ASCB is developing a strategic plan that will help to guide the organization over the next five years.  Because this plan will be critically important for managing the work of the Society the ASCB leadership wants to make sure that we are as inclusive and transparent as possible in the development of the plan.  We would like your feedback!  If you have suggestions, comments, or questions, please send them to If you don’t have feedback at the moment but would like advance notice about work on this project, you can let us know that as well and we will add you to the contact list.


In the fall we hired the Center for Applied Research to help facilitate this project. They conducted research based on information we had already gathered (surveys of members for example), information about other organizations and wider society trends, and interviews with members selected to represent different constituencies and the leadership.

Some of the notable findings from this research revealed that significant external trends including the state of U.S. federal funding, changing career trajectories for scientists, and new technology could influence the success of ASCB in the future. Internally, declines in major revenue sources and the wide diversity of programs run by committees are key factors. A surprising finding is that ASCB has lower revenue per member than similar scientific societies.

Draft Strategic Priorities

_MG_5780On December 2, 2016, the ASCB Council, committee chairs, and key staff met to develop a draft set of strategic priorities that provide high-level organization for the strategic plan.  The five consensus priorities from the group are:

  1. Promote the centrality of cell biology to diversify membership, expand partnerships with adjacent disciplines and societies, and help others see themselves as cell biologists.
  2. Democratize the society by ensuring leadership and decision making better reflect the broad range of membership and their interest and priorities.
  3. Become the essential provider of career development for members in each career phase and for the many career paths cell biologists take.
  4. Exercise leadership in science outreach, including science literacy for the public and advocacy/public policy.
  5. Grow and diversify funding of ASCB

Additionally, there were several overarching principles that were also highlighted:

  1. Support and propagate high-quality scientific discovery and discussion
  2. Be a diverse and inclusive society
  3. Adopt innovative approaches to programs and services using evidence-based methods

Next Steps

During the first quarter of 2017 small groups of Councilors, committee chairs, and staff will work to flesh out an action plan based on the five priorities.  This plan will be reviewed and discussed by the Council during their meeting on May 15–16. Once we have incorporated their feedback we hope to have an approved strategic plan for the organization by June 2017.

We will continue to update this page as new information is available. If you have comments or would like to be added to a mailing list to receive updates on this project, please email

    – Erika Shugart, Executive Director

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