TERENA Conferences - Hosting information

What do I need to know if I am interested in hosting a TERENA Networking Conference?

1. Procedure

Hosting a TERENA Networking Conference (TNC) is a possibility for all TERENA National Members (and for National Members only).

The process for choosing the organisation that will host a TERENA conference is an informal and confidential one, giving equal opportunities to all that are interested. It allows TERENA members to sound out the possibilities for hosting a conference informally without any obligations and it avoids embarrassments if initial plans turn out to be unsuccessful.

The preparations for TERENA Networking Conferences need to start a long time before the conference takes place. The TEC needs to take a decision on the conference venue around two years before the event. Normally, the discussions and preparations leading up to that decision will themselves have covered a year or more.

Thus, the decision for hosting the TNC 2015 is likely to be taken in the second half of 2013.

At various occasions representatives of TERENA member organisations approach TEC or TERENA staff members to find out about the opportunities of hosting a conference and about what would be required from them. That information is then provided and discussed informally between the prospective host and TERENA staff. If after these discussions the TERENA member is still interested, it usually sends a more formal expression of interest, which is then discussed with the Vice President for Conferences and in the TEC. If the TEC decides to consider an offer further, the Chief Administrative Officer and the Conference and Workshop Organiser investigate together with the prospective host all logistical, budgetary and administrative matters. These preparations include a site visit to inspect possible conference locations and meet local conference bureaus. The report on these investigations is the main input for the TEC's final decision on the conference venue.

2. General overview

Every year, traditionally in May/June (from a Monday afternoon to a Thursday morning), TERENA organises a large international conference, primarily aimed at professionals from the research and education networking community, in which the latest technical developments in the area are discussed, shared and demonstrated. Attendance is usually between 500 and 600.

The Conference is normally hosted by one of the TERENA members, which facilitates the conference organisation to the best of its abilities, but legally and financially the Conference is the responsibility of TERENA. The Conference costs are paid to a large extent from the registration fees and to a lesser extent from income from industry sponsors. In addition, there is a subsidy (in terms of manpower, equipment, money and/or a combination of these things) from the hosting organisation and from TERENA.

The Conference programme is the responsibility of an independent Programme Committee, made up of volunteer specialists from the TERENA community. The Programme Committee is appointed by TERENA. Staff support for the work of the Programme Committee is provided by the TERENA Conference and Workshop Organiser (Ms. Gyöngyi Horváth). Some of the presentations of the Conference are normally devoted to items covered by the GÉANT project; together, these form the GÉANT distributed workshop.

The responsibility for organisational matters rests with the Conference Committee. This is made up of the Programme Committee Chair, TERENA's VP for Conferences and a representative from the hosting organisation. Staff support for the Conference Committee is provided by the TERENA Chief Administrative Officer and the Conference and Workshop Organiser. TERENA normally also contracts a local Professional Conference Organiser (PCO), which is responsible for handling hotel bookings, local transportation arrangements, social events, etc.

General staff backup and supervision is provided by the TERENA Secretary General.

The TERENA Conferences are normally preceded by a number of meetings hosted by TERENA and others and are followed by a TERENA General Assembly meeting and possibly other meetings. This means that some block bookings need to be made for a few days before and after the main event.

The division of work between the hosting organisation and the PCO is, to a certain extent, flexible and can be reviewed if necessary.

3. Outline of hosting organisation responsibilities.

  1. The hosting organisation is expected to:
    • appoint a representative on the Conference Committee;
    • use its best efforts to ensure that the Conference receives facilities free of charge or at discounted rates;
    • use its best efforts to ensure that the TERENA meetings before the conference are hosted free of charge or at discounted rates;
    • use its best efforts to host, or find a host for, a speakers reception on the Sunday preceding the Conference;
    • provide a venue for the opening reception on Monday evening or arrange for such a venue to be provided at no cost to TERENA;
    • provide adequate technical and networking facilities; this will include adequate facilities for broadcasting the plenary and parallel sessions over the Internet and, if needed, for delivery of speeches via Videoconference; optional is a terminal room with PCs connected to the internet plus a number of connections for laptop computers;
    • help identify and contact possible sponsors in cooperation with TERENA;
    • assist with the local organisation to the fullest extent, in liaison with the PCO;
    • host the TERENA General Assembly meeting, free of charge to TERENA, on the Thursday afternoon and Friday morning after the Conference and to provide the GA delegates with lunch and dinner on Thursday;
    • help to promote the conference, and where relevant associated meetings or demonstrations, in liaison with the TERENA Communications Team and according to an agreed plan.
    A document outlining the technical requirements for the Conference and sharing the experiences from previous years is available from TERENA upon request.
  2. The hosting organisation will be listed as one of the sponsors of the Conference; it will be given exposure that is comparable to that of other conference sponsors.

