Sponsor introductions: travel awards for ILTS members


To maintain its pre-eminent educational role in changing times ILTS needs to diversify its sources of industry support. It is looking for companies developing novel technologies and therapeutics who may be interested in opportunities to connect with liver teams worldwide through educational grants. To support this initiative ILTS now offers congress travel awards to members who can to identify and direct new industry partners to our management team.


Membership revenue covers only half of the society’s running costs. The other half depends mainly on annual congress grants from a few large pharmaceutical companies. However, industry education budgets are falling as competitive pressure on margins grows. To sustain high quality meetings, up-to-date online resources, scholarships and other services, the society needs the help of its members to broaden its sponsorship base.


ILTS has a new sponsors’ prospectus, ILTS Digital, which outlines year-round opportunities linked to our monthly newsletter, official website and online education, as well as a detailed prospectus aligned to the annual congress. Full information is available from the headquarters team in Berlin, Germany: sponsors should contact Lydie Buleon (Industry Liaison, lbuleon@kit-group.org) or Dermot Ryan (Executive Director, dryan@kit-group.org). See below our policy details and background information on this and other fund-raising initiatives.





J R Klinck, ILTS Special Projects Executive

August 2020


Following discussion with senior ILTS management staff in Berlin regarding declining funding from traditional pharmaceutical sponsors, the ILTS Development Committee proposed a series of initiatives to make ILTS more attractive to a wider range of industry sponsors (see APPENDIX below). The aim is to diversify sponsor income to reduce dependence on a few large companies focused on immunosuppression.


The society has a young, multidisciplinary and international membership, many of whom are opinion leaders in major areas of practice outside liver transplantation. ILTS’ members may be an untapped asset for sponsor engagement, especially involving smaller and growing biotechnology, equipment and specialist pharma companies looking for new modes of interaction with clinicians. A key proposal was to formally recognise and reward society members who introduce sponsors who provide a threshold level of support for the annual congress or other society activities. This is consistent with ethical fund-raising standards in other non-profit organisations, as long as actual or perceived conflicts of interest are avoided.






The following policy conditions are proposed:


  • Members introducing any new sponsor donating net $2000 or more are awarded free annual congress registration and $500 for congress or meeting travel and/or accommodation in the year following the sponsor introduction (one year only).


  • The above is on condition that the member has no personal or family financial interest in the company introduced (COI Declaration), and that the company can confirm the member’s recommendation of ILTS.


  • The member will be appropriately acknowledged on an ‘ILTS Thanks…’ page on the ILTS website similar to that recognizing Education Fund donors. The member will also receive written thanks from the president and two complimentary tickets to the congress social event on Friday evening.


  • This award may be shared between member colleagues who agree that securing the sponsor’s contribution was a joint effort.


  • No limit is placed on the number of awards granted, but, if in the same year, additional registration and travel funding will not be transferable between individuals or deferred to following year.











Existing sponsors:




  • Implement special recognition or opportunities for loyal / long-term sponsors – 2-3 privileges, eg meetings with ILTS council members at congress, introductions and formal thanks at Leadership Reception


  • Develop Congress Industry Forum: invited updates in congress prime time


  • Dedicated pages under ILTS Partners or ILTS Industry Compendium on ILTS.org





ILTS HQ staff in Berlin (Lydie Buleon and Carina Schmidt) have identified important issues in attempting to recruit sponsors:


  • Sponsors do not seek out support opportunities. ILTS must identify potential sponsors and compete directly with other societies for a share of limited sponsorship budgets.


  • Most sponsor decision-makers are marketing experts and have no medical background or knowledge of ILTS. The multidisciplinary aspect confuses them and deters engagement from the start.


  • Society communications and branding (website, prospectus) do not highlight sponsors’ topics of interest nor their target specialist audiences.


  • Co-ordinated re-branding is needed. We need to demonstrate our value by offering an open approach to sponsors’ requirements and providing detailed information about our mission, membership and plans. Data on members’ specialties and special interests is particularly important.


  • Identification of potential new sponsors is challenging for non-medical ILTS headquarters staff. They need active support from members in identifying potential products and suppliers.




  • Survey councilors / members re products, equipment and suppliers – promote reward for successful introduction, e.g. free congress registration for introducing a new sponsor contributing >$1500


  • Implement earlier congress and meeting timelines to meet sponsors’ budget deadlines: outline program available minimum 12 months ahead


  • Major revision of sponsors’ prospectus, with more information on ILTS membership and details of educational focus on new / priority areas


  • Pursue endowment opportunities


  • Pursue new sponsors in growth areas:


  • Oncology (downsizing, prevention of recurrence)


  • Anti-HCV (HCV-positive donors, prevention of recurrence)


  • Immunology: AMR diagnostics and treatment; new agents


  • NRP / Ex-vivo machine perfusion


  • End-stage liver disease management: albumin, terlipressin, NASH treatments


  • Operating room equipment and treatments


  • HPB-focused surgical equipment: specialist retractors, laparoscopic equipment, CUSA, Argon laser, harmonic scalpel, RFA
  • Point-of-care imaging: intraoperative ultrasound, US flow probes, trans-esophageal echocardiography
  • Blood conservation: point-of-care coagulation monitoring, coagulation factor concentrates


  • Interventional radiology: vascular / biliary / body cavity imaging and procedural equipment


  • Critical Care


  • Antimicrobials / antifungals
  • Liver support / albumin / dialysis
  • Point-of-care assays (blood gases, chemistry, ammonia)



  • Revise website Home page to highlight sponsors’ interests in top menu and sliders:


  • Additional top menu line featuring SIGs: Oncology, Machine Perfusion, Immunology, Infectious Diseases, HPB Surgery / LDLT


  • Top-of-page slider graphics showing relevant scientific figures / images


  • Dedicated sponsors’ information page on website with summarized information on membership, educational content (lectures, abstracts) and relevant SIG data


  • Sponsor-dedicated ILTS.org directory pages (ILTS Partners), featuring links and relevant congress educational content, as previously proposed (by JK~2010)


  • Improve member data collection:


  • require specialty and special interest information in member sign-up / profile,


  • update Special Interest topics to optimize priority areas


  • Use this data for sponsors:


  • numbers, growth, specialties, special interests


  • build graphical displays of members’ special interests



  • Target membership growth in key specialties – Hepatology, Oncology, Infectious Diseases, HPB Surgery, Lab/Diagnostics (promote SIGs)


  • Highlight SIGs and motivate SIGs to engage with sponsors


  • List and thank partners on website