5. Regional conferences

5.1. Introduction

Regional Conferences promote education and networking in epidemiology. They foster collaboration within a country/region, and with the WHO regional office, and can provide an opportunity to recruit new members. These events can be organized by the Regional Councilor, or other able and credible local contact persons. 

Regional conferences can be held as stand-alone IEA events or can be held in conjunction with other relevant meetings in the region. A complete list of guidelines for regional Conferences guidelines for regional Conferences can be found online.

5.2. Required approvals

Approval for regional Conferences featuring the Association’s name or receiving funding (loans or grants) from the Association must be obtained in advance from the Executive Committee. A sample application and budget template are available here .  

To receive funding, the application must be approved and signed by both the Regional Councilor and the Association President or another member of the Executive Committee. The application must be received at least three months prior to the commencement of the Conference and the signed agreement will be shared with the Association management provider and filed on the Council area of the Association’s website. Councilors are responsible for filing final reports and all receipts within 3 months of the completion of a funded event. The form for that can be found here .

5.3. Presenters

To ensure that the maximum number of members benefit from the use of the Association’s name or investment, any presentations, slides and programs from regional events should be shared with the Association’s management services provider to allow for posting on the members-only area of the Association’s website. Sample speaker permission forms and other guidelines regarding the sharing of these materials are available to assist regional Councilors in meeting these requirements.

5.4. Funding 

It is assumed that most regional Conferences will be self-supporting via registration fees and sponsorship support. Although triennial spending plans may “earmark” funds for regional events, these funds should not be considered a guarantee of financial support from the Association. Anticipated Conference funding requests should be noted in Councilors’ annual report for inclusion in the Association's annual budget.

IEA financial support for regional Conferences is primarily reserved for low-income regions, however, the Association may opt to assist regions via grants or loans based on the Treasurer’s recommendation after review of an application and budget. Although Conferences in high-income regions will typically not receive financial support by the Association, the meetings will be supported in other ways such as plenary lectures by Council members or provision of workshops. 

The Association will not accept responsibility for any financial losses incurred by regional Conferences, or accept any liability for acts occurring during such events. Local organizers should consider the purchase of event and liability insurance to protect themselves and the region from any claims.  The Treasurer may exceptionally consider covering some of a loss, on receiving written justification and a detailed financial account comparing budgeted and actual income and expenditure, but that is not guaranteed.

Any surplus from a regional event reverts to the local organizers. If there is a profit, the organizers may wish to consider passing some of the profit to the Association, for which precedents exist. These profits may also be retained to support bursaries for future IEA meetings in the region, to be held by the treasurer of the Regional Group or by the Association management company. 

5.5 Commercial support for conferences

Commercial support for Conferences may be obtained from any ethical organization. However, sponsors shall not influence, or seek to influence, the scientific content of the program nor shall they be involved in the selection of speakers. Sponsorship should not be sought from organizations which promote partisan ideas unrelated to epidemiology, such as political, religious or sectarian organizations.

5.6 Registration fees

The policy of lower registration fees for Association members should be followed for any meeting or Conference supported by the Association, as this boosts membership in the respective region. The Association management company is happy to assist Regional Councilors in determining who is eligible for these membership discounts should there be questions.

5.7 Reimbursement of Executive Committee members and Councilors 

Reimbursement for attendance at a regional Conference by the Councilor for the region will be provided by the organizers of those meetings.
Although participation in a regional Conference by a member of the Executive Committee is not required, if one Executive Committee member is invited and can arrange to attend, the Association will reimburse expenses for this member. The Executive Committee member invited should be the one who has the lowest travel costs. If the Conference organizers wish to invite other members of Council, they will be responsible for their travel, board and lodging. 

If a Council meeting is held immediately before or after a regional Conference, the Association will reimburse Councilors for the following expenses with appropriate documentation (e.g. receipts):
   •  Economy air travel to the airport closest to the meeting and ground transportation to the location.
   • Lodging.
   • A per diem of no more than USD $40 for meals that are not provided during the program. This will be calculated based on the number of nights’ lodging.

Attendance at the regional Conference itself will be supported by the Association at the discretion of the Executive Committee.