Stories of success.
Our city has seen it all. Conferences and events across every sector and field, with people from all over our nation, our continent, and the world.
We were the UK’s 5th most popular conference destination in 2019 (BMEIS), when we welcomed 3.5 million delegates, across 52,000 meetings and events. So we know a thing or two about how to host, and how to make organising your bespoke conference a little easier.
See our case studies below.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Programme (REAP)
Dates: Monday 27 to Thursday 30 January 2020
Number of delegates: Over 100
Conference Venue: Nexus – The University of Leeds
Welcome Drinks Reception: Royal Armouries
Global Innovation Dinner: Leeds Civic Hall
Faculty Accommodation: Dakota Leeds
Delegate Accommodation: Radisson Blu HotelRead More
Name of lead organiser:
Leeds City Council
Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP)
The University of Leeds
West Yorkshire Combined Authority
Leeds Academic Health Partnership
Entrepreneurs Adam Beaumont, David Aspin and Ben Ziff.
MIT REAP provided Leeds with the opportunity to showcase Leeds City Region to its international counterparts, strengthening its reputation of the city with the ongoing aim of accelerating economic growth and making the region more attractive to growing businesses and start-ups, to over one hundred leaders from government, business, universities and finance as well as entrepreneurs from across the world.
International delegates from:
Central Denmark, Mexico, Italy, Ecuador, Kentucky, Oslo and Sydney.
Delegates from all over the world gathered together in Leeds, as the City Region hosted the prestigious international innovation programme, in partnership with the world-famous Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The programme provides expert, evidence-based guidance to support regions to accelerate economic growth, job creation and social change. It has helped nations and cities such as Beijing, Tokyo and Qatar, shape their economic and societal impact. With three million people, the Leeds City Region is the UK’s largest economic area outside London and generates more than 5% of the UK’s economic outputs.
Venues across the city worked closely with each other, and the organisers, in order to deliver the global four-day programme. The UK’s iconic innovation hub, Nexus, was the setting for international teams as they all participated in interactive workshops. As a result of this, the workshops have helped Leeds to develop new strategies to implement change, as well as to support innovation and inclusive growth, all of which are essential for the economic success of the region itself.
The Royal Armouries offered a bespoke addition to the event, as the Welcome Drinks Receptions, which took place in the Oriental Gallery, housed a unique-themed interpretation of Knights in Armour. Taking it one step further, once the reception came to a close, delegates were then given the opportunity to ask questions about its history and even try on the armour, to really take them back in time.
The Civic Hall, which was home to the Innovation Dinner in the evening, showcased the taste of Yorkshire’s finest through its menu, with the offering of a Yorkshire Cheese Board to all attending delegates. For the evening entertainment, the Civic Hall hosted a special performance from Leeds-born Opera North.
Innovation Ecosystem Tours:
Special ‘innovation ecosystem’ tours were designed as a platform to demonstrate how the city inspires innovation, and also offered delegates the chance to meet with Leeds’ established entrepreneurs. The tours themselves focused on a range of the city’s strengths, ranging from creative cultures, financial technology, future mobility and healthcare technologies, and offered delegates the opportunity to visit venues across the city to get a real feel of its sector strengths and history.
As part of the creative cultures tour, which offered the chance to learn about how Leeds has nurtured a range of creative entrepreneurs and social enterprises, delegates visited the iconic AW Hainsworth Woollen Mill and Patricks Studios, a bespoke venue for artists.
When learning about the financial technology strengths of the city, and why Leeds is recognised as one of the main Fintech hubs in the UK, venues including CPP Group, Avenue HQ and Santander’s Work Cafe all welcomed the delegates, where they heard more about the start-up and scale-up experiences of entrepreneurs.
Embarking on the tour of future mobility, delegates visited the University of Leeds, Nexus and Arup, where they learnt about how the city is supporting innovations in transport through immersive technology, modelling and simulators, as well as the emerging technologies supporting the different ways we live and travel in towns, cities and rural areas.
Finally, delegates discovered more about Leeds’ sector strength is healthcare technologies as they visited Co>Space North and the NHS Horizon Conference Centre, in order to understand more about the region’s successful spin-outs, networks and partnerships.
Child in the City International Seminar
Date: 21 and 22 November 2019
Conference and Networking Dinner: The Met Hotel
Cocktail reception: Leeds Art GalleryRead More
Local Organising Committee: Child in the City
Child in the City is a global organisation dedicated to promoting the rights and wellbeing of children across the globe. The fourth Child in the City International Seminar brought together experts, policymakers, children’s professionals, university lecturers, researchers and city planners from all over the world to share their knowledge and research on child-friendly cities, with this year’s discussion point being ‘Child poverty in western cities.’
