February 2010 Newsletter:

Chairman's report

In these times of economic gloom and uncertainty of funding for both teaching and research activity in higher education, it is rather rewarding to report another highly successful year for the BSN. We had a vigorous and well-attended annual meeting in Edinburgh, so many thanks to Alison and her colleagues for hosting us so well. The Journal is prospering under the guidance of Dave Grattan and his team, and we have supported many colleagues in one way or another with the various grant schemes, details in this newsletter. This year we will forego our annual meeting in favour of the 7th International Congress of Neuroendocrinology in Rouen. For anyone living south of Northampton (though why anybody would actually want to live south of Northampton is beyond me) then the drive to Rouen is shorter than the drive to Edinburgh, so I look forward to seeing many of you enjoy the gastronomic hospitality for which Normandy is famous, not to mention an outstanding scientific program. Deadline for registration and submission of abstracts is fast looming, so rapid action is required.

The ICN will mark the end of my stint as Chair of the steering committee, I took up the reins in 2005 and our current rules stipulate that this officer will serve for a term of 4 years. The committee met in the splendid Gordon Museum at Guy's Campus, King's College London last month and unanimously elected Alison Douglas as the next chairman/chairwoman/chairperson. I know she will do a great job having looked after the society's finances and membership so well for the last five years. When I took over I was expecting income from the Journal to decline as the impact of online publishing kicked in, but we have continued to see our income increase as online sales are maintained. We should thank the efforts of our publisher Wiley-Blackwell for this, and I personally would thank John Morris for successfully renegotiating our contract and maintaining excellent links with Wiley.

The society has certainly evolved over the last five years. We have used the continued income from the journal to support a wide range of schemes including support for research visits, attendance at conferences, and support for symposia and outreach activities. We now have online membership renewal, accountants to audit us and prepare our annual financial report for the Charity commissioners, clearer rules about how we should run our organisation in a professional and accountable manner, and diversified investments, and yet I’d like to think we have retained an informal friendly atmosphere at our meetings which allows younger scientists to present their work in a receptive environment.

Finally, I would like to welcome Giles Yeo from Cambridge who has been co-opted on to the steering committee. The 2011 annual meeting will be in Cambridge rather than London as originally planned as Kirsty Smith has left Imperial College to join Prosidion near Oxford. We wish her well in her new position on the dark side, and look forward to her continued input to the committee with her new private sector hat on.

Fran Ebling, Nottingham