In writing this report I now realise that it is just about a year since I took over the tiller of the BSN from the previous Chairman, Fran Ebling. I want to warmly thank Fran for his excellent navigating of the Society over the past few years - under his guidance we have become more professional, as well as more advanced in our outreach and more generous in supporting our members in their research and collaborations. I note also that he has said for the past few years now that the expected decline in our financial income from the Journal of Neuroendocrinology has not yet materialised - long may that live! Indeed, under the strong helm of Dave Grattan and his team in New Zealand and the diligence of John Morris (our Journal Secretary), there is no reason at present to expect a sudden decline in journal success. The Neuro-endocrinology Briefings are also going from strength to strength. In the last year, John Bicknell, who initiated these lay publications and has produced an impressive portfolio of articles covering most aspects of neuroendocrinology, passed over the responsibility to Mike Ludwig. Since then we have seen a new wave of Briefings covering a fresh set of neuroendocrine topics. With their distribution across the UK via various routes they have become a great resource in the field. Beyond the UK, they are now translated into both French and Japanese to further benefit students and scientists across the globe.
Last year Giles Yeo ran a very successful Annual conference in Cambridge, topped by his personally providing the entertainment. This joint meeting with the Turkish Society saw us extend our hospitality into Europe again and it was evident that our Turkish colleagues much appreciated the scientific and social camaraderie. It is intended that the BSN reciprocate and accept a Turkish invitation to join their annual conference in the future, although this is likely to be after the next ICN rather than before - we will discuss this further at the 2012 AGM during the next Annual conference. This is planned for Aberdeen in July, and you will find detailed information from Julian Mercer about that elsewhere in this newsletter.
Another success over the past year has been the introduction of a new grant scheme for project support for postgraduate students. Allison Fulford and her team worked hard on this to ensure a useful and fair allocation of more of our funds, and I want to especially thank her for the effort involved in getting the scheme off the ground so quickly in late 2010. This really boosts our support of our members, encourages new neuroendocrinologists and makes beneficial use of our income - look out for the next deadline on 1st April 2012 (see details below). We continue to discuss new ideas for spending money at each Steering committee meeting and AGM and hope to present further proposals to you in Aberdeen in July - your continued input to the process with suggestions for optimising the schemes and initiating new grants is highly valued at all times.
I couldn’t wrap up my comments without mentioning the current, huge undertaking of revising the BSN website. Julian Mercer and Kevin O’Byrne have heroically liaised between the Steering committee, Ian Hill (our current web manager) and our newly appointed web services company, PCS, to initiate an extensive review and republishing of the website. This is a long awaited and exciting development for us that has taken time and effort to get right, and many, many thanks go to Julian and Kevin for their commitment to that project over the last 6 months - more about that below, but look out for the live site within the next month or so!! Information will be sent to all members at the time when you can surf the pages to see our new initiatives and use the more professional access and benefits for members and non-members alike.
I wish I could say I’m off now to cruise the Clyde in my yacht, but that will have to wait a few years!! I’ll have to console myself with a visit to the Royal Yacht Britannia in Leith Docks (Christmas Fayre raffle prize win!!), and I look forward to seeing you join the crew of the good ship ‘BSN’ in Aberdeen in July.
Alison Douglas, Edinburgh