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Working Group on Area Structure

Can Science be "Regional"

Why? What? Who? Where? When?

One of the areas reviewed at the Strategy Meeting earlier this year was the Society's Regional Section structure. The results of the MORI poll discussions at the Strategy Meeting and discussions within the Professional and Education Committee have stimulated all sections of the Society to look afresh at what it does and how it achieves its mission of the promotion of biochemical sciences. There is a consensus on the need for change and in response to this need the Executive Committee appointed a Working Group on Area Structure.

The Group comprises:
Angus Lamond (Executive Committee) in the Chair
Yvonne Barnet (Executive Committee)
Robert Eisenthal (Representing Regional Group Chairs)
Hilary Evans (Chair, PEC)
Simon Jarvis (Representing Regional Group Chairs)
Talvinder Sihra (Council)
Chris Skidmore (Honorary Secretary, PEPA)
Jeremy Pearson (Independent)

This Group is assessing whether a revised regional approach might play a greater part in all the activities of the Society and not just the professional and education activities that have been the historical remit of the Regional Groups.

The Working Group is looking at these key questions:
  • Can a regional approach contribute to the activities of a learned society such as the Biochemical Society?
  • Are there opportunities for activities at a regional level outside the traditional professional and education activities?
  • If the Society needs a regional organisation what form is best suited to the needs of the Society in the new millennium?
  • What part might a regional structure play in the future governance of the Society?

At its first meeting in June the Working Group recognized that, despite excellent regional projects having been organized in the past, change was necessary. Elements to be considered were regional representation on Council, and funding available for local activities.

Whatever form any local organisation takes, the promotion of the science of biochemistry as a whole would be its remit. The Working Group agreed that this would be through promotion of biochemistry as a community with an identity that was inclusive of pre-doctoral students, schools and those in industry. A successful biochemical community would stimulate new membership and could promote the science through meetings and all aspects of the Society's activities.

This would only become a reality through improved communications, better information from members regarding their scientific interests (e.g. at membership subscription renewal), proactive identification of members for regional affiliation, better website information and badging local and regional activities.

A complete restructuring of the Society's approach to regional activities will obviously take some time to implement, not least because we would like to have input from the membership to shape the changes. We would therefore welcome comments from members on any way in which regional or local activities might contribute to the Society's aims and objectives. The Working Group will report to meetings of the Executive Committee and Council during 2002.

In the meantime, the Society has allocated a sum of 10,000 for regional/local activities as a pilot scheme to assess the demand for such activities and to seek ideas on the type of activities that members feel would help to promote biochemistry on a broad scale.

Details of these grants appear at:

Even if you don't have an immediate idea for a project or time to implement it, please let us have your ideas either on this specific initiative or more generally on how the Society might better exploit local networks

Your views
You can submit your comments using our online form

Alternatively, write or e-mail to:
Glyn Jones
Executive Secretary
The Biochemical Society
59, Portland Place
Fax: +44 (0)207 580 5530