VisitScotland Business Events hosted more than 50 guests, representing 33 global associations, for an evening of innovation and collaboration at Scotland House in Brussels.

The inaugural VisitScotland Association Reception brought together senior association representatives from a diverse range of sectors including aviation and transport, public health, equality, life sciences, construction, engineering and government.

Guests had the chance to immerse themselves into the country’s innovation and famous pioneering spirit as well as a chance to sample some traditional Scottish hospitality. The reception represented a continuation of Scotland’s bold new strategy for engaging with associations around the world.

Featuring Professor Dame Anne Glover, president of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the event emphasised Scotland’s intellectual capital, the long history of innovation and invention and the ongoing contributions to modern science, academia and industry. Scotland is looking to forge a new narrative away from a ‘tourism’ model, which typically emphasises on venues and access.


The country is home to world-class researchers and facilities, which associations and their delegates can access. This provides them with a unique opportunity to learn from Scotland, and also leave some of their knowledge behind.

Dame Anne, one of Scotland’s most prominent academics, delivered a keynote address at the event. Glover, who is also special advisor to the principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Strathclyde, was the first chief scientific adviser for Scotland, was awarded A CBE in 2009 for services to environmental science, and a DBE in 2016 for services to science in the UK and Europe.

She commented: “Scotland is an outward-looking, collaborative country, with a world-renowned research community. The country is rightly known for its many achievements which have had a huge impact on the world, but it is also important to recognise that this legacy is still very much alive today. 

“In our innovation centres and universities, Scotland continues to operate at the forefront of numerous key sectors, but this is not work done in isolation; any endeavour requires collaboration, fresh ideas, new perspectives and a pooling of talent. It is vital that Scotland continues to attract new people to live and work here, and that it actively welcomes in new ideas and learns from others.”

She continued: “I’m delighted to be supporting this event here in Brussels, and to impress upon our colleagues in international associations that Scotland is open to you, we have a lot to offer in return and that now, more than ever, our working together on the big challenges we all face is vital.”

Patrick Lamont, Associations & Sectors, VisitScotland Business Events said: “This has been a landmark event in how Scotland speaks to our colleagues and friends in the associations world. Each association that comes to Scotland has the power to leave its mark on the country, and equally to learn from Scotland.

“Associations should not represent a one-way revenue stream, each event in Scotland offers us the opportunity to share with the world what we are doing, how Scotland is addressing the latest issues in a range of industries, and of course for Scotland to listen and learn. There are few greater and more lasting adverts for our country than welcoming 4,000 world leaders to spend a week with us”. 

Molly joined the editorial team in March 2019. She has several years’ experience working in broadcast and journalism, as well as marketing and PR. Past experience includes working for the BBC and independent publishing houses. If you have a story you think Molly might be interested in, please email: