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Appliance of science to events

Paul Szomoru, head of business events at NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau, highlights recent investments, new venue options and big conference wins in the city’s pipeline, and shows how the city's burgeoning innovation, tech and pharma strongsuits are translating into major event success.

It’s exciting to see so much investment going on across Newcastle and Gateshead. Particularly when you see international brands like Melia helping to develop iconic locations like our Quayside, and Dalata Hotel Group building which will be the second largest hotel in the region, right in the heart of the city when the Maldron Hotel opens as part of a £100m investment. 

There’s significant local investment too. Recently Gainford Group transformed The County Hotel, one of our old grande dames.

Top 10 venues

• Sage Gateshead

• Newcastle United Football Club 

• Crowne Plaza - Stephenson Quarter

• Wylam Brewery – Palace of Arts 

• Hilton Newcastle Gateshead 

• The Assembly Rooms

• The Boiler Shop

• Discovery Museum

• BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art

• Life Meetings and Events

Meanwhile, the strong partnership between Newcastle University, Newcastle City Council and Legal & General continues to demonstrate ambition and vision on Science Central. The Urban Sciences Building recently opened and is a living laboratory underpinning research to make urban centres more sustainable for future generations. Part of a £350m landmark development, two further buildings are also underway on the site and will offer inspiring events spaces. 

This shows real confidence and ambition that is mirrored across the city, in various sectors and industries. 

At the convention bureau, we are looking forward to welcoming delegates here from all over the world to attend events which showcase these research, sector and industry strengths. The European Thyroid Association, the European Marine Science Educators Association and the International Society for Microbial Electro-
chemistry and Technology are just three examples of events shining a light on what we do well, and where we are actively engaged with local partners to ensure we maximise the impact of hosting them. 

Looking ahead, plans are certainly on track for us to get an international conference and exhibition centre on Gateshead Quays. Architects HOK were appointed at the end of 2017 and funding has been secured from the North East LEP to help take it to the next stage… watch this space!  

Canny conferencing through knowledge

NewcastleGateshead has a range of industry sector strengths and expertise including digital, health innovation and energy. Many innovations in the health sector are made in NewcastleGateshead. Newcastle University has one of the UK’s leading medical schools and is also home to the Newcastle University Institute for Ageing (NUIA), the largest facility of its kind in Europe. The International Centre for Life is the UK’s first biotechnology village, a landmark £90m development which houses Life Knowledge Park and the Institute of Human Genetics. Here, the first licence was granted by the fertility regulator to create a baby with three genetic parents, a ground-breaking development that could prevent children dying from genetic diseases. 

The Centre for Life is also home to Life Meetings and Events, which includes a conference centre for 380 delegates and many science related features for hosting events such as a 4D motion ride and one of the largest planetariums in the country.

With the fastest growing digital cluster outside of London, NewcastleGateshead’s software and technology market is forecast to grow to £2.5bn by 2020. The region is home to 2,800 tech and digital businesses, as well as the only FTSE 100 software company, Sage Group plc. Global leaders can rub shoulders and do business with fast-growing local start-ups. Conferences such as Thinking Digital (16-17 May 2018) and BIM (Building, Innovation, Modelling) Show Live (28 Feb-1 March 2018) are therefore such a natural fit for the destination.

NewcastleGateshead is also a major centre for the renewable, offshore and subsea energy industries and is one of six Centres for Offshore Renewable Engineering (CORE) in England. The region is home to the world’s most advanced steel tube facility, Newcastle University’s £7m engineering research facility, the Tyne Subsea – the National Centre for Subsea and Offshore Engineering, the first of its kind in the UK, and the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, the UK’s flagship research centre for offshore wind, wave and tidal energy. 

Northern Gas Networks launched its InTEGReL facility in September 2017, in partnership with Northern Powergrid, Newcastle University and the EPSRC Centre for Systems Integration (CESI). 

Building on its reputation for science and engineering, Newcastle
Gateshead is set to host the 4th UK Energy Storage Research Conference (UKES), which will bring over 200 energy storage industry professionals to the new £58m Urban Sciences Building at Science Central, 20-22 March 2018. 

Business and professional services is another sector that the area excels. Newcastle Business School at Northumbria University is accredited by EPAS for 18 undergraduate programmes – more than any business school in the UK.

All ‘Big Four’ professional service companies have operations in Newcastle (Deloitte, PWC, E&Y and KPMG), employing 1,200 people.

Great Exhibition of the North

Set to be the biggest event in England in 2018, The Great Exhibition of the North is a summer of amazing exhibits, inspired technology, vibrant street performance, cutting-edge culture and magical experiences in NewcastleGateshead. 

This event is free and opens with the ‘Get North’ weekend on 22 June. It finishes in style with the famous Great North Run and the ‘Creating the Future’ closing weekend, 8-9 September. 

Paul Szomoru says the event “provides an exciting opportunity for meeting and event organisers to align their conferences with the Exhibition. It also opens up an exciting opportunity to create a unique delegate social programme.”