ASCB Council Looks to the Future

The ASCB Council’s December 2016 meeting was a chance for Council members, committee chairs, and journal editors to examine some of the Society’s major programs and look to the future to determine strategic direction. The meeting started with an update from 2016 President Peter Walter. He highlighted some of the accomplishments over the past year as well as exciting new plans such as the new Doorstep Meeting and the upcoming partnership with EMBO for the 2017 and 2018 meetings. Erika Shugart, Executive Director, focused her remarks on exploration of partnerships with other societies, strategic planning, new staff hires, and proposed changes to the selection and scheduling of non-scientific programming at the Annual Meeting.

The Council then turned its attention to the 2016 financial report and 2017 budget presented by Gary Gorbsky, Treasurer, and Cynthia Godes, Senior Director of Finance and Administration. The Society is projecting a deficit budget of $660,000, which is smaller than the $804,000 deficit that was projected for 2016. ASCB continues to be financially sound due to the Society’s reserves, but it will need to reverse this trend of deficit spending in the near future. The Council approved the budget.

Pietro De Camilli, 2017 ASCB President, presented the draft program for the 2017 ASCB|EMBO Meeting. The collaboration between these two large organizations speaks to the global impact of science. Besides continuing to focus on cell biology as the basis of modern biology, the meeting will highlight the exciting connections between neurobiology and cell biology. The Council was excited about the range of science and the diversity of the proposed speakers and approved the draft program.

The Council heard updates from the Minorities Affairs Committee on a major grant proposal to the National Institutes of Health, Erin Dolan on LSE, and David Drubin on MBoC. The Council also approved $1,800 for travel awards for LGBTQ scientists in 2017.

The Council, committee chairs, and staff spent most of the meeting in a strategic planning session facilitated by staff from the Center for Applied Research. A summary of the strategic priorities and the need for planning is explained in a separate article in this issue (see p. 1). The group broke from the planning work at lunch to hear a presentation from Cory Bargmann, Joe DeRisi, and Jonathan Weissman on the new Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

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