What does it mean to organise a sustainable conference in Gothenburg?
An interview with Luciana Löberg, Graphene Flagship Event Manager
The Graphene Flagship would not be the same without its annual Graphene Week. This and the other events of the consortium have helped build and consolidate a strong community of academic and industrial experts who are working in graphene and 2D materials in Europe and beyond.
Luciana Löberg, Graphene Flagship Event Manager, has organised events for the Graphene Flagship since 2015 in the Dissemination Work Package. Explore her insights into the upcoming Graphene Week 2023 in Gothenburg, and you might discover that your perspective on scientific conferences will never be quite the same again.
What are your thoughts on conferences in the aftermath of COVID-19?
In-person conferences are back, but challenges remain. It became more important to organise scientific conferences that facilitate connection and networking opportunities. In the wake of the pandemic, there's a renewed emphasis on the role of events not only in delivering inspiration and knowledge but also in enhancing happiness and promoting positive well-being. The organising committee has put a lot of thought into the social programme of the conference and I hope everybody will be excited to join.
What changes have you seen over the years?
In general, the conference sector is embracing sustainability. The younger conference participants, in particular, pay attention to sustainable practices and are increasingly vocal about their desire for environmentally friendly events that align with their values.
We are also thrilled that more corporate professionals are engaging in our events, aligning with our original goals to bring graphene products towards commercialisation.
What does it entail to host a sustainable conference in Gothenburg?
Acclaimed as the most sustainable destination by the Global Destination Sustainability Index for six consecutive years, Gothenburg is drawing increasing attention and gaining recognition in global media outlets. We strive to achieve excellent sustainability standards during Graphene Week 2023, but what does it mean practically?
The conference venue we chose uses energy-efficient lighting and equipment and has excellent scores in water management, waste recycling and choice of sustainable food. The venue can be easily accessed on foot and by public transport.
Beyond environmental sustainability, however, the wellbeing of both the conference’s participants and workers is very valuable. Feeling good is about more than the absence of illness. Exercise, beautiful music, safety, community – health can be so many different things!
I will give you some examples: we encourage Graphene Week participants to take part in the Gothenburg Marathon which takes place on 3 September. This year’s Diversity in Graphene session will focus on healthy work culture, and the conference venue is equipped with a wellbeing area, which is perfect to distress.
We also tried our best to invite and represent a balanced ratio of male and female speakers. Our aim is showcasing a variety of perspectives that enrich the conference experience for all attendees and contribute to a more inclusive environment.
You talked about food, how is the conference menu chosen and what factors have you considered?
The menu is a surprise, but I can tell you that we have locally sourced foods with high quality ingredients, and there will be delicious vegetarian options. Regarding drinks: we have reusable sports bottles.
Are there any insights you'd like to share beforehand?
You will be impressed by this year’s pavilion. Come see the graphene-enhanced car.
What aspects of a conference do you take pride in?
In the early morning before the delegates arrive, I spend some time talking with the staff who work at the venue. They are essential for the success of the event: they make sure that the food is ready, the venue is clean, the conference badges are delivered and so on. My goal is to create an positive impact and an enjoyable environment for them as well.
I am also overjoyed to meet people attending Graphene Flagship every year. In particular, I see former Graphene Flagship students, who took part in previous Graphene Study and Graphene Week events, that are now leaders in their fields. This reminds me of the Graphene Flagship's broader mission to nurture and inspire the next generation. Their success stories inspire current students and researchers to aspire to make lasting contributions to the graphene community and society at large.
Last but not least, how are you planning to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Graphene Flagship?
The anniversary will be the common theme of the entire Graphene Week, but we also have a delicious 10-year birthday cake, kindly sponsored by AIXTRON.
I am looking forward to Graphene Week 2023 in Gothenburg, and we will soon announce the location of Graphene Week 2024.
Join us at Graphene Week and prepare to be truly inspired!