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Advice for hosting conferences/symposia

Suggested steps and estimated time when planning for a conference/symposium

It is highly recommended to begin planning and preparation a minimum of eight months (ideally 12 months) prior to the conference.

Web Services will need a minimum of eight weeks notice to create, test and make-live an online conference registration form, and longer to create a special conference website.

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Finalise the budget and set the registration fee

Estimates of catering costs, possible venue hire costs, etc. will help with the setting of registration fees. Final registration fees must be confirmed before the registration form can be created. This step can take some time; and is also dependent on the number of expected delegates and the number of presentations. Refer to the budget template (see below) as planning for the conference begins.

The Divisional office can provide assistance with budget planning for conferences/symposia.

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Organise the venue

Preference should be given to University venues. If a University venue is used, there are likely to be no charges. However, an application for a waiver of fees has to be made. Ask Timetables for the waiver forms when you book a conference venue with them.


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Create conference web pages and a registration form

Creating a conference page(s) on your department website is fairly straightforward and has the added advantage that the page(s) can go-live as needed. The online registration form can then be linked off the conference page(s) when it is ready.

Should an online, secure registration and payment form be required, Web Services will create one. For small conferences/symposia an online registration form is not always required, instead pdf registration forms can be created and made available via the conference webpage and as an email attachment.

The Divisional office is able to assist with the creation of conference web pages and liaising with Web Services.

Read in detail the procedure required for the creation of conference web page(s) and an online registration form.

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Seeking sponsorship

Approaching any organisation for sponsorship needs to be co-ordinated across the University. Existing suppliers may need to be given some priority.

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The procedure required for the creation of conference web pages and an online registration form

We recommend hosting the conference webpages on your department website, rather than creating a separate website; this means that you can create the webpages yourselves, leaving just the registration form for Web Services to create. A registration page will take less time to create than a whole website.

Alternatively a conference site can be set up by conference organisers using the University's blog template.

How to set up a University blog site for your conference.

Here are the steps for getting an online registration form built and ready for use:

  • In reply to this request, Web Services will send an online registration template form, and notes on requirements for a conference banner image (should one be required). The template will need to be completed, and a copyright free/permission granted banner image found.
    Send these to Web Services so that the registration page can be built.
    E Commerce purchasing form process.
  • An E Commerce Application Form must also be completed in order for credit card payments to be processed.
    Download the E Commerce Application Form.
    Please send the completed form to
    Cashiers will provide a TEST activity key which must be sent to Web Services before registration form testing can begin.
  • Once the form has been completed and it and the banner image sent to Web Services, allow a minimum of six to eight weeks for the online registration form to be ready to go-live. Allow a minimum of one week for testing and editing of the registration form.
  • When the registration form is satisfactory, request the LIVE key from Cashiers. Once the LIVE key is received, forward it to Web Services.
    NB once the live key is given to Web Services, do not do any more testing as the page will be active before it goes live.
  • Once the registration form is live, link to it from the conference webpages.

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Things to think about when planning a conference or symposium

  • Create a simple web address for your conference e.g. This unique conference web address can be redirected to the actual conference landing page on your department website by contacting Web Services.
  • A simpler, more straightforward registration form (with few options) will take less time and testing than a complex multi-option form.
  • Set the close of registrations to one week, or two weeks (for conferences with a large number of delegates) before the start of the conference. This will make catering orders, creation of conference packs, admin for the conference, etc. easier and more straightforward.

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