Experts and policymakers from the field of child services gathered in Leeds for the fourth Child in the City International Seminar in November. This forms as part of a bigger conversation at the International Child in the City World Conference, which is held biennially in a different city around the world.
This year’s Child in the City International Seminar, which was held at The Met Hotel in Leeds, created opportunities for academics, officials and policymakers from across Europe and beyond. The seminar involved the sharing of research, innovation and good practice from various disciplines and policies that affect the lives of children in towns and cities.
Each international seminar focuses on a particular theme to progress the advancement of child-friendly environments, communities and services within the public realm. Children’s professionals, play-workers, city planners, landscape architects and policymakers attended the conference in Leeds to discuss educational environments, urban segregation and marginalisation, as well as child poverty lessons learnt from two case study cities, Dortmund and Madrid.
Delegates were welcomed to the city with a cocktail reception at Leeds Art Gallery and a networking dinner at The Met Hotel, a Grade II listed building which was designed by Leeds architects, Harry Sutton Chorley and J.W. Connon, and opened in 1899. During the two-day conference, delegates had the opportunity to attend several field trips to visit community groups and local businesses from across the city that are dedicated to improving the quality of life for children living in Leeds. These included Getaway Girls which empower girls and young women by helping them develop new skills in supportive environments, Catch, which delivers youth volunteering opportunities in safe spaces, and Leeds Rhinos Foundation which harnesses the power of sport to make a positive impact on the lives of young people.
The conference also included a keynote speech from Gill Main, Associate Professor in Childhood Studies in the School of Education at the University of Leeds, which gave delegates an insight into the impacts child poverty has on children, families, communities and society as a whole, and how city-wide anti-poverty work can address this. Andy Lloyd, Head of Children’s Workforce Development in Leeds Children’s Services and Sue Rumbold, Chief Officer of Leeds Children’s Services also delivered an insightful session, offering an insight into the journey that the city of Leeds and the small town of Hoogeveen in the Netherlands have been on, after working closely together to become child-friendly areas.
Leeds’ inspiration to pursue its child-friendly city ambition came from the Child Friendly Cities work carried out by UNICEF, which was launched in 1996 to encourage cities to become more liveable places for children and young people, and guarantee their right to essential services by empowering them to have their voice heard and influence decisions being made that affect them. As part of the initiative, Child Friendly Leeds has established a growing network of ambassadors who make financial and in-kind contributions to improve the lives of children and young people in Leeds and has supported the Independent Visit scheme for ‘children looked after’ in Leeds. This has resulted in an increase of volunteers in the city, with over 50 schools in Leeds becoming accredited in the Investors in Pupils programme. The Leeds Youth Council has also developed a network of over 400 young people living in Leeds who are passionate about making a difference in the city.
Karen Murgatroyd, Head of International Relations at Leeds City Council commented: “We were thrilled to welcome the fourth Child in the City International Seminar to Leeds last November. The City is a hub for innovation, education and culture, which made The Met Hotel and Leeds Art Gallery ideal venues for the delegates to visit. It was wonderful to see experts from Leeds and across the globe come together to develop restorative research, practices and solutions that will continue to improve the safety and quality of life led by children in towns and cities across the world.”
Association of Laparoscopic Surgeons of Great Britain & Ireland (ALSGBI) Annual Scientific Meeting 2019
Date: 13 to 15 November 2019
Conference: Royal Armouries
Presidents Welcome reception and dinner: Victoria Quarter and Harvey Nichols 4th floor brasserieRead More
Local organising committee: Mr Simon P L Dexter DM FRCS(Gen) FCSHK, Consultant Surgeon, Upper Gastrointestinal and Minimally Invasive Surgery, President, ALSGBI & Local Organiser
The ALSGBI has established itself as the main voice for Laparoscopic Surgeons in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Fundamentally, the organisation aims to foster developments in Laparoscopic surgery, provide a structure for training and have the ability to promote educational and academic objectives.
