Spring Council Roundup
During its annual spring meeting, the SfN Council met with committee chairs, journal editors, and staff to review and discuss key accomplishments, new programmatic proposals, and strategic priorities.
Council reviewed SfN’s fiscal outlook to ensure that the Society can continue to operate from a position of stability and strength in an environment of ongoing financial headwinds. In light of these external constraints and with an expectation of moderate growth, Council approved a budget that continues important programming, makes careful spending reductions to account for increasing costs, and provides selective investments in new initiatives. Council reiterated its commitment to invest in the programs of the Society, ensuring SfN creates and effectively communicates the strong value of membership. Key areas of investment include support of the Society’s newest journal, eNeuro; the continued enhancement of online member programming through Neuronline; and resources to enable the Society to support a growing global membership. The chair of the Investment Committee reported on the progress SfN is making on its financial reserve strategy, which helps ensure the Society would be able to continue to serve the membership in a period of sustained financial adversity or another severe economic downturn.
The chair of the Scientific Publications Committee updated Council on areas of importance to the operation of the Society’s scientific journals, and Council heard additional reports from the editors in chief of eNeuro and The Journal of Neuroscience. Chairs also discussed with Council topics related to the annual meeting scientific program and SfN’s ethics policies.
Committees reported to Council on the programmatic activities, priorities, and strategies being carried out across the organization. Council also received information on the engagement and activities in advocacy and policy and the successful Hill Day, in which 52 volunteers participated in 81 meetings with congressional offices from 26 states and the District of Columbia. It was noted that while there is broad-based congressional support for NIH, translating that support into increased funding for research remains challenging in the current political environment. Council reaffirmed support for resources and engagement around advocacy and coalition activities to support an increase in federal research funding for FY2016.
Council was briefed on the newly launched Trainee Professional Development Awards, which merge together three similar awards programs that had previously been managed and administered by three separate committees. The Trainee Professional Development Awards are presented to deserving trainees who demonstrate scientific merit and excellence in their research. Council was enthusiastic about the streamlining of SfN’s professional development awards programs and the early support from external funders.
Council also approved a proposal to create more compelling value for clinicians at the annual meeting. The proposal includes a panel program that integrates basic, translational, and clinical aspects of a disease or disorder, a Meet-the-Clinician session, and a clinical neuroscience lecture.
In addition, Council discussed the topics of scientific rigor and workforce and training, which were both identified as continued areas of importance and programmatic focus for the Society. Council plans to continue the conversation on these important issues at its strategic planning meeting this August in Santa Monica, Calif.