AN ambitious attempt is being made to hold an Oxford-based high-tech conference for the Wikimedia Foundation, which runs the Wikipedia encyclopedia on the Internet.

The Wikimania conference, which brings together hundreds of "Wikimedians," has been held every year since 2005, with the 2008 event taking place in Alexandria, Egypt, last month.

Now a bid is being made to bring the 2010 conference to Oxford, with organisers hoping to involve local and international firms to support the attempt.

Co-ordinator Tom Holden, who is studying for a doctorate in economics at Oxford University, said: "Oxford is in a great position to be able to host the conference as it is a centre for high-tech businesses. This is a really superb opportunity for Oxford to showcase its credentials to an international audience."

Other cities competing to hold the event include Seoul, Korea; Washington DC; and Amsterdam.

The deadline for bids is next March and Mr Holden believes he will have to raise about £200,000 in sponsorship to add weight to the campaign.

Mr Holden added: "We are looking for twenty sponsors to donate about £10,000 each, which will be a mixture of big international businesses and smaller local companies."

If successful, the aim is to hold the event in Oxford Town Hall, the only venue considered big enough to accommodate up to 700 people.

Anyone interested in becoming involved can see the bid page at http://meta.wikimedia. org/wiki/Wikimania_2010/ Bids/Oxford