The Alumni Summit: Six Months On

By all accounts, BELS inaugural event in the UK, The Alumni Summit, held July 9-10 2015 in Oxford, was a resounding success. Attendees from the UK and abroad offered extremely positive feedback.

We checked in with the expats six months on and found that exciting progress is being delivered, discussions are happening, and projects are being planned.  And we expect much more to come because the UK is closer to top-of-mind for the expats/overseas alumni who attended.

Feedback from The Summit attendees includes:

  • The networking was of excellent calibre with UK-based and expat/overseas alum decision-makers connecting on site during the event.
  • Both the expats/overseas alum and the UK-based attendees talked to people they normally wouldn’t.
  • The expats/overseas alum left feeling much better informed about the state of affairs in the UK, wanting to know more and to do more with us, and excited about the possibilities that can come from so many new connections in key markets.
  • The Summit exceeded their expectations; they would attend future BELS events and recommend such to their peers.
  • Attendees believe there is potential value for the UK in engaging with its expats, and for the expats themselves in engaging more with the UK health and life science sector.
  • Six months following the event, concrete economic benefit to the UK has been achieved as a direct result of this interaction with our expats/overseas alum, and discussions related to an array of future projects are underway. Specifics will be reported in due course.

The vast majority of attendees report:

  • having an improved opinion of the UK health and life science sector
  • being better informed about the health and life science sector in the UK
  • feeling better connected to this UK sector
  • believing BELS can be a game changer for the UK

BELS is launching a Membership Drive in early 2016. Delivering one to two events in 2016 is a very high priority.

Specific comments from attendees at the Alumni Summit:

“Hold more of these events so that connections made may be strengthened.”

“Maintain and develop this event.”

“I’ve already begun this process (strengthening connections) with introductions to possible collaborations regarding precision drug discovery approaches.”

“I’d like to see more meetings with opportunities to meet with UK government, companies, start-ups, entrepreneurs, scientists and academic institutions.”

“I found the idea that rather than competing with the USA in terms of therapeutic-focused biotechs the UK is instead focusing upon its strengths in the genetic technologies area. I found this both exciting and fascinating.”

“I was inspired to learn about ways in which the NHS sees itself as a catalyst for innovation.”

“I was positively surprised at how much the UK was doing particularly in big data and healthcare records. The US has a lot to learn from these efforts.”

“I really enjoyed the conference – I made some very helpful business connections.”

“The conference was very timely and I have had offers of collaborations and business advice already.”

“I think you brought together a really interesting group of people with a diverse but stimulating set of presentations.  I would be keen to attend any future event.”  

“It was great to see you in Oxford and congratulations on the conference which I think was a tremendous success.” 

“This was a fabulous event and a great format.  The panel discussions were extremely informative.” 

“The content of the meeting was thought provoking and provided a fascinating insight into how much things are changing within academic research community.”

“What a valuable experience – impressive energy and creativity in our Oxford community, both in ‘the locals’ as well as in the Oxford global diaspora.  I know there will be a great deal of interest in your work as well as in the potential business opportunities when we return to the Bay Area.”

“It was a terrific event. Great networking and I learned a tremendous amount.  I would be very interested in participating more in future.”

“It was a fantastic event and I have left thoroughly inspired.”

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