
  • Peer to peer advice, best practice and case studies.

What are the benefits for you, our academics?

By joining the Conference Alliance, you benefit from the services above, allowing you to focus on your research and teaching commitments whilst we do the ground work to support your bid and conference. Members are encouraged to share their experiences and learnings with other members, providing unique first-hand insight, practical tips and introductions.

Who’s behind the initiative?

The University of Edinburgh’s Conference & Events team, at the University’s Hospitality & Events Collection, manages the Conference Alliance on a day-to-day basis. Headed up by Amanda Ferguson and Gordon Dow, the team is made up of experienced sales professionals and event experts within the University. They have a deep understanding of supporting academic colleagues to bid for and deliver successful conferences in Edinburgh.

Amanda Ferguson - Head of Business Development

The former head of Convention Edinburgh, the city convention bureau, Amanda is a well-known face in the association world and amongst the academic community many of whom were previous members of the city’s ambassador programme. She has significant experience in bidding for European and International Association conferences and is hugely passionate about promoting Edinburgh internationally.

Gordon Dow - Business Development Manager

Having worked in Association conference sales for the University of Edinburgh for over ten years, Gordon is well connected across the academic community having already supported scores of colleagues to win conferences for the city. The launch of the Conference Alliance is the next logical step building on these achievements.

How can you get involved / find out more information?

To join or simply to find out more, please email