I attended NESUG 2013 in Burlington, VT earlier this week, along with some colleagues. One announcement at the end of opening session caught us off-guard – that NESUG 2013 was to be the last NESUG. NESUG 2014, which had been originally planned to take place in Philadephia, is now canceled, as are all other NESUG conferences going forward. The committee sent out a follow-up email to their opening session announcement in which they detailed the reasons for the announcement. SAS has been a major sponsor of the conference since its inception, contributing both funding support and a large number of displays and presenters to the conference. Apparently SAS notified the committee on August 29th that they have chosen to reduce funding for all the annual regional conferences, choosing instead to focus on industry-specific conferences such as PharmaSUG and more shorter, local events. Given this withdrawal of support, the committee determined that it could no longer hold the annual conference.
NESUG was the first of the regional conferences to be held this fall, so we are expecting news from some of the other regional conferences such as SESUG and WUSS later this fall as they decide whether they, too, will be unable to continue putting on their events. The regional conferences provided a cross-industry forum for users to gather locally and share programming techniques, discuss new procedures and SAS updates, and share their research projects with a tight-knit community. NESUG was a more intimate gathering than SAS Global Forum and for many first-time presenters, it was a smaller, less-intimidating conference, often within driving distance of home, at which to share their work. We will miss seeing the same faces year after year and are disappointed that SAS has decided to withdraw their support and seek another direction.
Updated: As of September 18th, the NESUG committee has posted more information on their site about their decision, along with some documents from SAS about their support of the regional conferences going forward.