Edinburgh skyline
Edinburgh from Calton Hill

Edinburgh’s international reputation in medical and paediatric science received a significant boost today, with the announcement that the city has won the bid to host an influential world congress in 2021. 

Jointly led by Convention Edinburgh and host venue, the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) the prestigious Sixth International Symposium on Paediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease 2021 (PIBD2021) is expected to attract 800 delegates, generating over £1.3million over the four day event. 

As well as showcasing the city’s strong business tourism offering, PIBD2021 will cement Edinburgh’s positon at the forefront of research and treatment of inflammatory Bowel disease (IBD, comprising ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease). IBD is a pernicious disease which has seen a momentous rise in paediatric cases in Scotland. Studies show that during the last 45 years, the rate of new cases of IBD in children under 16 years of age has increased by 460%, while Crohn’s disease has risen by 740%. 

It is hoped that the conference, which is supported by VisitScotland’s Conference Bid Fund, will not only aid further innovation and research into the causes, diagnosis and treatment of IBD, but raise public awareness of the disease in Scotland, helping to reduce the stigma and embarrassment that often accompanies bowel related illnesses.

Lesley Williams, Head of Business Tourism at Convention Edinburgh said“Winning PIBD2021 was the result of hard work and brilliant collaboration between ourselves, EICC and the team at University of Edinburgh and Sick Kids.  Together we were able to present a robust bid that not only built on Edinburgh and Scotland’s global reputation in PIBD research, but showcased a vibrant city that would accommodate all delegates’ needs and inspire them.”

“As the UK’s number one destination for international association meetings outside London, forward-thinking investment has endowed us with the facilities and operational strength to deliver important conferences like these. This enables delegates and conference organisers to focus on the science surrounding this important paediatric disease.”

David Wilson, Professor of Paediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition at University of Edinburgh and President of PIBD2021 said: I’m delighted that Edinburgh was selected to host PIBD2021. Synonymous with medical tradition and innovation, Edinburgh has been at the forefront of global IBD research for the last 50 years. Today we’re making significant steps, including trying to define the huge impact of environmental triggers, such as dietary and antibiotic factors, in cause and relapse in cases.  

“This conference will leave an important legacy for Edinburgh and Scotland, not only in moving us a step closer to one day finding a cure, but raising awareness of IBD. Through my work, particularly at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, I’m acutely aware of the tremendous difficulties IBD causes for children and their families.”   

Marshall Dallas, the EICC’s Chief Executive, said: “The EICC has a longstanding tradition in hosting events for the medical sciences industry, with many UK and international associations in this area choosing Edinburgh for their major conferences.  That reputation, built up through the hard work of the team here, continues to pay dividends and we’re delighted that PIBD2021 will take place at the EICC to the great benefit of the local economy.” 

Rory Archibald, Business Development Manager at VisitScotland, said:“Winning the right to host the Paediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease Symposium 2021 is a real coup for Edinburgh, with the prestigious event expected to generate more than £1 million for the economy. 

“Given the leading research being done by the team at the University of Edinburgh and the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, the capital is an appropriate choice for the symposium and we are delighted to be supporting it through the VisitScotland Conference Bid Fund.”