Higgs boson puts Melbourne in international spotlight

Issued on behalf of MCVB

The recent, ground-breaking Higgs boson discovery announced in Melbourne at the 36th International Conference on High Energy Physics (ICHEP), has shed positive light on the city’s flourishing business events industry.

ICHEP, which has brought over 800 delegates to the city over an eight-day period and is expected to generate an estimated AUD $8 million in economic impact for the state, is the largest scientific gathering in the high energy physics community and was won after an intensive bidding process, facilitated by MCVB, dating back to 2005.

Chief Executive Officer of the Melbourne Convention + Visitors Bureau (MCVB), Karen Bolinger, said MCVB partnered with the University of Melbourne to bid for the 2012 Conference, with Professor Geoffrey Taylor, past Head of the School of Physics at the University of Melbourne as the representative local host.

“After a number of years of hard work in preparing Melbourne’s bid to bring the event to Victoria, Melbourne was announced as the successful bid city, fending off strong competition from Manchester, at the Philadelphia conference in 2008,” she said.

Although represented by a relatively small community in Australia (nationally the sector is dominated by Melbourne groups), high energy particle physics has always been at the forefront of technological development.

Melbourne University is a research powerhouse in the specialised areas of neurosciences, microbiology, pharmacology, and psychology/psychiatry and physics. The University is recognised as Australia’s leading institute in particle physics (both theoretical and experimental) and the intersection of particle physics with cosmology and high energy astrophysics.

Ms Bolinger said that as Australia’s knowledge, research and innovation capital, Melbourne was the obvious choice for hosting this event.

“MCVB specialises in bidding for major international conferences and conventions from the knowledge sectors.  There is strong competition from other conference cities when it comes to bidding for events of this calibre and a successful bid requires a combination of superior business events infrastructure and an innovative, knowledgeable and well-respected local industry, both areas of which our state excels.

“Over the next two and a half years, Melbourne will host seven of the world’s largest and most prestigious conferences including the World Diabetes Congress in 2013 and the World Congress of Cardiology and the International AIDS Conference in 2014, all of which have been secured by MCVB and are set to create long lasting legacies from almost every perspective.”

Ms Bolinger said there was still limited awareness of the beyond tourism benefits produced as a result of business events.

“Not only do business events generate economic wealth and export orders for the destination, they also: enhance industry sector profiles; encourage change and innovation; spark new research and technology; increase market intelligence; change perceptions of a city, a country or an industry; and assist in job creation.

“It is evident by the worldwide attention given to the Higgs boson breakthrough the significant impact these major events can have on a host city – history will always point to Melbourne as the city where this ground-breaking announcement took place.”

Ms Bolinger added that Melbourne is renowned for a strong culture of innovation through collaboration and it is this approach that continues to assist in winning major bids.

“The Victorian State Government is a strong advocate for the business events industry, facilitating its growth by providing support, and recognising the contribution that conferences make to furthering critical research on a global scale.

“The city’s commitment to attracting international conventions is also demonstrated by its Club Melbourne Ambassador (CMA) Program. This collaborative strategy, supported by the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, MCVB and the State Government of Victoria, brings together proud Melburnians in the fields of medicine, science, business and industry, who are passionate in their advocacy of Melbourne as an innovative ‘thinking’ city and desirable conference destination.”

The CMA program currently boasts 134 world leaders in their respective fields, including ICHEP Organising Committee Chair, Geoffrey Taylor.

“Without the support of local industry, groups and individuals such as our CMAs, we would not be equipped to achieve the level of success we currently do.

“Each year we look forward to welcoming our conference delegates to the city and watching as they showcase Melbourne’s expertise and help promote our wonderfully innovative and forward-thinking city to the world.”