The University of Oulu will organise the International Conference on Electronic Spectroscopy and Structure (ICESS) in the field of physics in August 2021. Oulu Convention Bureau played a key role in getting this distinguished conference to Oulu.
Caption: Professor Marko Huttula who leads the Nano and Molecular Systems Research Unit of the University of Oulu travelled to Shanghai last October to present the plan to organise the next ICESS conference in Oulu.
Renewable energy, sustainable development and climate change will be among the themes to be discussed in the electronic structure and spectroscopy conference in Oulu in a little over two years according to professor in electron spectroscopy Marko Huttula of the University of Oulu.
“Questions will involve future material research, atmosphere research, environmental research and semiconductor material research,” he says.
Without the help of Oulu Convention Bureau (OCB), these essential questions would be contemplated in a conference held in some other part of the world.
Conferences generate exposure and attraction
The idea of applying to hold the conference first came to Marko Huttula at the ICESS conference held at Stony Brook University in New York in autumn 2015. The holding of the conference was applied for by the joint efforts of the universities of Uppsala and Oulu in 2018. At that time, however, Shanghai was selected.
In autumn 2017, Huttula met with Riina Aikio and Helena Pikkarainen of Oulu Convention Bureau at the congress organisers’ reception at Oulu City Hall. Huttula became convinced that a solo application for the conference to take place in Oulu is the way to go, since Oulu can offer better help in the conference application process than Uppsala.
Research Vice Rector Taina Pihlajaniemi of the University of Oulu encourages Oulu-based researchers to be active in other fields as well:
“Getting an international conference to our university and city is a sign of respect by the world’s scientific community and, thus, a great achievement for your researchers. Organising a conference is the best possible occasion to showcase our own excellent research environment for our international colleagues. A well-organised international conference of the highest scientific level will bring great exposure and the participants will remember it for a long time as a positive experience,” says Pihlajaniemi.
Last year, the University of Oulu arranged around 20 international conferences. The amount for this year is approximately the same.
Professional documents to help
Oulu Convention Bureau provided Marko Huttula, among other things, with the necessary application documents, the key one being the congress bid book.
“I had it easy. I only had to write a few lines on the scientific contents,” Huttula says.
With the help of OCB, the bid book comprised, among other things, the presentations of Oulu and the conference facilities, the budget, a preliminary conference programme and entertainment options, accommodation choices as well as greetings from the mayor of the city and rector of the university.
“The end result was highly professional and appealing. The material demonstrated that Oulu is capable of organising the conference. In fact, the Board had no other potential options besides Oulu, having read the material,” Huttula says.
The conference location for 2021 was decided at the conference held in Shanghai last autumn. A few weeks before his trip, Huttula suddenly realised that he had not prepared his presentation material. He was about to request the presentation material from OCB, but the material arrived in his email before he had the chance to request it.
“I was extremely satisfied,” he says.
A shop window for Oulu-based physics researchers
The presentation in Shanghai went according to plan and Oulu was assigned to arrange the 15th ICESS conference. The conference was first arranged in 1971.
Marko Huttula finds it wonderful that Oulu gets to be among the arranging parties. In addition to China and the United States, the conference has been previously held, for example, in Hawaii, Japan, France and Italy.
“Naturally, the conference will make us stand out in the eyes of the international scientific community. The application stage alone was important exposure-wise, because we had the opportunity to present our material to the top experts of the field. Researchers may sometimes think that research is the only thing that will bring respect. However, it is also important to show what we do,” Huttula says.
At this point, the responsibility for the arrangements will shift for the most part to the university’s own organisation committee. Due to the successful conference plan prepared with OCB, the organisers can now focus on structuring the scientific contents of the conference.
“At this point, there are no big concerns left,” Huttula says.