4. Outline of PCO responsibilities.

  1. The PCO will block-book sufficient hotel rooms (at least 400) at discounted rates. In any case, these discounted rates must be lower than the rates that an individual traveller can obtain through normal travel agencies. These block-bookings must be made as soon as possible and with the lastest possible block-booking release date. The price range of the bookings in the different hotels is to be agreed between the PCO and TERENA, with the advice of the hosting organisation. The PCO will also:
    • Handle booking procedures with hotels. The PCO is expected to provide an on-line hotel booking possibility linked from the TERENA website, including facilities for on-line credit card payments, using the latest security provisions, according to specifications to be received from TERENA
    • Normally, TERENA will handle the entire registrations process. However, the PCO is expected to provide an on-site registration and credit card payment facility
    • Book dinner and social event venues and arrange additional facilities and decoration as needed
    • Arrange partner programmes as appropriate; the PCO will submit at least three alternative suggestions for a partner programme to TERENA for its approval. The partner programmes will be organised by the PCO outside the conference budget and at the PCO's risk
    • Arrange additional facilities at the opening reception as needed
    • If needed, book a speakers' reception venue and arrange for additional facilities as needed
    • Select and book food and beverage for speakers reception (if needed), opening reception, gala dinner and three lunches; arrange for local transportation if neeeded
    • Obtain quotes and hire necessary additional items (poster panels, exhibition booths and facilities, computer equipment for exhibition stands, etc)
    • Coordinate event arrangements with venues throughout, monitoring costs against budget; ensuring that all venues are accessible at the times required
    • Recruit, brief and supervise on-site conference staff (hosts/hostesses), who must be fluent in English
    • Arrange for signage and directions at the conference site
  2. Work with the hosting organisation to provide text for promotional material relating to all administrative and local/venue information
    • Receive, log and confirm all registering delegates, taking into account the different registration fees and the registration fee waivers that TERENA decides upon
    • Send formal invitation letters to delegates requiring a visa
    • Arrange accommodation as required
    • Produce directions, maps, badges and other materials as required
    • Prepare final list of participants and other delegate material required at the conference (excluding final programme)
    • Produce a conference bag with printed logo of sponsor, fill the bags with materials as required by TERENA (including directions, maps, badge, writing pad, pen, list of participants and material produced by TERENA)
    • Respond to enquiries
  3. Reports
    • Regular status reports to TERENA and the hosting organisation
    • Final report
    • After submission of its final report and the Conference accounts, the PCO will provide any further clarifications that may be required, at no further cost to TERENA
  4. Accounts
    • Monitor costs against a detailed budget, to be provided by the PCO and approved by TERENA. Any changes will need to be agreed upon in advance with TERENA
    • Pay suppliers of budgeted services, if within budget.
    • Submission of final accounts (local costs and income) before the 1st of September. All original bank statements, invoices and other relevant documents should be available for auditing by a TERENA-appointed auditor and should be kept on file for at least five years after the end of the Conference.
    • Register Conference for VAT in the country (if applicable) and handle all local VAT and any other applicable taxes; this includes reclaiming from the local tax authorities any VAT on payments made.

5. TERENA responsibilities.

  1. TERENA will act as the main conference organizers and will:
    • contract a local Professional Conference Organiser to handle local arrangements, local expenditures and conference registrations;
    • organise the meetings of the conference and programme committees and
    • provide both committees with organisational support;
    • register participants for the conference (except for on-site desk registrations)
    • (arrange to) produce and distribute the call for papers, the conference programme, the conference proceedings and all other conference materials;
    • use its best efforts to organise the programme in accordance with the suggestions of the Programme Committee, within the available budget;
    • formalise agreements with possible sponsors;
    • draw up the budget and handle the accounting for the conference, based upon income and expenditure handled by TERENA itself and upon the accounting for local income and expenditure arranged by the PCO.
  2. TERENA will be responsible for
    • Approval of venue selection
    • Agreeing the final detailed budget
    • Creating programme content and speakers
    • Inviting speakers and making additional arrangements with them if necessary
    • All handling of (abstracts of) delivered papers
    • All marketing
    • Provide advance payments to the PCO in accordance with the agreed cashflow and budget
    • All sponsor handling