I noticed quite a few tucking into the ice cream and candyfloss that was on offer.
Joint ACDM/PSI Conference May 2000
11 Paul Loughlin and Andy Grieve had just finished off their last pint of the evening when they hit upon the idea of an ACDM/PSI joint conference and from this simple idea came a huge challenge for both the ACDM and PSI conference teams.11
Meetings were held to decide the conference date, a venue, the format of the conference and how to organise two very effective teams into a cohesive unit. Luckily the venue chose itself (very few hotels can accommodate 400+ delegates). We went for a date that was mid way between the usual conference dates and a joint team was set up to co-ordinate the joint day and entertainments. Then it was back on to familiar territory, arranging the agenda, finding/losing speakers and worrying about whether or not we will once again have a successful conference.
It may sound like it was a simple process bringing together two different groups to arrange a conference but there were many challenges on the way. Included were different approaches to conference organising, agreeing on financial arrangements, meeting a diverse audience’s expectation, the cost of the conference, improvements to the exhibitor/sponsor recruitment process and ensuring no duplication in topics/speakers.
Sunday 21st May appeared, all the challenges had been met and once again we had a full conference. The delegate conference folders were ready and we were all nervous yet excited to see if all the hard work would produce another educational and enjoyable conference.
Sunday 21st May appeared, all the challenges had been met and once again we had a full conference. The delegate conference folders were ready and we were all nervous yet excited to see if all the hard work would produce another educational and enjoyable conference.
The first few delegates arrived, not really sure where they were going. The hotel was so large that orientating yourself was proving difficult. It was soon all hands into action with delegates coming thick and fast. Name badges and conference folders all had to be handed out, hopefully this only took a few minutes for each delegate. Delegates were meeting old and new colleagues and some popped into Brighton to sample the shopping or for a pleasant walk along the sea front. At around 8pm the seafood buffet was ready and I noticed quite a few tucking into the ice cream and candyfloss that was on offer. Unfortunately the conference exhibitors were still setting up their stands because the hotel did not allow access to the exhibition hall until gone 7pm. Hopefully this did not inconvenience anyone too much and the conference committee would like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding.
Monday morning had arrived and the difficult decision on which session to attend, the beauty of a joint conference was that you could pick and choose which speakers you listened to. Unfortunately I do believe most delegates attended their own organisation’s sessions. The ACDM meeting started with the opening address by Paul Loughlin and then moved on to Fraser Skirrow and David Connolly speaking on their thoughts behind mergers and acquisitions and the potential benefits as well as the pitfalls.
This was followed by coffee and the inevitable discussion about who would be the next companies to merge. For the second half of the morning we had Ian Ouslman from the MCA who gave us an enlightening presentation on the MCA and their role as auditor. I am sure many people went back to their office later that week to see if they had procedures in place to pass an MCA audit. The ACDM AGM and the selection of the new Chairperson Maria Small followed this.
The breakout sessions came in the first half of the afternoon after an initial presentation by Mario Papillon on ‘International Interactions with Partners Overseas’. Ten groups of approximately 15 people went off to discuss ways of improving the communication with our colleagues from overseas and how to increase our understanding of the cultural differences. Later on that afternoon we were lucky enough to have Professor Littlejohn from NICE to present on this government quango and its benefits to the public health of the nation and the processes behind the decision making. This was followed by interactive SOPs on the Intranet and Raj Long’s presentation on the EU Data Privacy Directive. With the day events over it was time for a spot of networking and much socialising over dinner, a quick flurry (very quick in most cases) on the roulette or blackjack table to win your fortune and then dancing late into the night.
Tuesday was the joint ACDM/PSI day with over 350 delegates attending. The day started with a focus on regulatory. John Lewis from the MCA and Trevor Gibbs of GlaxoWellcome both outlined their perspective of the regulatory jungle. After morning coffee Stuart Cummings and Jorgen Seldrup focused on the evolution and the future of both Data Management and Statistics.
Following on from lunch which was again fish (not that I am saying we had fish every day), were presentations focusing on clinical research outside Europe and North America. All four speakers Bill Wardell (Covance), Mandy Gibson (Pfizer), Wendy Buckland (PPD Development) and Mike Collins (Pfizer) gave us a good understanding of running clinical trials outside the confines of Europe and America.
IT was the next subject to tackle and we were given a glimpse into the Industry Perspective on IT strategies by Mike Collins. Mark Boardman followed this up with a presentation on the Trends in Statistical Software and Russell Stevens explained the Evolution of the Clinical Trial Databases. The day events were rounded off by an informative presentation from Alan Hogg on how to promote a professional image. Once again after 5pm most minds returned to the socialising and getting dressed for the event of the conference, the Gala Dinner. The dinner was once again a success and David Morgan entertained the diners with an excellent after dinner speech. The dancing and drinking went on into the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Wednesday morning saw many bleary eyed delegates dragging themselves into the conference hall to listen to topics concerned with the Training & Develop-ment of Data Managers. Caroline Fenning and Andy MacLoed talked us through their careers and what future opportunities they believe exist for Data Managers. This was then followed by ‘Who wants to be a Data Manager’ a very lively presentation by Paul Fardy and Nic Kimberly outlining the skill sets of data managers.
The last session of the conference was around partnerships and GlaxoWellcome presented on how they are utilising local area offices to perform data entry and basic data validation. This was followed by a very informative presentation from Dick Boulding about how to make partnerships with IT organisations more effective for both parties.
Sadly the first ACDM vs. PSI cricket match was cancelled. Hopefully this event may be arranged for the next ACDM/PSI conference.
I would like to thank both the ACDM and PSI committees for putting together such a well organised and educational, yet enjoyable conference.
Robert King
ACDM Conference Sub-Committee