July 2003
Our impression of the ACDM Conference 2003
This year was the ACDM's crystal conference and it was held at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, Wales. The hotel was amazing and was nothing like what we were expecting.
The conference began on the Sunday evening with dinner and a quiz. There were two tables set aside so that any newcomers could all sit together and get to know each other. This was a good idea as walking into a huge room with over one hundred people you don't know can be very daunting. The quiz was fun and a good way to get people talking to each other. Our table won the quiz and we were given 2 bottles of Champagne!
Next morning the conference, entitled 'From Discovery to Pharmacy', began. The presentations were very informative and were well presented. It was very interesting to see other companies perspectives on the Pharmaceutical Industry, as GSK has been our only place of work since leaving University. Those of you who went to the conference may remember us, as our manager showed our security pass photos on a slide in the Phase 1 Data Management presentation! All in all, day one was very interesting. We started to meet lots of people, mainly the exhibitors, and learn about some of the other companies in the Pharma world. We were also starting to build up goodie bags full of free gifts.
That evening was the 70's disco with the ABBA tribute band. We made the effort to dress up and it was really good fun. We were all a little nervous as we had heard that a lot of people don't normally dress up at the conference, so we all got together beforehand and enjoyed the Champagne we had won the night before. Once we plucked up the courage to go down to the bar we realised that a lot of people had made a good effort at dressing up, especially the ACDM Conference Sub-Committee. Once the ABBA tribute band had begun, everyone started to relax a bit more and enjoy themselves. There was lots of dancing and drinking going on. The party went on until the early hours of Tuesday morning and there were definitely a few sore heads the next day!
On day 2 of the conference we had a very interesting talk from Diane Simpson on Graphology. She asked us lots of questions, which we answered truthfully, and the answers were an indication of what type of person you are. She also asked us to sign our names on a piece of paper. It turned out that if you underline your signature you think you are important because as a child you were taught to underline words that were important. It was quite funny to see who had done this. There were also some other interesting talks on Phase II-III trials and the data management. At the end of the second day we felt like we had learnt a lot more about the whole drug development process.
On the final night of the conference we had a gala dinner with a Frank Sinatra tribute band. It was really nice to see people dressed up in their dinner jackets and dresses. The tribute band was excellent and there were even a few couples dancing even though the men were a bit reluctant to ask the ladies to dance. There was also a rather impressive ice sculpture of a crystal with ACDM sculpted on it. We all had a really good night and it carried on until the early hours of the morning in the bar upstairs.
The third and final day at the Celtic Manor Resort saw some more interesting talks, covering topics that neither of us had much prior knowledge of. Looking back on the conference as a whole, it was evident that the subjects chosen were deliberately broad, to ensure that there were several topics that would be new to everyone attending. The final day also provided an opportunity for the exhibitors to put across their messages and advertisements. The lucky ones who had entered and won the various prize draws were able to collect their loot (unfortunately the X-Box games console eluded us!), while the rest of us contented ourselves with the impressive pen collection we had amassed over the previous three days.
As a learning experience, the conference was excellent. It helped put the drug development process into perspective, through the use of presentations, interactive sessions and informal 'networking'. In short, it was a thoroughly enjoyable few days in a fantastic venue. If ever you have the opportunity to attend a future conference, it is highly recommended!
Kelly Hardes & Stuart Lavin
GSK