Hosting Endorsement Guidelines
Hosting a Congress of the World Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery (WSRM)
Guidelines for Hosting a Congress of the World Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery (WSRM)
The World Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery (WSRM) is aimed “to stimulate and advance knowledge of the science and art of Microsurgery” and aims to “provide an international forum for the exchange of ideas”. The WSRM Congress brings together practitioners and scientists to build and develop thriving scientific societies, health care agencies, and academic institutions in all parts of the world and to integrate their knowledge toward a common language of accepted standards and practice in reconstructive microsurgery. During the WSRM Congress, members of the international microsurgery community have the opportunity to share and learn about new research and best practices in the field.
The organization of a meeting of the caliber of WSRM is a major endeavor. After the efforts involved in organizing the past meetings of WSRM, it has become quite clear that the close collaboration between the President of the Society and the Organizing Committee is of paramount importance for the success of any future Congress. The President of WSRM along with the Executive Council are those ultimately responsible for the outcome of WSRM and its’ meeting. As such, it is imperative that the President and the Executive Council are not only fully apprised of all aspects (scientific, financial, speakers, exhibits, etc) regarding the congress organization, but are also fully involved in the decision making process.
WSRM was created by the merging of two international societies, the IMS and ISRM, in 1999. The first Congress was in 2001 in Taipei. Since then WSRM congresses have been hosted in the following locations:
||G Germann, H Steinau
||Bueno Aires, Argentina
||A Beris, PN Soucacos, C Vlastou
||K Doi, I Koshima
||Chicago, Illinois, USA
||L. Scott Levin
||David C. C. Chuang
||Myong Chul Park, Joon Pio Hong
Bidding for a WSRM Congress
A “bid” is defined as an invitation to hold an international WSRM Congress in your country. The Organizing Committee Chairman will be responsible for the management of the congress if the bid is successful. It is important that the local societies (microsurgery, hand, and plastic, orthopaedic), the professional congress organizer (PCO), and local authorities work together in harmony unifying their efforts and strengths in order to achieve the common goal. Bidding for a WSRM congress to be held in your country requires commitment and effort by all parties involved in the process and warrants a dedicated course of action. The energy, hard work and costs related to it are very often underestimated and it is vital that the parties which make up the “bid team” take their responsibilities seriously in order to mount a successful bid submission.
WSRM has established the WSRM Congress as a biennial event. Each WSRM Congress shall offer three days of plenary sessions, podium lectures and symposia and poster session on all aspects of reconstructive microsurgery, featuring both invited speakers and presenters selected from among submitted abstracts. Other abstract submissions shall be selected for presentation in the poster session. As an international society, WSRM welcomes the informed contributions of reconstructive microsurgeons representing every country and culture.
The WSRM Congress also includes meetings of the Executive Council. It may include meetings of the National Liaisons, and potentially others. These shall be held in conjunction with and some may be included as part of the Congress budget.
Administrative and Scientific Responsibilities
The WSRM Congress is organized under the auspices of the WSRM Executive Council. The Organizing Committee Chairman assumes responsibility for the organization of the conference, abstracts, posters, registration, exhibits, website for the meeting and logistics in collaboration with the WSRM President and Executive Council. Although the local Organizing Committee Chairman usually maintains overall logistical responsibilities, they shall participate in teleconferences and in-person meetings with the Executive Council. The Scientific Committee is comprised of members from the Host Country, President, President-Elect, two previous Organizing Committee Chairman as well as International Members.
The Proposal to Host a WSRM Congress shall designate the proposed Chairman of the Organizing Committee, and the proposed Chairman of the Scientific Committee (from the Host Country) as well as the proposed co-Chairman of the Scientific Committee (preferably from the Executive Council). The proposed Chairman of the Organizing Committee, once approved by the Executive Council of WSRM, will be invited to sit on the Executive Council as a nonvoting co-opted member for the duration of the Congress planning period.
