Hosting a Life Sciences Event? Be Sure to Keep This in Mind

Nov 20, 2019

By Athene Sirivallop, Director, Conference Center Operations at MassBio

In October, MassBio announced that it will open a new conference and business center in Kendall Square, the MassBioHub, exclusively for its members. To help members get a head start on planning, as we rapidly approach 2020, we’ve compiled the below tips to keep in mind when preparing for your next event – from informal staff huddles to full-scale conferences:

Choose a Theme: What is the key takeaway you want attendees to hone in on? Whether you’re highlighting the significance of the #StateOfPossible or discussing what it means to be #PATIENTDRIVEN®, a central theme is critical to promotion and branding of your event. Bonus points if you can make the theme interactive! 

Location: 43% of event planners say location is the most important factor when planning an event. Think: near public transportation and/or where people work. So, for the life sciences, the Kendall Square cluster may be the best place to start looking. 


  • For conferences or large corporate events try to avoid popular vacation times and extreme temperatures (middle of the summer and winter) and for New England, be sure to keep an eye on the snow forecast. Additionally, holding an event Tuesday-Thursday will avoid the Monday Blues and the Friday rush to the weekend.
  • For Board Meetings the best time of the week tends to be Tuesday-Thursday.
  • For Networking Events, planning on a Thursday evening allows attendees to unwind with the majority of the week behind them.

Session Length: While many conferences tend to book 40-60 minute time slots for speakers, studies show that attention increases from the beginning of a presentation to the ten minute mark, and then will begin to decrease after that. Attendees tend to prefer 20-30-minute presentations.

Patient Voice: We are in an industry dedicated to improving patient lives – our conferences should reflect that. Patient representation and participation in events is important, as such, events should look to include patients or patient advocates as speakers or panel members when possible. Are you presenting clinical trial data at your event? Consider inviting patients that participated. For additional resources, patient advisory boards can help life sciences companies more fully incorporate the patient voice.

D&I: Diversity of industry and society should be reflected at all events. Make sure there are appropriate levels of accommodations for patients or attendees with disabilities. MassBio’s Policies to ensure diversity at MassBio events prohibits all-male panels (or “manels”), ensures gender balance and diversity of steering committee members, and seeks the best and brightest to participate regardless of gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, ethnicity, nationality, veteran status, disability, religion, or age. We encourage everyone hosting events to adopt a similar policy.

To learn more about MassBioHub and to book your next meeting or event, please visit or email

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