Organizing a conference

If you have visited a few conferences, you might be inspired to organise one yourself. Organising a conference is great for your network, and brings a lot of experience that is also useful if you later on continue a career outside academia. Usually, academic conferences are organised by a scientific society or a group of researchers in a specific field (network). If you do it for the first time, remember to start small, and ask for advice and help from your supervisor or colleagues, as organising a conference is very time-consuming! When you don’t have time for all the time consuming organisational aspects this might involve, hiring a professional conference organiser (PCO) might be an option.   

Do it yourself:

Hire a Professional Conference Organiser (PCO):

  • Overview of PCO members of the International Association of Professional Congress Organisers (IAPCO), per country.
  • What responsibilities do you want to assign to your PCO? Use this checklist to help you decide which services you might need!



Due to the fact that conferences are usually internationally orientated, organising as well as attending one can be very time and money consuming. In some cases, a web conference, webinar or online workshop can be an outcome. This allows participants and attendees to join the conference from home, their computers being interconnected by a web-based or downloaded application.

But if you DO organise a conference at a physical location, apart from video conferencing there are also other tools to help you with the organisational practicalities, such as file sharing. Check the e-course Online Scholarly Collaboration on the Training & Support portal of the University Library for more information on this.