In November, the city of Leeds was thrilled to welcome the ALSGBI, as the organisation returned to the city for the first time in over ten years for their Annual Scientific Meeting. Since their last visit in 2006, the ALSGBI took the decision to return to Leeds due to the extensive resources available across the city and its ideal location for delegates to visit. The conference saw 250 international delegates attend, from across the UK and Europe, with some travelling from South Korea and Singapore. The conference gave delegates the opportunity to promote teaching and training in robotic and laparoscopic surgery, also known as key-hole surgery.
The three-day conference had plenty to offer delegates, with the highlight being live surgery which was performed by surgeons from St James’s and Leeds General Infirmary. The surgery used state of the art robotic techniques and was streamed to the chosen venue, The Royal Armouries. This was followed by a contemporary industry exhibition, training sessions and industry-relevant lectures which covered the affordability of advanced healthcare solutions, debated new technology including Robotic and Technology Enhanced Surgery and explored the use of the technology for surgical purposes.
The organisers knew that the key to making this conference a success would be having access to a venue that could cater to their bespoke needs. ConferenceLeeds assisted The ALSGBI in finding the perfect venue in the Royal Armouries, which was able to cater for the number of delegates and utilise its facilities and technology to ensure a seamless presentation.
Alongside the academic teaching, the conference organisers were looking for a venue where delegates could absorb key learnings from the conference and network with others in their field. ConferenceLeeds was able to find the perfect venue for the reception dinner and drinks, which was held at the renowned Harvey Nichols in Leeds City Centre.
Jenny Traglohan, Executive Director of ALSGBI commented: “It was so exciting bringing the Association of Laparoscopic Surgeons Conference back to Leeds. The city’s prominent healthcare sector made it easy to choose it as our final destination. The key element of the conference was to inspire those working within laparoscopy through extensive training sessions, most notably our live surgery which had to be the highlight of the conference. What’s more, the Royal Armouries was the perfect venue to welcome delegates from across the globe as it’s such a unique backdrop!”
British Association of Paediatric Endoscopic Surgeons (BAPES) Scientific Meeting 2019
Date: 7 and 8 November 2019
Conference and Conference Dinner: The Crowne Plaza LeedsRead More
Local organising committee: Naved Alizai, Becky Lisseter, Helen Carter
ConferenceLeeds welcomed the 19th annual British Association of Paediatric Endoscopic Surgeons (BAPES) scientific meeting to the Crowne Plaza Hotel on the 7 and 8 November 2019. This annual event, visited Leeds, bringing over 120 delegates to the city to discuss new developments in robotics and paediatric keyhole surgery. The conference was preceded by a workshop at Leeds General Infirmary on the 6th of November.
The BAPES2019 scientific programme is an educational conference which aims to help professionals in the sector develop and improve surgical techniques, learn new ways of working, network with leaders in the field and develop their careers. The 2019 conference offered a new and varied conference programme, which for the first time covered a spectrum of paediatric minimally invasive and robotic surgery. In addition to posters and presentations of scientific papers, the programme highlights included robotic vs laparoscopic debates, how-to sessions with invited experts, medico-legal and education sessions and the inaugural BAPES university challenge quiz.
The largest discussion point at the conference was robotic surgery, with the conference featuring a talk on robotic and laparoscopic surgery from Naved Alizai, Consultant Paediatric Surgeon at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and ex-president of the British Association of Paediatric Endoscopic Surgeons (BAPES). Naved, who is also an Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Leeds and an Honorary Professor of Paediatric Surgery at the University of Suzhou in China,provided delegates with insight designed to improve outcomes for infants and children undergoing minimally invasive surgery, and will also included a robotic simulation as part of the session.
Naved Alizai said: “We’re grateful to ConferenceLeeds for all of their work helping us to organise the conference this year, working closely with us to secure the venue, which is perfect for us as it’s so central and has a wide range of quality hotels within walking distance. Finally, we were able to provide all of this at such good value due to the rates available in Leeds, which helped delegates from all levels attend.”
Leeds has always been a leader in Paediatric Keyhole and Robotic Surgery on an international scale. The founding member of BAPES, Azad Najmaldin, regarded as the father of keyhole surgery for children in UK by some, worked at Leeds Children’s Hospital. The robotic service for children in Leeds is the largest robotic centre in the world and offers procedures not offered in any other unit. Mr Naved Alizai is the only proctor of Paediatric Robotic General Surgery for Europe, with the only other proctor for paediatric robotic urology also working in Leeds.
Established in 1999, BAPES seeks to improve standards in paediatric minimally invasive surgery by promoting research and learning opportunities. The organisation has instituted a number of fellowships and awards to encourage study in paediatric minimally invasive surgery. BAPES support their members in their professional development by organising advanced training and scholarship courses designed to improve outcomes for infants and children undergoing minimally invasive surgery.