Benefits to and Responsibilities of the Local Host Organization
The Host organization shall benefit from global visibility and recognition as a key global player in the development of reconstructive microsurgery. In cooperation with WSRM, the Organizing Committee Chairman shall be responsible for the following:
- Recruit and select members of the local scientific and advisory committees (with national and international representation as appropriate)
- Develop relationships with potential co-sponsors/supporters (local, regional, national and international)
- *Develop and secure funding
- *Develop WSRM Congress budget and submit to WSRM Executive Council for approval
- *Manage local bank account deposits and disbursements pre- and post-conference
- *Select venue(s) and hotel(s) for Academy/Congress and special event(s)
- *Create the format for the Congress schedule, with approval WSRM Executive Council
- *Create and implement Public Relations and marketing plan
- *Create theme, logo ideas and objectives for the Congress, with approval WSRM Executive Council
- Recruit session coordinators and speakers, with input and approval of WSRM Executive Council
- Recruit keynote and invited speakers for the Congress, with input and approval of WSRM Executive Council
- Recruit session coordinators and moderators for the Congress, with input and approval of WSRM Executive Council
- *Set pricing for Congress, with the approval of WSRM Executive Council
- *Set the registration cancellation/refund policies
- *Be responsible for on-site insurance policies and indemnities
- *Identify abstract reviewers
- Direct abstract review and session placement
- *Place abstracts in program schedule/grid, for approval of WSRM Executive Council
- *Select luncheon/break menus
- *Find local vendor(s) for production of signage, photocopies, and other printed materials
- Handle local arrangements and provide onsite support staff
- *Be responsible for the organization of a published abstract book
Actions marked with an asterisk (*) may/will involve varying levels of guidance and support from WSRM Executive Council and staff. Financial support/net income from the Congress must be at a level guaranteed to pay Headquarters fees related to travel and housing of WSRM administrator in service to the Congress and to remit 10% of the registration fee to the WSRM organization. The mandate of remitting 10% is not dependent on the financial outcome of the meeting.
Application and Selection Process
Expression of Interest
Ideal prospective Hosts for WSRM Congresses shall meet all of the following criteria:
- Be a non-profit, non-governmental organization recognized by the establishing authority of the respective country or region
- Be multidisciplinary in philosophy and governance (e.g. include microsurgery, plastic, hand, orthopedic surgery entities)
- Have individual professional members who practice reconstructive microsurgery
- Sponsor education opportunities with a specific emphasis in microsurgery
Organizations interested in hosting a WSRM Congress should send a formal Expression of Interest letter to:
WSRM Central Office
20 N Michigan Ave, Suite 700
Chicago, Il 60602
This letter must be signed by the proposed Chairman of the prospective host organization, as well as the Presidents of the local societies (Reconstructive Microsurgery, Plastic, and Hand, in accordance with their support)
Prospective host organizations and/or their representatives shall include in their Expression of Interest all information that they deem relevant, including (but not limited to) the following:
- The name of the proposed host organization and letters indicating institutional support;
- Letters of support from other microsurgery organizations in the country;
- Letters from relevant authorities ensuring top-level support of government and health authorities and assurance that all bone fide participants shall be granted visas;
- Proposed financial commitment (in terms of fundraising support of the conference);
- An indication of proposed dates and location, with several possible alternatives;
- Names and contact information for convention and destination venues with which WSRM shall negotiate directly, indicating any previous experience in working with these venues;
- An indication of assistance that can be provided in planning for and during the Congress; and
- An indication of assistance that shall be provided during the WSRM site selection visit and meetings, which shall be arranged by the host society.
Expression of Interest Review Criteria:
Expressions of interest shall be considered by the WSRM Executive Council, which may select proposals for further presentation by the prospective host organizations. The criteria for selection include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Professional Congress Organizer (PCO) should be appointed that has ample experience in organizing international congresses of high caliber.
