Recent Global Science Committee Brainstorming Session at the SETAC North America 32nd Annual Meeting in Boston
Barnett Rattner, Federal Government, USA
Continuing a discussion that has been gaining energy over the past two years within the Society, over 20 Science Committee members, Advisory Group chairs, World Council members and staff gathered during the Boston meeting to discuss the direction of SETAC’s science.
Most broadly, the discussion sought to address the benefits of synergies across scientific disciplines and advisory groups within SETAC. More particularly, the participants touched on concerns within the Science Committee that some recently reviewed workshop proposals contained elements that seem to stray from one of SETAC's core values, the use of science in environmental policy and decision-making. The general consensus was that workshop proposals can, and even should articulate the use of scientific principles to develop and support various policy options and scenarios. Regulatory implications of new policies, and identification of knowledge gaps related to policy, were considered as acceptable topics within a workshop and SETAC’s Public Outreach Guidelines and Procedures document establish the outreach parameters.
Other less charged topics during the brainstorming session included enhanced interactions among Geographic Unit Science/Technical Committees with the Global Science Committee, and the desire to engage our membership (particularly students) in an open board-based meeting with advisory group leaders at the upcoming World Congress in Berlin.
Given the increasing complexity of today’s environmental challenge, including the broader dimension of global sustainability, there is clearly a need for continuing this broader forum within SETAC. Based on the Science Committee-led discussions in Boston and at previous SETAC meetings, there is great interest in discussing the future of SETAC science. The World Congress in Berlin, Germany, in May offers the next opportunity with potential discussions at the SETAC Asia/Pacific meeting in Kumamoto, Japan, in late September and at the SETAC North America meeting in Long Beach, California, in mid-November.
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