Dr Nirmal Nair, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Auckland, is now somewhat of an expert in another field – bringing international conferences to Auckland.

Dr Nair has worked on and won bids to bring 13 domestic and international conferences to Tāmaki Makaurau – including the International Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) eGrid Conference held in 2022. He was able to win these bids with assistance from the Auckland Convention Bureau (ACB). ACB helps leading thinkers in their fields to bid for, win, and host world-class conferences.

“The eGRID conference was the first major international face-to-face electricity conference event since 2020. It helped reconnect New Zealand-based stakeholders in a panel form, representing more than 20 organisations, with attendees from more than 15 countries,” says Dr Nair.

As well as the benefits to Tāmaki Makaurau and Aotearoa, bringing international conferences to his home city also helps Dr Nair’s personal profile and standing in the industry. “I’ve now been on the governing board of three global organisations, including the IEEE Asia Pacific board, so for me personally, being in this elite list has led my mana.”

Creating a winning bid with Auckland Convention Bureau (ACB)

“My main engagement with ACB is putting together a very competitive bid document where the city itself ‘invites’ the conference to be held in Auckland.” Dr Nair says this showcases all that Auckland has to offer, allowing a bid to compete against popular contenders such as Melbourne or Sydney. “ACB brings professionalism into the whole bid document   process, which sometimes time-poor researchers or conference organisers struggle with. This win could not have happened had it not been for ACB.”

He believes several factors helped secure the eGRID conference. “The welcoming invitation by the city leadership and a well-structured bid document outlining all the facilities and trips that international attendees could experience during their visit was one element that edged us into a winning position.” 

“This was in addition to an experienced and committed technical conference committee identified in the bid document, representing a wide spectrum of electricity stakeholders: industry, vendors, research and academia.”

Advice from an Auckland Advocate

Dr Nair is an active member of the Auckland Advocate Alliance, a programme that brings together leaders from diverse fields to win business events for Tāmaki Makaurau, to build relationships, exchange knowledge and ideas, and help build Auckland’s profile as a first-rate conference host city. 

He has been a member of the Auckland Advocate Alliance programme for six years and wants to help others considering bidding to host an international conference by sharing his experiences and advice on how to create and pitch a bid. 

“Please consider approaching Auckland Advocate Alliance members early on to get a feel for the particular event that you would like to bring to Auckland. Give yourselves a lead time of at the least two years to ensure an efficient and seamless delivery.”

Work with Auckland Convention Bureau 

As well as collaborating with bid champions to create unique, compelling bids, ACB’s international bidding team facilitate introductions and source supplier quotes from venues, accommodation and services uncover Auckland’s hidden gems, host site inspections, provide ideas for field trips and excursions and supply promotional materials to attract delegates to Auckland.

If you’d like to find out more about bidding to host an international conference, get in touch with Gemma Wood at [email protected] or contact us here.

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