SME China Forum 2019
Date: 24 September 2019
Delegates: 150 to 200
Conference: Leeds College of Music
Pre-Conference Dinner: Harvey Nichols 4th floor BrasserieRead More
Local Organising Committee: Alex Makino-Farrell, China Market Business Advisor for the China Britain Business Council
Conference Leeds welcomed the arrival of the SME China Forum, an annual event held by the China Britain Business Council, to the city on the 24 September 2019. Leeds College of Music hosted the full-day event for between 150 and 200 delegates on 24th September 2019, as the event moved into the city of Leeds for its 7th year – with previous events held in Heathrow, Bristol, Glasgow, Manchester and Wolverhampton.
The full-day event provided opportunities for member businesses in the UK to establish trading opportunities, best practice for market entry, discuss compliance and legals, all specifically in the Chinese market. Taking the format of a forum, the event opened with a plenary session and then moved through to panel discussions. In these, delegates heard keynote speakers from SMEs who have successfully entered the Chinese market, such as Jack Peters, Business Development Director of the Alibaba Group, and Melanie Allan, Chief Commercial Officer for China at Silver Cross. These keynote speakers discussed the consumer market in China, outlined lessons that they have learned along the way, and discussed the impact this market has had on their bottom line.
After the panel sessions, the event moved to a presentation format on specific topics; IT security, Chinese banking, business development and other practical discussions. During the forum, there was also the opportunity for delegates to receive one-to-one consultations and advice on the specific needs of the business in line with their exploration of the Chinese marketplace.
The China-Britain Business Council helps British and Chinese businesses and organisations work together in China, the UK and third markets around the world. Operating for over 60 years, their diverse, 1,000-strong membership includes some of the UK’s largest and most established companies, some of the UK’s most dynamic and innovative SMEs, as well as leading Chinese companies.
Hydrogen Summit 2019
Date: 27 and 28 June 2019
Conference Day 1: Cloth Hall Court
Conference Day 2: Leeds Civic Hall, the Carriageworks Theatre and Leeds Art Gallery
Hydrogen Car Showcase: Victoria Gardens
Conference Dinner: Harvey Nichols 4th floor BrasserieRead More
Local Organising Committee: Tom Knowland, Leeds City Council, Jeremy Laycock Campbell, University of Leeds
A brand new conference was held in Leeds on the 27th and 28th of June, with the arrival of the inaugural National Hydrogen Summit at Cloth Hall Court and Leeds Civic Hall. The conference, which was the first of its kind, brought together 260 delegates from industry, academia and politics to develop a cohesive voice for hydrogen and create a committed policy to help reduce carbon emissions to ‘net zero’ by 2050, in line with government proposals.
The National Hydrogen Summit was organised by Leeds City Council in partnership with the University of Leeds and was opened by Councillor Judith Blake, who welcomed delegates and stakeholders to the city to discuss the decarbonisation of the UK’s energy systems.
The conference, which aims to become an annual event which will be hosted around the country, inspired conversation though a mixture of presentations, plenary sessions, workshops and keynote speeches delivered by Rachel Reeves MP; Jon Saltmarsh, the Head of Technical Energy Analysis at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy ; Mark Horsley, Chief Executive of Northern Gas Networks; Tony Green, Head of Engineering & Asset Management at the National Grid and Professor Joe Howe, Executive Director of the Thornton Energy Institute.
Tom Knowland, Head of Sustainable Energy and Climate Change at Leeds City Council, said: “We were excited to host the first ever National Hydrogen Summit conference in Leeds this year as a homegrown event in partnership with the university. We were really pleased with the success of the event and we hope to continue to bring the summit to delegates across the UK over the coming years. We’re incredibly grateful that ConferenceLeeds were on hand to help organise the logistics of the summit and provided great support with the provision of delegate information and accommodation booking.”
Claire Heap, Head of ConferenceLeeds, commented: “We were thrilled to welcome the first ever National Hydrogen Summit to Leeds to kick start our busy summer conferencing season. Once again, this conference evidences the city’s dedication to tackle carbon emissions and help to decarbonise the UK energy sector, which in turn is helping the initiatives outlined in the Climate Change Act 2008 become more achievable. We were honoured to help the team at the National Hydrogen Summit to organise the conference, and we hope the event will return to the city soon!”