Conference: EuroCoalAsh2019 Conference
Dates: 10 – 12 June 2019
Venue: Dalhousie, University of Dundee and various locations including The City Chambers and Discovery Point
Attendance: Around 100 from 18 countries, contributing over £122,000.00 to the local economy over the 3 days
Chair: Dr Michael McCarthy, School of Science and Engineering, University of Dundee
Conference Secretary: Dr Moray Newlands, School of Science and Engineering, University of Dundee
Conference website: CLICK HERE
Images: CLICK HERE
Dundee makes collaborative partnerships easy
Internationalism was the name of the game at the EuroCoalAsh 2019 conference – this specialist gathering attracted delegates from 18 countries and the programme chairs were experts from the USA, Canada, Denmark, Germany, India as well as the UK.
The programme addressed a wide variety of subject areas ranging from sourcing and logistics, recovery and processing, to use of various ashes in construction, including biomass ash, and novel applications, providing huge scope for technical exchange, knowledge sharing and idea swapping.
Specialists in the field, drawn from academia, industry, research and government, gathered for the event to focus on the use of Coal Combustion Products (CCPs) in the construction industry in Europe.
Bringing together great minds from many nations was a big plus with an incredible 81% of delegates saying that they will collaborate with new people they met in Dundee as a result.
The three-day event led to a wide range of technical discussions around future ash supply, as many countries move away from coal fired power stations. It discussed ash processing to modify the characteristics of the material for the benefit of the construction industry, and environmental implications of using ash in concrete and the wider industry.
Having industry presence not only from Europe but from the USA, India and China allowed some of the more commercial aspects of research to be explored and discussed.
The technical element of the conference programme was contrasted with historic, civic and culture touches that were unique to Dundee. A civic reception in the city chambers saw the conference addressed by the Lord Provost of Dundee, and the use of Discovery Point – home to the world-famous Antarctic research vessel - for a drinks reception and dinner brought Dundee’s remarkable history and heritage into sharp focus.
Meanwhile, a bagpipe player and ceilidh dancing showed that traditional Scottish culture maintains the ability to wow visitors from around the world – one saying the entertainment would never be forgotten!
Conference secretary Dr Moray Newlands said: “For the team in Dundee, the most important part of all of our conferences is the interaction between the delegates. This was particularly prevalent at EuroCoalAsh2019 given the wide range of backgrounds of those attending, from industry CEOs to research students, and the range of countries represented.
“We will often judge success based on our observations of delegates in the technical sessions and during the tea and coffee and lunch breaks.
“The post-conference feedback is also useful for us to ensure that people have made new connections, but also enjoyed their experience in Dundee from a social perspective. We often hear from our returning delegates that Dundee is a memorable place to visit.”
This biennial conference moves around Europe in its quest to bring together participants from industry, research and academia.
In recent years, it has been held in Warsaw, Poland (2008), Copenhagen, Denmark (2010), Thessaloniki, Greece (2012), Munich, Germany (2014) and Brno, Czech Republic (2017).
In 2019 it was hosted by the Concrete Technology Unit at the University of Dundee.
The social events were contained within a short distance of the university, a clear benefit of the university’s city-central location. The intimate nature of the chosen venues worked well in bringing people together during breaks and social events.
Dundee hit the mark and in addition to learning, collaborations and research discussions, the cultural programme went down a treat with delegates, with many commenting on how much they enjoyed history, customs and culture being woven through the schedule, all adding value to the experience.
With so many overseas visitors, the focus of post-conference entertainment was providing a Scottish experience. The Scots night tapped into local talent, providing an informal and relaxed feel with delegates really enjoying themselves.
Dr Newlands commented: “Given the ongoing Waterfront developments within the city, and the very positive press that Dundee has been receiving, it seemed the ideal time to invite people to come and see what Dundee has to offer.
“In addition, there is much happening within the industry in the UK, so it also seemed the perfect time for EuroCoalAsh to come to this part of Europe.
“I think Dundee remains a perfect storm for conferences. It is a beautiful location, the support from the team at Dundee & Angus Convention Bureau was of course excellent, the timing given the Waterfront development has also helped and I think the fact that the conference was an intensive, but relaxed, event also helped. We would hope to see EuroCoalAsh return to Dundee sometime in the future.”
Beyond the conference – collaborations continue
The conference was contained within venues in the city centre of Dundee which united delegates and allowed scope for discussions out-with the formal programme. This in turn stimulated ideas, supported networking and encouraged new collaborative partnerships for the future.
Dr Newlands added: “The very positive response for collaboration is extremely rewarding as this is a great measure of conference success for us and we would hope to see some of these collaborations being productive on the international stage in the near future.”
98% would recommend Dundee and Angus to colleagues as a conference destination
90% rate Dundee and Angus as a good or very good conference destination
83% would return to Dundee and Angus for a future leisure visit
84% of respondents said that organisation during the conference was very good
81% will collaborate with people they haven’t before as a result of attending the conference
94% rated accommodation good or very good when it came to overall value for money
100% of respondents with accessibility requirements said their accommodation provided everything they needed
65% extended their stay beyond the conference
...and in comments
“The conference stimulated ideas in the mind of a colleague of mine. And having seen the experience of others through their papers, it enthused him to discuss these ideas and we are already taking action.”
“I will add information I acquired at the conference to our work and our reports.”
“It provided insight about worldwide opportunities and problems regarding CCPs, which could be used for research.”
“There are new learnings and its helps in gaining confidence that many new works are doable especially when we find someone from another part of world also has same research outcome or line of thinking.”
“It has been an eye opener in the sense that nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it.”
“Discussing with people working with similar subjects was important to understand other aspects of my research.”
“I felt welcomed in Scotland considering the fact that I was thousands of miles away from my home country.”
“Civic receptions are not typically provided at American events. It was very interesting, and I was pleased to be invited and to have a chance to see the venue.”
“The venue was ideal to bring together people during tea and lunch breaks as well as during social programmes, conveniently compact and centrally located.”
“Loved the museum and the Scottish presentations: dance, piper, humour.”
“The conference dinner added new meaning to Dundee visit. The whole programme was just awesome from seeing The Discovery to watching Scottish dance to knowing the bagpiper!”
“The link history (Discovery) and culture (piping/dancing) was fantastic. Think this is a unique option in Dundee - congratulations!”
"It was very nice to experience the culture of the Scottish people and to see how valuable history is in the country.”
“The Scottish Highland dance and bagpiper provided excellent entertainment. Wish it could have been for a longer duration.”
“Price was very low compared to quality I would expect to pay twice as much at a comparable US hotel near a city center.”