Senior academics from nine UK universities are to work with the Association of British Professional Conference Organisers (ABPCO) on new research designed to boost the competitiveness of managers working within the association sector.
The academics met at London’s Barbican recently to map out a research agenda. The initiative follows ABPCO’s decision to create a new membership category specifically to connect academic research, researchers and professional practice.
“Universities are often seen by practitioners only in relation to issues associated with the flow of students to the industry,” said Rhodri Thomas, professor of tourism and events policy at Leeds Beckett University.
“That’s important, but universities can offer more. A significant volume of research is produced by academics that, if presented appropriately, might prompt practitioners to re-think some of their practices or help them answer some of the questions that challenge them from time-to-time”.
ABPCO’s Caroline Windsor added that gaining access to research produced in universities was one of ABPCO’s five priorities and stressed the links between ABPCO and leading universities have never been stronger.
“We recently undertook a poll of our members and this issue came out top,” said Windsor. “There is a thirst for more knowledge and we hope that this collaboration will help create a flow of useful research to help quench it”.
The exact title and direction of the new research project is still to be finalised, although the initial meeting was designed to produce some ideas. The associations tells CN it will provide seedcorn funding for the research. The academics, via Rhodri Thomas, are committed to putting forward two or three projects for discussion by the ABPCO board.
Universities taking part in the ABPCO project include:
Leeds Beckett University
University of Surrey
University of Greenwich
University of Derby
University of Sunderland
London Metropolitan University
Liverpool John Moores University