- Congress venue facilities must be spacious enough to accommodate up to 1,000 participants;
- Congress venue must have a capacity for opening/closing plenary of 1,000 delegates, theatre or classroom style (all in one room);
- Exhibition hall must be 2,000 sq. meters to accommodate posters, 15 exhibitors, breakfasts and coffee breaks;
- Congress venue must have 3 concurrent session rooms for each of 3 days (spacious enough to accommodate 300+ people each – theater style);
- PCO and Congress venue must have a staff office for the duration of the Congress (plus at least 2 days prior to the first day of the meeting);
- Congress venue must have several breakout rooms for Business meetings. Council Meetings, Preview rooms etc.;
- The site must have convenient hotel rooms, transportation, and accessibility (850 hotel rooms in a variety of price ranges);
- Congress venue, hotels, and transportation must have accessibility for people with restricted mobility (wheelchair);
- Country’s visitor visa requirements must be considered, including the cost of a visa and any restrictions that might limit Congress attendance;
- Relevant costs of Congress venue and major suppliers must be considered (e.g., catering, audiovisuals, meeting room rental, printing costs, rental costs for poster boards, comparative costs of hotel rooms, etc.);
- Host country must be politically and socially stable;
- Host organization must be able to support and assist in the organization of a successful Congress; and
- Destination’s tourism and convention appeal and attractiveness of the proposal must be considered.
Some other questions to consider at the time of application
- How will you organize the hotel accommodation booking for delegates?
- What is your plan for the banking structure?
- How will delegates from around the world access the proposed site? E.g. describe plane, train and local transport details.
- What finance can your society offer to underwrite the Congress?
- Please set out your plans for obtaining travel awards for scholarship recipients?
Final Congress Venue Selection
Once the WSRM Executive Council has reviewed an Expression of Interest, the Executive Council may decide to invite the host organization to submit a formal bid with a presentation at the next planned WSRM Congress or Executive Council Meeting.
- The decision on the location of the WSRM Congress is made by the WSRM Executive Council
- If the Executive Council feels that multiple proposals are favorable, it reserves the right to propose that some of the bidders be considered for a future Congress.
- The selected venues shall be requested to submit bids and the best offers shall be considered.
- As part of the Congress budget, site visits shall be made by up to three (3) WSRM representatives to meet the host society representatives, local and government authorities, health authorities and venue and destination bureaus. WSRM Headquarters shall make every effort to arrange such site visits at a reduced cost to WSRM through the city’s convention and visitor’s bureau. Subsequently, WSRM shall coordinate the bidding process and shall negotiate the venue and final package.
- The host country for each Congress shall be announced by the WSRM Executive Council when selection is made.
Time Line Following is a representative timeline for submitting expressions of interest, generally at least four years in advance of the proposed Congress.
- May, six years prior to year of proposed Congress: Deadline for submission of expression of interest by host organizations.
- May, 4 years prior to year of proposed Congress: WSRM Executive Council shall notify interested parties if they may make presentations and submit full proposals at the next Congress.
- Three years prior to year of proposed Congress: WSRM Executive Council shall hear detailed presentations by representatives of prospective host organizations.
- Meetings shall be scheduled at a mutually convenient time during a WSRM Congress.
- November, three years prior to year of proposed Congress: WSRM site visit inspection of venue, meetings with national societies, host organizations and potential local sponsors.
- May, two years prior to year of proposed Congress: Announcement by WSRM Executive Council of selection of hosts for upcoming World Congress.
All agree that there is a multitude of pivotal factors involved in hosting a WSRM meeting. Below are some of the basic concerns and issues that should be addressed. It is of paramount importance to have the full backing and support of the local microsurgery society and this should be indicated. It goes without saying, that it would be of even greater advantage to have the combined support of the Plastic, Orthopaedic and Hand Surgery Societies, as well. Any conflict between these societies of the host country is usually disastrous.
Below are some of the major concerns and issues that have been identified regarding hosting a WSRM Congress.
Concerns & Issues Regarding WSRM Congress Organization
Qualifications of a Host
- Must be an identifiable group that represents a country.
- A letter supporting the invitation from an organization in the country (i.e. micro-society, hand society) must accompany the application.
- Must have the financial capability to run Congress.
- Should have a history of previous organization of a major congress.
- Must propose in writing four years prior to Congress
- Should be able to give oral presentation at WSRM Council Meeting about four years prior to Congress.
Requirements and Commitments of Organizing Committee Chairman
The following are required to be communicated by the Organizing Committee Chairman to the Council in the time frame noted. The failure to meet these requirements and deadlines may result in the loss of hosting the WSRM meeting.
