The 14th Congress of the World Federation of Societies of Intensive and Critical Care Medicine 2019

The World Congress of Intensive Care is the largest Biennial gathering of official critical care societies from over 84 countries with a captive audience of over 2,000 delegates including key policy decision makers across all domains of critical care. Melbourne, Australia won the hosting rights in 2015 after a competitive bidding process.

Highlights include...
Format: Plenary sessions, up to 9 concurrent sessions at any one time, workshops, poster displays, mini-oral sessions in the exhibition hall
Social events: Welcome Reception, International Speakers’ Dinner, Paediatric Dinner, Party Night
Programme: 4 days
Australia and New Zealand Intensive Care Society (ANZICS)
Australian College of Critical Care Nurses (ACCCN)
World Federation of Societies of Intensive and Critical Care Medicine (WFSICCM)
2350 delegates and 60 exhibiting companies
Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre

Project in depth

The 14th Congress of the World Federation of Societies of Intensive and Critical Care Medicine 2019

The Challenge

This was a significant opportunity for ANZICS and ACCCN to showcase regional strengths and raise global profile. There was also an imperative to extend reach and remove barriers to attendance for developing countries as this was unique part of Australia’s bid to host.

The Solution

To guide all Congress activity including branding, program content, marketing, sponsorship offering and social event design, three core goals were developed:

  1. Engaging and rigorous scientific content with a global perspective;
  2. Inclusive social program that provides enhanced networking opportunities;
  3. A safe and aspirational environment, a true Aussie experience.

To measure success and aid decision making, key objectives with measurable goals were documented:

  • A high number of countries attendings
  • Low to middle income countries (LMIC) financially supported to attend the Congress
  • Inclusion of LMIC delegates as speakers
  • Gender balance amongst presenters
  • A non-traditional exhibition hall.

These objectives were key to how the sponsorship offering was developed and communicated, with companies knowing exactly what their investment was going towards. Similar messaging was developed for attendees, who could in addition to registering pledge financially support for low to middle income country attendees.

This investment in the future and improving global standards was a significant factor in being able to secure state government funding earmarked specifically to fully fund (travel, accommodation and registration) for developing country attendees.

Once in Melbourne, a welcoming, non-hierarchal ambience was achieved from multidisciplinary sessions, stages that welcomed young, new, and experienced practitioners, and a social event designed to create memories of Melbourne for many years.

The Outcome

Reach - truly global representation with 85 countries and attendance in line with targets.

Program - the program was cited as the best that has been developed at any World Congress and showcased a range of speakers from Melbourne, interstate as well as leading international centres. Two major world first presentations with simultaneous publication in the two most prestigious medical journals in the world opened the Congress. Efforts to address gender balance amongst presenters was highly successful with an overall balance of female 50.46% and male 49.54%.

Experience - regarded as providing the best-ever social program at a World Congress showcasing Australian performing arts, food, beer and wine to an international audience. Daily enhanced by a busy exhibition hall due to its innovative nature with the Petting Zoo, BBQ Centre, Mindfulness Centre and Engagement wall on the backdrop of Victorian fauna. 

Impact - low to middle income country delegates and speakers regarded their involvement as “life and career changing", and only possible due to the valuable support provided. Many satellite international committee meetings, clinical workshops, training events and policy discussions with strong local leadership took place during the Congress. The successful election of an Australian senior specialist to the World Federation of Intensive Care, ensuring their voice remains strong on the international stage. Invitations have been received to collaborate on research and data registries from several international organisations. Equally so has been high level of interest in training opportunities in Melbourne from many overseas and interstate clinicians.

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