February 2011 Newsletter:

British Society for Neuroendocrinology (BSN) AGM - Unconfirmed Minutes

Annual General Meeting, 1.30pm, Monday 11th July 2010
Boudin Room, Law Faculty, Rouen, France

In attendance - In excess of 28 members of the Society
In the chair: Fran Ebling (EF)

  1. Apologies for absence

    John Russell, Gareth Leng, Stafford Lightman, Joe Herbert. The meeting was informed that Alison Douglas (AD), who was to take over the chair at this meeting, was unable to attend the meeting for personal reasons and that Fran would remain in the chair until AD's return.

  2. Approval of minutes of 2009 AGM, Edinburgh

    The minutes were approved without any corrections.

  3. Matters arising

    All matters arising are covered elsewhere in the agenda.

  4. Chairman's report combined with 6. Membership Secretary/Treasurer's Report

    FE began by thanking the members for attending the meeting. FE noted that the society remains very healthy and benefits from excellent scientific meetings, such as the ICN in Rouen, where the BSN was well represented.

    FE noted thanks to Gareth Leng (GL) as the head of the ICN programme committee and Helen Christian (HC) who had liaised with GL with input from the BSN re the ICN programme.

    As in 2009 it was reported that the financial affairs of the BSN had been overseen in 2010 by Greenhalgh (a copy of their report was circulated prior to and was available at the AGM). From the report it is apparent that the society remains cash rich and despite increasing the funds allocated to existing grants schemes in 2009-2010, the society would be advised to further increase its spending.

    GY asked how much money the society had to spend and how much did it need to hold. FE replied that we needed to hold sufficient funds to run the Journal and editorial office and to run the scientific meetings of the society for 2-3 years. Given our current financial position this gave us up to £100K to spend.

    FE suggested 3 ways to increase spending in line with the aims of the society.

    Increased allocation of funds to existing schemes. It was noted that current schemes were not oversubscribed. Colin Brown (CB) commented that the uptake of existing schemes could be increased if there was more advertising, as not all members were aware of the money that was available. It was noted that current schemes are advertised on the website and via email. CB asked if something could be included in the Journal? Dave Grattan (DG) indicated that this was possible but maybe not appropriate. John Bicknell (JB) suggested the inclusion of fliers. CB asked if there was a way to increase the profile of the website so that when people were looking for funding opportunities on line, those offered by the BSN would be more easily found? The webmaster should be consulted as to how this could be achieved. (Opportunist web searchers will not be able to get money until a member for >12months).
    ACTION - outreach committee to contact the Webmaster

    GY suggested that all BSN members include a link on their research websites to the BSN website.
    ACTION - outreach committee to request BSN members to add link to BSN website on their research websites

    Increased support for the INF. FE had attended the INF annual meeting and reported that the BSN was financially in a stronger position than the INF and that we could make a greater contribution to the wider neuroendocrinology community via greater support of INF initiatives. In particular it was suggested that we ask the INF to refer specific cases that are looking for funding and that we can make appropriate awards e.g. the young neuroendocrinologist scheme that will run in Brazil, and a Neurosteroids meeting that will be held in Italy. In each case the support would be branded as BSN and Journal of Neuroendocrinology to recognise the support of the society and further increase the profile of the Journal.
    ACTION - chair and BSN committee

    Research support. The possibility of providing research funding had been discussed at the AGM and committee meetings held last year. Problems raised were related to the size of the financial commitment and the practicalities of peer review of applications. FE put forward the suggestion that we could consider provision of funds to support additional work required where an applicant had just missed getting a grant (i.e. had received good reviews but needed additional preliminary data). The advantage would be that the peer review had been done. Funds would be for consumables and would not cover salary and thus would not attract university overheads. Applicants would be expected to submit a 1/2 to 1 page justification of the funds requested.

    There was support for this proposal but concerns were raised as some grant awarding bodies did not provide reviews and thus there was some inequality depending on where funding applications had been submitted, and that the BSN should not be seen to support ‘failed science’. Questions were raised as to how much would the BSN spend on such a scheme and when would applications be seen through the year. FE suggested that a set budget would be allocated with a number of defined deadlines as per existing schemes.
    ACTION - BSN committee to consider further

    John Bicknell (JB) suggested that we use money to top up PhD studentships.
    ACTION - BSN committee to consider further

    As discussed last year a "publication grant" was suggested whereby a student was provided money after PhD thesis submission to allow production of papers and application for funding.
    ACTION - BSN committee to consider further

    Jane Robinson (JR) asked about the provision of bridging support for post doctoral fellows. This possibility was supported by members attending the AGM. This possibility had been discussed last year but an issue raised against such a scheme was the provision of university overheads. Clive Coen suggested that as a registered charity the Society may not be liable to pay university overheads.
    (Clerks note – Checks indicated that as a charity, the BSN would indeed NOT be required to fund university indirect costs and could provide bridging support for post doctoral fellows as salary support alone).
    ACTION - BSN committee to consider further

    Simon Luckman suggested that we consider extending the grants schemes to support collaborative research allowing people to move between labs. It was concluded that this was effectively covered by existing schemes.
    The chair concluded the debate and requested that further comments be submitted to the committee via email.
    ACTION - secretary to request suggestions from all BSN members

  5. To receive and approve the 2009 Trustees report and Accounts

    The trustees report had been circulated to members before the meeting and copies were available at the AGM. FE asked if there were any specific issues to be addressed but there were none. FE therefore asked for the AGM to approve the trustees report. Proposed - John Morris (JM). Seconded - Giles Yeo (GY).

