Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am Professor of Neonatal Physiology at University College Cork and Director of the Science Foundation Ireland funded INFANT Research Centre (www.infantcentre.ie). I have a career-long track record in clinical neurophysiology and at INFANT I lead the thematic research areas related to the neonatal brain. My group comprises a multidisciplinary research team with an international reputation in the area of neurological monitoring in the neonatal intensive care unit, particularly in seizure detection and early diagnosis of brain injury. The INFANT centre has developed a computer system for monitoring the brain of the newborn baby — the first of its kind and a first for Irish research.
What was the conference about?
In 2015 we won the bid to host the 9th International Conference on Brain Monitoring & Neuroprotection in the Newborn, hosting 250 international delegates in Cork. It was a conference dedicated to the detection and treatment of brain injury in newborn babies.
In your opinion, why was Ireland successful in securing this conference?
The INFANT centre in Cork is at the forefront of research in neonatal brain injury and our international research reputation was also key in attracting so many delegates. That, and of course the fact that it was being held in Ireland!
What went into the event preparations, and what support did you receive?
It took a year to prepare for the bid. Fáilte Ireland promoted the event extensively and provided a conference grant, as did Science Foundation Ireland. These grants were hugely beneficial and allowed us to invite a large number of international speakers.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of hosting an international conference?
Go for it; talk to Fáilte Ireland, and engage the services of a conference organiser. They are worth their weight in gold and take away all the pain!
What is Ireland’s legacy from hosting this international conference?
The committee were so impressed with the 2015 conference that we have won it again for 2017, this time bringing 400 delegates to my home county of Kerry. They chose Ireland over Florida!
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