Philippe Knauth Interview

Philippe KnauthYour professional diary is already packed, what was your main reason to apply for conferences and give up your time for your role as Ambassador?

It’s a rather unique challenge to host a conference; there’s a sense of sportsmanship and competition that I quite like. It also helps promote our science and chemistry community in Marseille which has always played a role in our city, namely in terms of the soap industry, but it may have been undervalued in recent years. As president of the regional sector of the French Chemistry Society, I can’t help but be pleased.

I also threw myself into it because the city of Marseille now has the facilities and environment required to host many national and international conferences. The increasing number of conferences in recent years proves it. To stay motivated, you have to hope that the application will be successful. Currently, Marseille has every chance…

What do you think are the essential criteria for attracting a conference to Marseille?

Competition is fierce nationwide and worldwide. Many researchers dream of hosting a conference in “their” specialist community in their adoptive city. You have to be hard-hitting and put forward strong arguments to get a “slice of the action”.

Marseille has significantly improved its skills in this area in recent years. I organised the French-Italian Chemistry Event in 2012. It took a bit of persuasion and wise words to convince our Italian colleagues to come to Marseille but they were delighted with the outcome and many returned in 2013 when the city was the Capital of Culture.

What do you expect from the Conference Bureau in Marseille?

The people working there are fantastically committed and bursting with enthusiasm. That’s an asset when you feel down or have a moment of doubt. They buck up your ideas…

They’ve also formed vital relationships with local and regional companies which scientists don’t always have access to. It’s an added bonus. The great presentation brochures are another major asset for winning over people in charge of allocating conferences.

Last but not least, their work produces strong arguments to win over decision-makers and bring conferences in…we’re keeping our fingers crossed!