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Case Study: Australian Dementia Research Forum 2023


When our client asked us to scope out Queensland venues for their next conference, we almost had a riot in the office! Who wouldn’t want to escape the chilly Melbourne winter and spend three days thawing out in the sunshine while also supporting a wonderful non-profit organisation that’s leading the way in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

About ADRF:

The Australian Dementia Research Forum is the premier annual event for Australian dementia research, bringing together researchers, health professionals and policy makers, as well as people living with dementia and their families and carers.

The event is run by the Australian Dementia Network (ADNeT) – a network of leading scientists and researchers from across 17 institutions, in partnership with a range of sponsors including the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing, Dementia Australia and CSIRO (to name a few).

The goal of ADNeT and ADRF is to improve the quality of clinical care for people with dementia and mild cognitive impairment by accelerating early, best-practice detection and diagnosis and facilitating access to new and effective treatment therapies through clinical trials.

This year’s theme was – Discovery, Diagnostics and Management: A new era for Dementia.

The Venue:

After being held in Melbourne in 2022, ADRF travelled to the sunshine state at the JW Marriott Resort & Spa for 3 full-days from Monday 29 – Wednesday 31 May 2023. A five-star luxury resort in the popular tourist town of Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast, JW Marriott was selected for its prime location and quality facilities to provide additional reason for people to travel and attend.

Featuring a dedicated conference level with 2,000 square meters of event spaces including the JW Grand Ballroom and another 10 rooms, JW Marriott provides ample space for multiple sessions of varying sizes, especially if some will be running at the same time.

Event rooms included:
· JW Grand Ballroom – Keynote speeches; Panel, Great Debate, Symposia and Poster Blitz sessions.
· Springbrook room – Symposia and oral sessions.
· Binna Burra room – Oral sessions.
· Tambourine Gallery – catering, networking, posters and sponsor exhibition.

In addition, to these traditional conference and event spaces, we were also able to gain exclusive access to the poolside courtyard for the Welcome reception, creating a unique and relaxing environment for guests to mingle and enjoy the warm Queensland weather at the end of Day 2.

We were also able to help negotiate a special rate for accommodation of ADRF delegates.

ADRF – Event Fast Facts:

· 31 sessions and 21 hours of content recorded.
· 427 registrations; made up of 357 in-person and 70 online.
· 21 overseas registrations, and attendees from every state and territory in Australia.
· 31 partners/ sponsors – including 1 platinum, 1 gold, 3 silver and 6 bronze.
· 69 speakers.
· 7 – the average number of sessions attended per person
· 140 questions asked throughout the Q&A sessions.
· 95% of survey respondents were satisfied or very satisfied with the overall conference.
· 61.4% survey respondents said they’d attend again in 2024.

Event Program

The conference program was full and complex, consisting of:

· Day 1: Monday 29 May – 10:30am – 8:00pm
o Continuing Education Program (9 x 30-minute sessions) from 10:30am – 4pm
o Four Special Interest Group sessions from 11am – 12pm, 11am – 1pm, 1:30 – 2:45pm and 2:45 – 4:15pm
o Lunch and afternoon tea
o Exhibition/ Expo during all breaks
o Welcome Address, Welcome to Country and Keynote from 4:30 – 5:50pm
o Welcome Reception from 6 – 8pm

· Day 2: Tuesday 30 May – 9:00am – 8:00pm
o Three keynotes from 9 – 9:50am, 9:50 – 10:40am and 4:40 – 5:30pm
o Morning tea, lunch, and afternoon tea
o Exhibition/ Expo during all breaks
o Meet the Poster Presenters from 2 – 2:30pm
o Panel discussion from 2:30 – 4pm
o The Great Debate from 4:30 – 6pm
o Poolside Drinks from 6 – 8pm

· Day 3: Wednesday 31 May – 9:00am – 5:35pm
o Five keynotes from 9 – 9:50am, 9:50 – 10:40am, 2:10 – 3pm, 3 – 3:50pm and 3:50 – 4:25pm
o Morning tea, lunch, and afternoon tea
o Exhibition/ Expo during all breaks
o Two Symposia sessions from 11:10am – 12:10pm and 12:20 – 1:20pm
o Three Oral sessions from 11:10am – 12:10pm
o Update on the ADNet Registry from 12:40 – 1:20pm
o Meet the Poster Presenters 1:40 – 2:10pm
o Poster Blitz from 4:25 – 5:05pm
o Prizes, Awards and Closing remarks 5:15 – 5:35pm


Daily catering consisted of morning tea, lunch, and afternoon tea, with a variety of options and 3 stations to reduce queues and waiting times. Dietary requirements were catered for at a separate station.

A selection of canapes was also offered at the Welcome Reception on Day 1, with canapés and a pasta bar available at the Networking Function on Day 2. Feedback regarding catering was widely positive.

Virtual Platform:

While most of the registrations were in-person, an Airmeet browser platform was developed and used to accommodate online attendees. There were three key areas created:

1. Lounge – each conference session was listed in the main lounge area. From here online attendee could select which session to join/ watch virtually. They were able to ask questions and could even start their own discussions.
2. Sponsor booths – with 112 booths on display from various sponsors, partners, not-for-profit organisations, and other relevant businesses.
3. 100 e-posters – all research posters were available to view, enabling registered guests to enjoy the content no-matter where they were located (in-person and online), and whenever they wished.


Several Awards were presented on the final day, including:
· Best Oral Presentation – Discovery
· Best Oral Presentation – Prevention and Diagnosis
· Best Oral Presentation – Post-diagnostic care
· Best Oral Presentation – People’s Choice Award
· The Mr. Baillieu Myer AC Award
· ADNet Lifetime Achievement Award

Marketing and Comms:

JTPM managed the conference website – – which listed all event information including the program, list of speakers, sponsors, and venue details. The website also enabled registrations and submissions of research papers/ posters, and featured a sponsor and media section, providing the official media releases and contacts.

ADNet promoted the event widely through regular EDM’s (e-newsletters) and social media. Event sponsors and partners also assisted in spreading the word to their relevant followers and supporters.

Team and Roles:

The core planning team of four (Alannah, Chloe, Victoria, and Emily), where bolstered to five (with the addition of Melanie) on event day with specific roles and responsibilities allocated:

· Alannah – client lead – venue and speakers’ liaison, and event operations.
· Chloe – sponsors and suppliers.
· Victoria – registration, speakers’ liaison, abstract management, AV for Springbrooke room.
· Emily – Audio Visual (AV) for Ballroom.
· Melanie – registration and AV for Binna Burra room.

Testimonials/ Feedback:

“One of the best meetings I have been to and the best ADRF to date.”

“Very well organised and amazing staff.”