It is of utmost importance that there is close collaboration between the President of the Society and the Organizing Committee and is of paramount importance for the success of the Congress. The President of WSRM along with the Executive Council are those ultimately responsible for the outcome of WSRM and its’ meeting. As such, it is imperative that the President is fully apprised of all aspects (scientific, financial, speakers, exhibits, etc) regarding the congress organization.
It is of paramount importance that the Organizing Committee Chairman has the full backing and support of the local microsurgery society
In general, the venue for the scientific sessions should be clearly identified and booked, and some suggestions should be available for identifying venues for the social events and other activities. The following should be clearly identified:
- What are the available lecture rooms at the convention center?
- What are the seating capacities?
- A large auditorium of at least 800 seats must be available for opening & closing ceremonies, and the Presidential Invited Lecture.
- How many break out rooms are available & what size are they. These will be needed for:
- Room for Video sessions
- Room for Business meetings
- Room for Executive Council meetings
- Preview room. Comfortably large preview rooms should be available. These need to be conveniently located and easy access for all speakers.
Coffee breaks & lunch breaks. Where are they planned?
Is there ample space for technical exhibits?
In order to attract good industrial support, it is essential that the exhibit area is close to lecture areas and coffee break areas. That is, this space should be within the general traffic area of the meeting. This keeps industry satisfied that delegates will visit their exhibits.
Is there ample and easy access to poster exhibit space?
Commitments should be clarified regarding sponsorships of the meeting in terms of funds and their level of financial support.
Professional Congress Organizer
A professional congress organizer (PCO) is to be appointed that has ample experience in organizing international congresses of this nature.
The PCO selection based on:
- the curriculum vitae of each PCO
- intensive interviews
- the PCOs past record for large meetings
- recommendations from scientific societies, large hotels, & local industry
- The PCOs proposals for how to handle this particular meeting.
The Organizing Committee Chairman takes on full financial responsibility of the congress, and must indicate how they will undertake this burden.
- What is the proposed budget?
- What is the marketing plan?
- What type of sponsors? (e.g. government, local societies, industry, etc)
- Have any commitments & bookings been made?
- What are the proposed hotels and prices?
Rooms should be reserved in variety of hotel categories (two to five stars) with prices ranging from low to high. A full range of hotel options should be added to the announcement, including cheap, clean rooms to serve for younger fellows, trainees or those surgeons from less fortunate areas, as well as more luxurious, nicer rooms for those who prefer something better. All hotels should be close to the meeting venue. All rates should be quoted in the 1st Announcement “per person per night and include service charges and local taxes.
- What is the proposed payment policy: Full payment of hotel room before arrival, is usually not preferred. A deposit, however, should be required.
What is planned for registration fees? In addition, they should be scaled for early, late and onsite registration.
- Residents – early & late registration – on-site
- Physicians – early & late registration – on-site
- Delegates from countries experiencing economic hardship. – Will funds be allocated to subsidize some of the cost for these delegates? If so, how will they be selected?
- WSRM member rate – early & late registration – on-site
Location of the registration desk is crucial and staffing should enable speedy and comfortable registration of all delegates. Where will participants who have pre-registered find their registration materials (bag, program, etc?)
One-day registration is not recommended as it limits late-comers from attending, and decreases overall attendance.
A scientific program committee is required to be appointed.
- Who is the chairman?
- Who are the members of the Scientific Committee?
- What is their proposal for the scientific program?
How does the Organizing Committee Chairman plan to format the scientific program? What new innovations you plan on including making it attractive for delegates to register and attend?
- What will the scientific program include?
- Instructional courses – how many? How long?
- Panel discussions – how many? How long?
- Free papers (how many)? How long?
- Oral presentations
- Presidential guest lecturers – 1
- Presidential symposia – 3
- Is the program planned for 3 days – if so, in how many rooms (usually about 3)
- Information should be available immediately after the previous meeting.
