Medical conferences continue to breathe life into London’s economy, with the European Respiratory Society (ERS) congress attracting some 22,000 delegates to the city this week (3-7 September).
The second-largest conference to be hosted in London, the ERS congress will generate an estimated £73 million in economic benefit, according to London & Partners, the promotional company for the city. It is taking place at ExCeL London, bringing together an estimated 22,000 respiratory physicians, scientists and allied health professionals from around the globe.
ERS Congress Chair Professor Peter Barnes said: “London is a fitting choice for the 26th ERS International Congress as a city that boasts a proud history of scientific innovation and medical discoveries. As one of the best-respected conference venues and one of the London 2012 Olympic venues, we felt the ExCeL London was the ideal location for the largest respiratory conference in the world.”
London is home to a core of experts in the field: Imperial College London’s National Heart & Lung Institute (NHLI) enjoys a reputation for world-leading research into respiratory disease. The Imperial Clinical Respiratory Research Unit (ICRRU) has been jointly established by Imperial NHS Healthcare Trust and the Centre for Respiratory Infection (CRI) at St Mary’s Hospital.
Knowledge-sharing opportunities also extended beyond the congress itself, with the European Respiratory Society running public events as part of its wider mission to promote lung health. Londoners were able to test their lungs and learn more about lung health during the Healthy Lungs for Life campaign, which took place on Trafalgar Square, 2-3 September.
Tracy Halliwell MBE, Director of Business Tourism and Major Events at London & Partners, added: “The European Respiratory Society congress is one of the most prestigious congresses in the world and we are honoured that the Society chose London for its 2016 edition. This is testament to London’s attractiveness as a meetings and events destination and as a centre of excellence for medicine and life sciences.”
A wider collaboration between the Mayor of London and the capital’s leading research and healthcare centres, MedCity, has been instrumental in increasing life sciences knowledge-sharing and investment in the city. This includes the new Francis Crick Institute, a biomedical discovery institute founded by six partners: the Medical Research Council (MRC), Cancer Research UK, the Wellcome Trust, UCL (University College London), Imperial College London and King’s College London.
Last year, the city played host to a number of high-profile medical congresses, including ERA/EDTA (European Renal Association/European Dialysis and Transplant Association) and the massive European Society of Cardiology congress, an event that brought 35,000 cardiologists to the city. Prior to that, it had hosted the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) congress in 2014, and the European Federation of Periodontology congress in 2015. Future wins in the medical sector include the European Association of Urology, which will be returning to London after almost 30 years for its 2017 congress.