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Researcher Development

Researcher Development


Logistics include organising poster boards, catering, travel arrangements, cleaning and ensuring health and safety for attendees. Again, these are things that require a bit of time in advance to organise and you should plan for as soon as possible (if you are thinking of providing these provisions). Preparations should ideally begin once you know when and where the conference will be held.

If you are hosting poster presentations, the university has poster boards that can be used and are stored in the Amory Building (Geography). If you wish to use them, kindly send an email to They have around 40 poster boards (in which both sides can be used), which should be enough in most cases.

Email example:

“Dear Sir/Madam,

I hope this email finds you well.

I am part of the Insert name conference committee this year and we heard that there were posters boards from the geography department we could borrow.

We would be extremely grateful if we were able to borrow the poster boards for our conference to be held on the Insert date?

Many thanks,

Organising Committee”

The university provides a porterage service including moving (posters boards and/or furniture), disposal service and room setup services.

The porterage service can be accessed on the University website.

Follow the appropriate links for the service that you require.

If you anticipate the conference will create mess that the organisers cannot clean up adequately themselves, you can request a cleaning service from the university. Unfortunately, this service is not free, so make sure it is absolutely necessary before requesting it.

Follow this link to access the cleaning service, and click on “Request a Cleaning Service” to book one.

If you are planning to host the conference online or use a hybrid approach (in-person and online), two good options are Teams and Zoom which are available through the university. For both platforms you can create an event that can be joined by registrants of the conference. Do not forget to password protect it to avoid unwanted people joining.

A quick guide on setting up a meeting on Zoom:

  1. You can download Zoom by following this website:
  2. Select the “Sign in with SSO” option to log in via your university email
  3. Click the “+” icon on the left-hand column to schedule a meeting
  4. Enter the details of the meeting. In the “Advanced Options”, a good option to select is to mute participants on entry
  5. You can then send out the meeting invite by selecting “Copy Invitation” and distribute via email.
  6. Once the meeting has started, you can select the “Share Screen” icon to share the PowerPoint presentation that you have compiled with all the presenters’ slides. If there are virtual presenters, you can allow them to share their screen and video by making them hosts prior to their designated presentation slot.

Whether or not you are running your conference in-person or going for a hybrid approach (online and in-person), you may wish to request AV (audio visual) support from the university to set up the necessary equipment before the beginning of the conference. It will also be handy to know who to contact in the case that equipment may fail during the conference – you can book a technician to assist you in the setup of the conference. Additionally, equipment such as pointers and microphones may also be requested through the service.

Use this link to access AV support.

When running a conference, it is necessary to consider the health and safety of all participants. Each venue has different health and safety risks and it will be best to contact the administrator of the space that you will be using. You will likely need to fill in a health and safety form and provide this information to the attendees at the beginning of the conference and display information, such as the nearest fire escape in the event of a fire, in the conference area.

Decide on what type of catering you need. Most conferences will provide tea, coffee, water and biscuits during refreshment breaks. Depending on the length of your conference (i.e., half day vs. full day), you might also want to consider serving lunch. If you do, decide if packed meals or a buffet-style catering would be more suitable for your conference. Take into account the budget you have available to spend on catering (Chapter 4).

Get quotes. Once you have decided on the type of catering you need, contact caterers (eg, Taste Catering, Fresha, Fresh Ideas) for quotes based on an estimated attendee number. Don’t worry about the exact number of attendees at this point. You can always adjust the quantity based on the number of registrations you receive closer to the date of the conference. But check with your caterer what the latest date is to make these adjustments. Don’t forget to include catering for the speakers, any judges or sponsors and your team. For tea and coffee, you will need coffee percolators and water boilers. You might be able to hire them from your caterer or alternatively, you can approach an event hire company (eg, Total Event Hire, South West Event Hire) for a quote. You may need to buy certain items like milk, tea, coffee, etc. yourself. Before placing any orders, check back with your finance team that you are still within budget.

Dietary requirements & allergies. Make sure to cater for all dietary requirements and allergies. You can include a section about dietary requirements/allergies in the registration form to easily get this information (Chapter 6). Don’t forget to ask your speakers, any judges or sponsors and your team for their dietary requirements if they are not registered.

Don’t forget about the small things. Do you have an allocated space to serve the food and seating for your attendees to enjoy their food? Have you bought coffee and tea bags? Are milk, milk alternatives and sugar available? Do you have cups to serve tea and coffee in? Do you need cutlery and napkins for lunch? Your caterer or event hire can supply you with crockery and cutlery. Alternatively, you can buy them yourself and store them after the conference for next time. You could also ask attendees to bring a cup/mug for sustainability reasons, but make sure to have them also available on the day for people who don’t bring their own.

Provide transportation

If you need to provide transportation for the conference participants, please consider the points below

  • Confirm the attendance of all participants early
  • Source for the best transportation option (eg, shuttle bus, train)

If this is an Exeter University event happening on the Streatham campus for all students (including students in the Penryn and St. Luke’s campus), please check that you provide options for their travel.

Direction to the conference venue

Having a clear direction to the conference venue is key. Consider sharing a map to the university/building, with clear written instructions. You can send this information to all participants in an email with the final event details before the event day (see Chapter 10).

Directional signage

Consider putting up clear signs leading to the conference venue from the entrance, bus stop or car park. If you are using multiple rooms in a building, indicate the directions to those rooms clearly.

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