Sheffield: World-class research centres boost ‘very targeted’ conference wins

Sheffield is a city with character, blending razzmatazz with real beauty, reports Paul Harvey.

It’s the birthplace of stainless steel and music legends such as Pulp, Arctic Monkeys and the Human League. But it’s also woven into the Peak District National Park, giving it a distinctly outdoor feel – and its industrial warehouses now house a thriving independent food scene.

The city has an enviable knack of making delegates feel like locals from the outset, thanks to its strong Team Sheffield approach.

“Sheffielders are not shy when it comes to shouting about their specialisms. This is key to the continued growth of the MICE sector here,” says Emma France, head of BVE at Marketing Sheffield. “Sheffield is making solutions to some of the world’s toughest problems; the two universities and teaching hospitals are world-leading in research.

“Our ambassador programme is very strong and coupled with our world-class research centres we are seeing some great results bidding for UK and international events in these areas. It allows us to be very targeted.”

Sheffield’s world-leading research centres include the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, which hosted the Nuclear Innovation UK Conference at the historic Cutlers’ Hall in July, with more than 250 delegates from across the UK.

Tim Chapman, communications manager at the Nuclear AMRC, says: “Cutlers’ Hall provided a spectacular venue for our conference – the building might date from the first Industrial Revolution, but it embodies Sheffield’s traditional values of innovation and collaboration which are as important as ever as we create a new era of advanced manufacturing and low-carbon power.”

The Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre opens early 2020 and thanks to a £14m investment from the Department of Health it will be the most advanced research and development centre for physical activity in the world.

Meanwhile, the Centre for Child Health Technology, led by Sheffield Children’s Hospital, is also gathering momentum. Hailed by global industry leaders as the first if its kind in the world, the centre is set to change the future of healthcare and be the platform for the UK to be the world leader in child health technology. Sheffield will host the first event Child Health Technology Conference at Cutlers Hall in May 2020.

The magnificent Sheffield City Hall is the city’s largest space with capacity for 2,271 delegates, while Magna is a transformed former steelworks with 4,000 sqm of dedicated events space. The University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University offer some of the newest academic spaces in the country, such as the former’s £90 million Diamond building – an architectural showcase of why the university is first in the UK for engineering research.


Sheffield is attracting conference business thanks to its world-leading research centres.

Delegate experiences are distinctly made in Sheffield. True North Brew Co, makers of Sheffield Gin, has just launched its Gin Social and Gin School packages – planners can mix gin tasting with pizza platters in one of its city centre venues for an informal networking evening.

Thrill-seekers can try the world’s only indoor bungee at Magna, while for a more indulgent experience enjoy a champagne reception in one of the gallery spaces at Chatsworth House – set in stunning Peak District countryside just 14 miles from the city centre.

The Kelham Island district has recently been voted one of the UK’s top 10 hip hangouts and is a Mecca for foodies. Cutlery Works is the largest food hall in the north, featuring a mix of permanent and changing unique and independent restaurants with private hire available.

The Mowbray is an exciting premium lifestyle venue for up to 200 delegates in a restored building from 1889, while city centre openings include Ambulo at The Millennium Gallery- a collaboration between Arctic Monkeys’ Matt Helders and bar Public – a former public toilet but now named as one of the top bars in the UK.

Hotel-wise, the centrally located Mercure St Paul’s Hotel and Spa and the new Crowne Plaza Royal Victoria offer the largest spaces for events – up to 550 and 400 delegates respectively.


The Diamond Building University of Sheffield.

What’s new:

  • Vine hotels has rebranded the historic Kenwood Hall Hotel & Spa to a Mercure property and included Laura Ashley tea rooms. As well as adding privilege bedrooms the 10 meeting rooms will be upgraded with added luxuries such as individual espresso machines.
  • City centre venue KO-HOST at Kollider is now open and sits at the heart of a growing creative, digital and tech community; impressive event space sits alongside a social, all day dining experience.
  • Everyone is talking about the brand new Owlerton Events and Conferencing (OEC) Sheffield, which boasts a range of impressive, multi-purpose suites catering for up to 500 guests.

Case studyInstitute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) Conference 2019

Held every two years, the ITI Conference is the biggest event in the UK translation and interpreting calendar. The 2019 edition at the Cutlers’ Hall in Sheffield was the biggest event to date with 375 delegates and speakers from across the world enjoying sessions in a beautiful and historic setting.

This year’s theme was ‘Beyond the core’ – lifting yourself above your daily work and thinking about how you are going to change and thrive in a changing world.

The event also incorporates the ITI Awards at the gala dinner on the evening of 10 May.

Caroline Wells, ITI operations manager, says: “Sheffield as a city gave us everything we needed – an amazing venue for the conference and a variety of fringe events for our attendees which included welcome drinks for 315 attendees at Bungalow and Bears; a walk around the city; and an afternoon tea at the Leopold Hotel for our Fellows. The transport links for us are very important as our attendees travel in from all corners of the globe. We all really enjoyed Sheffield and would certainly come back again. “

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