Summer Council Roundup
During its annual summer meeting, SfN Council engaged in robust discussions on strategic planning, as well as the Society’s long-term financial management and potential opportunities to invest in SfN’s mission. It also reviewed ongoing activities and progress related to the upcoming annual meeting in San Diego, membership, scientific publications, public outreach, and advocacy.
Financial Frameworks Support Members
The Society strives to use its funds wisely, ensuring it can serve the field’s evolving scientific needs, provide value to SfN members, and sustain the organization for the long term while investing now in programs that advance the field. The summer meeting enables Council to look out over a longer, three-year period to evaluate opportunities and challenges that may affect revenues or expenses. This process also incorporates the needs of the community and pressures on science funding for many around the world, as well as the importance of maintaining prudent financial footing. After extensive discussion, Council approved the Finance Committee’s recommendations for a multiyear budget framework and strategic investments that will allow the Society to avoid increases for key prices that most affect members, continue successful innovation in core programs, and make select additional investment in identified areas.
Specifically, Council voted to hold individual membership dues at the 2016 rate for the next two years, in recognition of continued financial pressures facing many scientists and to build greater awareness about the value of membership. In addition, Council also voted to freeze journal publishing fees for JNeurosci and eNeuro.
Communicating Member Value
Membership dues help the Society put on world-class events such as the annual meeting, operate publishing venues for excellent science like JNeurosci and eNeuro, and enable robust advocacy efforts, professional development and training programs, and public outreach activities. All SfN activities offer unique value for those who invest in the Society’s programming through their membership. During the past year, SfN introduced members-only programming to offer even greater value to members at all career stages. Additionally, Council affirmed its desire to recognize loyalty and encourage membership through financial incentives, which will roll out at the start of the membership renewal season and will maintain substantial discounts for members on major SfN programs, including journal publication fees, annual meeting registration, and more.
Approved Committee Chairs
Council approved the following recommendations from the Committee on Committees for committee chairs, with terms to begin after the 2016 annual meeting:
- Cara Altimus, Incoming Chair, Trainee Advisory Committee
- Ramesh Raghupathi, Incoming Chair, Global Membership Committee
- Rae Nishi, Chair, Professional Development Committee
- Raymond Dingledine, Chair, Investment Committee (term extended)
Strategic Initiatives for Further Development
At its spring meeting, Council authorized up to $1.5 million annually for select investment in programs that serve members. At Council’s request, staff presented white papers at the summer meeting on high-value opportunities identified as having the potential to substantially expand the Society’s reach and impact for both membership and the field. Council prioritized the initiatives and approved the strategic investment of funds drawn from the Society’s reserves to support the following areas:
- Design and functionality enhancements of BrainFacts.org, which now hosts 170,000 visits monthly and was built on the brand of the Brain Facts book produced by the Society in seven editions over 25 years.
- An even more robust and visible advocacy program in the U.S. and around the world.
- Potential significant growth of SfN scientific training.
- Investment in the use of data to serve members more efficiently and effectively.
- Enhanced communications and marketing of SfN programs to create greater awareness among the field.
Following up on its decision to support these initiatives, Council appointed a working group on scientific training to work with staff to further develop a scientific training agenda and potential activities and to report back and make recommendations to Council at its spring meeting in Washington, DC.
As SfN approaches the 50th anniversary of its founding in 2019, Council has begun discussions on how to celebrate and commemorate this significant milestone. Council approved the creation of a working group that will identify and present recommendation for activities to celebrate the 50th anniversary.