The World Congress of Intensive Care is the largest biennial gathering of official critical care societies from over 80 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.
Project in depth
World Congress of Intensive Care
This was a significant opportunity for ANZICS and ACCCN to showcase regional strengths and raise their global profile. There was also an imperative to extend reach and remove barriers to attendance for developing countries as this was an unique part of Australia's bid to host.
High on the organising committee's agenda were ensuring a top-quality scientific program with a global perspective, a balance of male and female speakers, creating a Congress with 'wow' factor, plenty of networking opportunities, reaching key markets across the globe to drive attendance numbers and providing options for low to middle-income countries to attend.
To guide all Congress activity including branding, program content, marketing, sponsorship offerings 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 meausreable goals were documented:
- a high number of countries attending
- 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 financial support for LMIC 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.
Reach - truly global representation with 78 countries and attendance exceeded the target of 2,000 attendees.
Program - the program was cited as the best that has been developed at any World Cognress 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 overal 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, mindfullness 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 the high level of interest in training opportunities in Melbourne from any overseas and interstate clinicians.