We met. We learnt. We discovered.

Entertained and informed

A popular feature of this biannual event is the high calibre keynote speakers, and this year’s line-up lived up to expectations. The main theatre hosted a packed schedule with presentations from Professor Sir Bill Wakeham, cameraman Doug Allan and Dallas Campbell of the BBC’s Bang Goes the Theory fame, who also acted as MC for the event. Professor Sir Bill Wakeham began the morning with a session on The importance of technical skills to UK science and innovation, followed by an entertaining and informative presentation from Dallas Campbell on How to leave the planet, which explored the history of space travel and involved a spacesuit packed in a suitcase. The final session An eye below zero showcased Doug Allan’s experience as a wildlife cameraman with shows such as Blue Planet, Forces of Nature and Life in the Freezer, highlighting the symbiotic relationship between scientific research and film making.

Everything the laboratory needs

The show included over 60 exhibitors – from food safety and pharmaceuticals to healthcare and academic research – with a number choosing to launch new products. The hall layout and timing of the day ensured that there was plenty of time for visitors to browse products and view demonstrations. Samantha Hague from the Sainsbury Lab said: “The show has been really helpful. There's such a breadth of companies in a wide range of fields, you can find companies that do what you do, as well as those that you didn't know about.” Joan Shaw, currently in teacher training, agreed: “It’s been absolutely wonderful – very informative with lots of interesting stalls, great products and friendly reps.” For exhibitors, the show provided access to a diverse audience, as Jagjit Chumber from Merck explained: “There's been a complete mix of customers. Each conversation has been unique and kept us on our toes!”

Hosting in partnership with the Science Council has allowed SLS to broaden the scope of the event this year, addressing not only laboratory product needs, but also scientists and their careers. Many attendees benefitted from the Science Council’s Professional Development Zone and the masterclasses that ran throughout the day, as well as seminars from show partners Eppendorf and Corning.

A worthwhile day for all

The show delivered a good dose of fun-fuelled activities alongside the exhibition and conference schedule, including prize draws, a mini-golf competition and liquid nitrogen ice cream. Twitter was ablaze throughout the day, with many people entering exhibitor prize draws and expressing their thanks. One happy visitor tweeted: “Dallas Campbell and Doug Allan have made this birthday one of the best for years.” As delegates headed home, exhibitors had a chance to reflect on the busy day. Sebastien Duchamp from Corning said: “It’s been a well-organised, amazing event, offering a great flow of potential and existing customers with a chance to talk about new projects and new products.”

The show is one of SLS’s key events for engaging its broad range of customers and exhibitors, and is central to supplying the highest quality, best value products and brands. Joshua Chapman, marketing director at SLS, said: “I couldn’t have asked for more. The combination of seminars, exhibitors and masterclasses makes it a truly special event, and it’s been encouraging to hear all the positive feedback from both attendees and exhibitors. This year has been a great success and provides all the motivation we need to work hard on preparing for the next show in 2020.

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