One of the best ways of either setting up – or strengthen - your professional network is to (help) organize a workshop. This seems a daunting task at the beginning, and it is indeed a lot of work, but at the end it is very rewarding. People in your network will really get to know you (in person) and this makes communicating and cooperation afterwards so much easier.
Anyway, then the fun part begins. The to-do list was big: Finding a nice location, preferably downtown Utrecht Zaalverhuur 7, Boothstraat 7, very nice!), are there enough (not to expensive) hotels in the neighborhood (yes), easy to travel (yes, by Schiphol airport and train), conference dinner, catering, who to invite? Mostly, the list of participants is derived from previous meetings, the core group and some others lead- and co-authors of the various projects. And advertise in newsletters, make a website (http://www.uu.nl/ landcover6k) and mention it in other talks and presentations in other gremia. Of course, some attention must be paid for participants from developing countries. PAGES finds that very important, so you end up with talking on the phone with the Nigerian embassy and trying them to convince that your invitation is legit... Or send letters of invitation to exotic countries (Uganda, China, India) to help scientist to come over here. Not to mention paying for the travel and lodging for some, which I did not have to do luckily, but my colleague from Sweden did.
After two days I was pretty worn out, but very pleased with the result. We made good progress and plans for the next months. Actually, one of the participants will visit Copernicus soon on his sabbatical to continue some mutual work. All for science!