Advanced Materials Congress Takes a ‘Knowledge Experience’ Cruise

Author: Casey Gale       

Advanced Materials Congress

The Advanced Materials Congress has been held on cruises — “a happy, kept environment” — for the past five years.

Researchers, chemists, physicists, engineers, health-care, and other professionals from approximately 75 countries gathered March 24-27 at the 25th Advanced Materials Congress (IAAM) to discuss new innovations and technology in the advanced materials field, loosely defined as materials that are used in high-tech applications.

IAAM founder Ashutosh Tiwari, Ph.D., wanted “to move to the next level,” with the Silver Jubilee program. So this year, the congress was expanded to include six conferences. Each was devoted to a specific segment of the industry, including the Battery Materials and Technology Conference, the Ceramics and Dielectric Materials Conference, and the Smart Materials Conference.

Why We Like It

The Advanced Materials Congress isn’t held in a traditional scientific conference setting. Called a “Knowledge Experience at Sea,” the three-day event takes place aboard a Viking Line cruise ship that departs from Stockholm, Sweden, sails across the Baltic Sea to Helsinki, Finland, and then returns to Stockholm.

Advanced Materials Congress

Ashutosh Tiwari

The idea for an ocean-going congress was sparked in 2013, when IAAM hosted its event at an all-inclusive beach resort for the first time in Izmit, Turkey.

“Delegates were pleased to attend that congress and the sessions were also very lively and quite interactive,” Tiwari said. People would sit together “late into the night and have long discussions. After this congress, we realized we should come up with a more vibrant congress format for the delegates.” Tiwari and his team saw that “in a happy, kept environment,” it was much easier for the delegates to interact and network all day long — during breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as during social activities. It was after he went on a cruise for a personal vacation that a light went off for Tiwari — a cruise ship would be the ideal place to foster constant interaction among the delegates. The congress has taken place on cruises for the past five years.

Smooth Sailing

If the idea of a meeting on a cruise ship sounds to you like a setting that’s too recreational for critical industry knowledge exchange, you’re not alone.

“Sometimes people feel we are going for fun,” Tiwari said. “That’s a big challenge as the organizer. Sometimes they say, ‘Oh, you guys are not doing actual serious conferences,’ but this is not true.” In fact, by making use of the cruise ship’s special deck dedicated to conferences, Tiwari’s team carves out an area strictly focused on education. “Land conferences normally run for eight hours, but we start from breakfast until dinner, and then include social activities,” Tiwari said. “This is a complete package.”

Casey Gale is a Convene associate editor.