- The time-schedule proposed for finalizing the program is:
- abstract due date (~ Fall one year prior)
- abstract acceptance cutoff date ( Jan/Feb of meeting year)
- deadline for early registration (usually right after acceptance cutoff)
- Final program on website by March / April of meeting year
Announcements – Preliminary Programs – Website
When will the program be on the Website?
What is the scheduled time-line for the printing & distribution of printed material?
1st Announcement This should be printed and distributed by November/December two years prior to the congress (just a couple months after the information is out on the website)
2nd Announcement This should include the call for abstracts and should be ready for distribution by early spring one year prior to the Congress.
Preliminary Program/Final Program
Thus, information regarding registration, abstract submission, hotels, and post-congress tours should be ready by the summer council meeting 2 years in advance.
What is the suggested format for announcements and forms?
1st Announcement (due by Nov – Dec of two years prior)
This should include:
- Welcome letter (from the President of WSRM, the Chairman of the Organizing Committee, and the
- Chairman of the Scientific Committee)
- Information about the congress venue
- City information
- Information regarding accommodation (how to reserve a Hotel Room, confirmation of reservation, Hotels
- Registration fees & guidelines (how to register, what is covered by fees, payment, confirmation of
registration, cancellation policy)
- Important dates
- General Information (badges, banks, climate, meals, local transportation, etc)
- Sponsorship – Industry
- Technical Exhibits
- Opening Ceremony
- Congress Dinner
- Scientific Program information – (program-at-a-glance)
- Registration forms
- Accommodation forms, etc
Technical Exhibits, Industry & Sponsors
Sponsors are an important aspect of a successful meeting.
Have you made an invitation letter for potential sponsors & exhibitors? How many exhibitors have been registered so far?
How many are anticipated?
What is the anticipated income from industry? Additional sponsorships include:
- Congress Bags
- Note pads
- Press Room
- Registration desk
- Pocket program
- Welcome reception, etc…
A sponsor’s booklet is to be prepared (Details for exhibits, terms for payment, application form, etc.) A Sponsor’s Information booklet should be mailed to all Exhibitors about 18 months prior to the meeting. This should include specific details on shipments, unloading hours, parking lots, discounts on ship transportation, as well as an application form for onsite booth services, such as the construction of booths, electrical power, air pressure (if required), water, telephone lines, and any other technical requirements. When all of these requirements have been received, then the final construction layout is to be made.
Prepare a situation map to show the areas available for registration, commercial exhibition, and poster exhibition.
Will courtesy booths (for other societies & journal) be available? If so, how many & how will they be financed?
The WSRM meetings like all scientific congresses of this caliber, not only serve as an event to exchange scientific ideas and knowledge but more importantly it provides the opportunity for microsurgeons and scientists to intermingle, communicate, socialize and broaden their scientific connections/collaborations. The social program should be designed to favor this.
What is planned for?
Opening Ceremony, Presidential Dinner, Banquet, Closing Ceremony
High-quality audiovisual support is essential for a high caliber meeting. This will allow for the good timing of presentations, without complications, and good visualization of what the speakers are trying to depict.
- What company will be used?
- What assurance is there regarding quality?
- What type of set is planned for the preview rooms?
- What type of time-monitoring system is planned for timing speakers?
- What type of technical support will be present?
Accompanying Persons Program and Pre & Post- Congress Tours
Your PCO should propose pre & post-congress tours for delegates to select if they so choose.
A simple accompanying persons program should be offered at a relatively low cost, which will allow these guests to enjoy the local attractions.
Abstract Book – Special Issue
One proven way to attract high-quality abstract presentations is to offer the printing of an abstract book. Moreover, many young surgeons are in need to publish their abstracts. Thus, by offering an abstract book, you increase interest or submission. What is planned in this regards? The Scientific Committee should reach an agreement, preferably with the Editor-in-Chief of the official journal of the society (JRM) or one of the related journals, to have the abstracts published.
It is required that a contract is held between the selected Organizing Committee Chairman and the WSRM confirming meeting dates and commitment terms. The Organizing Committee Chairman must sign this agreement at the time of selection. The Council has the ability to transfer Organizing Committee Chairman responsibilities if the Council deems necessary. The ability to cancel a meeting is to be set at 3 years prior to the meeting.