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Case Study: HEFi 2019

Case Study: HEFi 2019

What is HEFi?

The Higher Education Futures institute (HEFi) pioneers excellence in teaching practice to optimise student learning.

HEFi 2019 lecture theatre


Based at the University of Birmingham, they help staff engage with the latest educational technologies and theoretical approaches to learning, to deliver the best student learning experience and prepare students for the workplace of the future.

Louise helped us to organise the HEFi19 conference here on campus, and we all agreed this was a game-changer.  Having professional support meant that we were able to actually enjoy the conference, so we will certainly use this service again in the future.   

Prof Kathy Armour, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education)


The challenge

HEFi’s annual conference has always been an internal event. For 2019, the aim was to reach higher and further.

Goal: to attract a new national audience of delegates and speakers

Man sitting in the Bramall taking notes on an ipad


The action

The conference leads are busy people with many other time commitments. They took the logical step of using Louise Walczak, Academic Conference and Events Manager at University of Birmingham | Conferences & events.

Delegates talking to man with a laptop infront of an exhibition stand

Louise provided support in two crucial ways.

1.      Securing sponsorship

The HEFi Strategic Advisory Board identified that securing sponsorship was essential.

The conference leads used their sector expertise to find the right potential partners: Wiley Education Services, Elsevier, Kaltura and Turning Point. Louise then applied her events management experience to create sales packages to bring those potential sponsors and exhibitors on board.

Delegates networking in the Great Hall in front of a screen

Sponsorship provided an additional budget stream, and appealed to attendees who wanted to engage directly with key industry suppliers.

2.      Event management

Louise made the rest of the event process simpler, quicker and less time-consuming for the conference leads as individuals, leaving them free to create an engaging programme.

People picking food from the buffet table

She managed every aspect of the event planning for them – from venue advice and hire to allocating accommodation and organising catering, including the evening dinner at Edgbaston Park Hotel. She also provided light marketing support and website advice.

I can’t thank Louise enough for her professionalism, enthusiastic approach and fantastic organisational skills. Without her help the conference would not have been the huge success it was. She is a pleasure to work with and I heartily recommend her services to support your conference or event.

Keith Portman, Deputy Director of Academic Affairs, Registry & Higher Education Futures institute


The results

Did HEFi 2019 succeed in attracting a national audience of delegates and speakers?

The answer is simple: yes. The 310 attendees came from universities across the UK, both delegates and speakers.

Delegates networking

In fact, the conference achieved an international reach too. Keynote speaker Professor Teck-Hua Ho from the National University of Singapore was joined by Australian Zac Ashkanasy of Nous Group, and Susan Geertshuis from the University of Auckland. One delegate even travelled from New Zealand just for this two-day conference.

Speaker talking in front of a lecturn on stage

This raised profile builds the ideal platform from which the conference can grow in 2020.


Positive feedback

A quick glance at Twitter shows how appreciative delegates were of this year’s programme.

Academic conferences

The University of Birmingham Conferences & events team are event management specialists for academic conferences.

  • Financial planning and management
  • Sponsorship and trade exhibition
  • Programme and project management
  • Website and online registration
  • Assisting with international visitors
  • Marketing and publicity
  • Abstract submission
  • Book design
  • Book and poster printing
  • Stewarding

Concentrate on what matters to you, and leave the conference management to us.


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