  6. Re-appointment of an external examiner of accounts: Greenhalgh

    FE thanked Greenhalgh for their report and suggested to the AGM that Greenhalgh was reappointed as external examiner of accounts for the next financial year. This motion was formally proposed by JE and seconded by Megan Holmes (MH).

  7. Meeting secretary's report

    HC reported that the next BSN meeting would be held in Cambridge on the 3-5th of July 2010 hosted by GY.

    The meeting would be held in association with the Turkish Neuroendocrine society, with the BSN providing some financial support for Turkish participants.

    During the year a proposal for a joint meeting with the British Neuroscience Association had been discussed and proposals for a symposium for the Harrogate meeting had been submitted, however, this had not progressed.

  8. Journal of Neuroendocrinology Secretary's Report

    DG indicated that he would submit a full written report that could be circulated to all members. Briefly, he reported that the journal was doing well. An editorial manager (0.5 FTE) was now in place and the office was stable and working well. In line with DG's previous indications, the editorial board are now all on fixed terms, so as to increase the number of people involved with the journal. As a consequence, 10 members of the editorial board will step down at the end of the year. In replacing these board members it is imperative that the board contains a broad range of expertise, reflects the geographic spread of submitting authors and remains in line with the stipulations of the constitution of the BSN. Nominations should be sent to DG.
    ACTION - DG
    ACTION – General secretary/membership secretary to request nominations from all BSN members

    DG thanked the current editorial board and all reviewers for their efforts supporting the journal.

    The latest impact factor for the Journal had increased to 3.7 (from 3.25). This was in part due to the 20th anniversary issue which was proving to be well referenced and the IF was expected to increase again next year. Two special issues are in preparation, one on mathematical modelling and one on steroids in the nervous system (mid 2011). The number of submission to the journal has increased and the acceptance rate currently runs as 60%. DG plans to change the way these figures are reported in future including a new category of options for reviews.

    There is currently an option for the submission of manuscripts for 'rapid processing' this is to be dropped as it is now no quicker than an ordinary review given the progress made to speed up the general review process.

    The journal has continued to publish the 'Young investigator perspectives' which are articles submitted by prize-winners of the society or following nomination of authors by their mentors. This has been coordinated by JB and HC. JB has indicated that he will step down from this role at the end of this year, DG thanked JB for his work in this area.

    DG indicated that he remains keen to increase the profile of the Journal by increased sponsorship.

    The publishers have indicated that the readership is stable.

  9. Journal of Neuroendocrinology secretary's report

    JM reported that Wiley-Blackwell had increased the number of pages allowed for reviews. JM reported that we are currently running at the page limit for the year. DG had asked for flexibility to increase the number of published pages. This may incur a cost but it has been indicated that Wiley-Blackwell may absorb some additional costs.

    There had been a large increase in revenue this year but it was noted that this was due to a series of one-off factors and thus the increase should not be seen as a recurrent event. It was noted that Wiley-Blackwell were marketing the journal well and that the society was benefiting from the fact that there was a very good publishing team present at Wiley-Blackwell that worked on the journal

  10. Approval of minor revisions to the Rules of the BSN

    Minor changes had been circulated to members before the meeting FE noted there had been no correspondence from members not present at the AGM and asked for questions re the proposed changes from members present at the AGM. As there were no questions, FE proposed to the meeting that the changes be accepted. The changes were unanimously endorsed by the AGM.

    The changes are to

    • Increase the number of officers on the committee from 5 to 7 and reduce the number of ordinary members from 7 to 5. These changes are due to the need to split the role of Treasurer/Membership Secretary to two separate roles and the formation of an Outreach secretary.
    • Specify that the General Secretary will keep the electronic and paper archives for the BSN committees, and will coordinate the production of the Annual Report.
    • Specify that the Membership Secretary shall be responsible for maintaining a register of Members for collecting Membership subscriptions, for issuing Newsletters to Members, and shall liaise with the web manager.
    • Specify that the treasurer shall be responsible for keeping the accounts of the Society and shall liaise with the Examiner of Accounts. The Treasurer shall chair the Grants subcommittee.
    • Specify that the Outreach Secretary shall chair the Outreach and Education subcommittee and coordinate the Newsletter and Website.
  11. Election of committee members

    It was noted that Kirsty Smith had stepped down from the committee and that FE was due to step down from the committee. During the year Giles Yeo and Maria Canal had been co-opted onto the committee and FE proposed that they be elected onto the committee to fill the two openings, and that Jon Johnston and Simon McArthur who had both indicated they wished to stand for re-election to the committee also be elected (FE to remain on the committee and retain the chair, until AD returns). This proposal was accepted by the AGM.

    The committee as of July 2010 will be
    Chairman – Alison Douglas (Fran Ebling acting as temporary chair)
    Membership Secretary – Kevin O'Byrne
    Treasurer – Megan Holmes
    General Secretary – Neil Evans
    Meetings Secretary – Jon Johnston
    Journal Secretary – John Morris
    Outreach Secretary – Julian Mercer
    Maria Canal
    Simon McArthur
    Giles Yeo
    Helen Christian
    Allison Fulford

  12. Any other competent business

    None

  13. Date and location of next meeting

    Cambridge July 2011