Prof. dr. Jos Kleinjans, Dr. René Reijnders and Prof. dr. Theo de Kok received the Brightlands Convention Award 2016 from Alderman John Aarts. The award designates them as the year’s “best ambassadors” for the city of Maastricht as a destination for conventions.

The Brightlands Convention Award is allocated to someone who has made the most valuable contribution over the past year to the Maastricht region as a convention venue. Every symposium, conference, or medical convention puts Maastricht more firmly on the international convention map. Every convention also brings with it a flood of visitors, with hotels, restaurants, transport operators, and other providers reaping the benefits.
The award is sponsored by Brightlands. Brightlands brings together scientists, researchers, and entrepreneurs so as to generate added value for scientific research and medical technology. Conferences fulfill an essential role in creating these connections. By sponsoring the award, Brightlands emphasizes the importance of conventions for the organizations and businesses on the Limburg Campuses.

Nominees
The nominees (see below) were spotlighted at the annual TEFAF meeting of the Amici ad Mosam1) conference ambassadors club on 18 March. Through their pioneering work to ensure that scientific conferences and symposia keep coming to Maastricht, they have truly shown themselves to be worthy ambassadors of Maastricht as a convention venue.

  1. 11th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences (WCA11) 2020 & IUTOX 2022: Department of Toxicogenomics Maastricht University: prof. dr. Jos Kleinjans | prof. dr. Theo de Kok | dr. René Reijnders
    2. EAS 2019: prof. dr. Erik Biessen(CARIM – Maastricht University Medical Center; Maastricht UMC+)
    3. ECB 2020: Emile van de Sandt(DSM Delft) | Aldrik Velders (Wageningen University)
    4. EEA 2016: Department of Accounting and Information Management Maastricht University: Prof. dr. Roger Meuwissen | Dr. Caren Schelleman | Prof. dr. Ann Vanstraelen
    5. European Vascular Course: prof. dr. Michael Jacobs (Maastricht UMC+)
    6. Ramses: drs. Tom van Mulken (Maastricht UMC+, Zuyderland Medical Center)

The winner of the Brightlands Convention Award 2016 is:

Prof. dr. Jos Kleinjans, Prof. dr. Theo de Kok and Dr. René Reijnders – 11th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences (WCA11) 2020 & IUTOX 2022

WCA11 is a multi-day conference, being held every 3 years for 1200 delegates. During this conference, de last innovations on alternatives for animal experiments are being discussed, as well as the societal- and ethical impacts of these developments. In 2020, Maastricht will host WCA11, following Montreal (2011), Prague (2014) and Seattle (2017).
IUTOX, also an international multi-day conference, will attract 2500 international toxicologists to Maastricht to discuss the latest innovations on toxicology. After Barcelona (2010), Seoul (2013), Merida-Mexico (2016) and Hawaii (2019), Maastricht will be ‘the place to be’ in 2022!

The jury report had this to say:
“Prof. dr. Jos Kleinjans, Prof. dr. Theo de Kok and Dr. René Reijnders have done their utmost to attract these two internationally renowned conferences to Maastricht, next to their work for the department of Toxicology of Maastricht University. These large-scale high-end meetings are worldwide highly regarded among professionals in those fields. Both events draw a high number of visitors in the region during multiple days, as well as worldwide attention in the relevant media. Which means an enormous spin-off for this region in every way. These gentlemen have proved to be true ambassadors for the city of Maastricht.”

The compliments of the jury were backed up by the presentation of a bronze by the artist Wil van der Laan, combining a finely proportioned torso with a disc bearing the typical “B” of Brightlands. The bronze represents a healthy and dynamic way of living.

  1. Amici ad Mosam was set up in 2011 by the Maastricht Exhibition & Conference Centre (MECC) and the Maastricht Convention Bureau with the aim of creating a network and platform involving regional academics, the MECC, and the Convention Bureau Bureau. For years now, the latter two organizations have been establishing contacts with academics in Maastricht and the surrounding region with a view to collaborating with them to bring existing conferences and scientific meetings to Maastricht and to initiate new ones.

The board of the Maastricht Convention Bureau selected the winner from among these nominees. The Board consists of Frans Willem Cox (director, Hotel Van der Valk Maastricht), Lars Flinkerbusch (director, VVV/Maastricht Marketing), Susanne Pauwels (managing director, Pauwels Congress Organisers), and Rob van de Wiel (director, MECC Maastricht). The Board is chaired by Nico Stam (Deputy Director, Brightlands Maastricht Health Campus).

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