As association conferences go, the University Research Magazine Association’s annual meeting is at the “exceptionally good” end of the spectrum.
I think the winning formula may be an international mix of longtime colleagues who share advice and resources throughout the year; an influx of new members who keep us on our toes with fresh ideas; and a rotating conference location, allowing us to take turns hosting and our showing off our parent institutions and publications.
For instance, Penn State took its turn in 2008. (Acclaimed PSU geologist and climate change researcher Richard Alley gave a memorable presentation.) We’ve been hosted in Maryland by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, we’ve met up in Evanston and Chicago (check out the blog post!) when our meeting was sponsored by Fermilab and Northwestern University, and in Binghamton, New York last year, just to name a few.