SETAC Globe - Environmental Quality Through Science
17 July 2014
Volume 15 Issue 7
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Valedictory Address from the SETAC Europe Immediate Past President

Laurent Lagadic, INRA

On 14 May 2014, at the Annual General Assembly during the SETAC Europe 24th Annual Meeting in Basel, Switzerland, I officially stepped down as SETAC Europe President.

As I look back at the past year, I must say it was a busy one! I consider myself very lucky for serving as SETAC Europe President because it gave me the chance to work with fully committed SETAC Europe Council members. My first thought therefore goes to every member of the council as well as the presidents of the regional branches and the Student Advisory Council.  Thank you so much for your contributions!

My thanks also goes to the SETAC Europe office staff. We spent memorable time together, and I particularly appreciated their commitment and efficiency, and I have to say I always felt in good company, especially when we were sharing Breton cakes or cider!

Finally, I wish to warmly thank Bart Bosveld, not only because he was able to understand what I had in mind without too many words being spoken, but also because he nearly saved my life when I was completely dehydrated in Zambia! I will never forget!

With the help of all of these committed people, the main goals of the SETAC Europe Strategic Plan 2013–2016 were reached. We achieved better visibility of the SETAC Europe structure, governance and actions through updating guidance documents and standard operating procedures for committee activities (available on the SETAC website); revised polices, on SETAC Europe Special Science Symposia (SESSS) and regional branches, for example; and updated the SETAC Europe website pages.

The implementation of the Arabian Gulf Branch and the Russian Language Branch, as well as support for students and members from low- and middle-income countries to participate in our activities, contributed to the geographic expansion of SETAC Europe and stability of the membership.

We collectively acted to maintain and even reinforce recognition and dissemination of scientific expertise and knowledge. We improved our education program with new summer and winter schools in partnership with European universities and initiated the post-graduate certification program for environmental risk assessors. The organization of SESSS, an LCA case study symposium and technical workshops also contributed to the influence of SETAC Europe scientific expertise. And let’s not forget to mention the Young Environmental Scientists meeting's role in educating the next generation of experts in environmental sciences.

In addition to all these activities, we were able to establish a €90,000 reinvestment plan, which testifies to the excellent financial health of SETAC Europe.

For the first time, we used performance and satisfaction indicators to evaluate the success of SETAC Europe’s action program and management. Over the past year, 88% of the objectives assigned to the executive director were met. The quality of the scientific information delivered at SETAC Europe meetings was ranked as excellent or good (by more than 80% of the attendees). The average mark for general satisfaction of the Brussels office staff was 8.6 out of 10 (national employee satisfaction index is at 7.5).

Of course, there are always ways to provide a better service to our members. In particular, the benefits of participating in short courses offered at the annual meetings and being active in SETAC Advisory Groups. It would be good to see stronger involvement by SETAC Europe representatives in the Publication Advisory Committee. The opportunities to cooperate with other scientific societies should be explored more consistently. We also strive for better media coverage of our meetings and other activities.

I leave it up to my successor, Mónica Amorim, to take the responsibility and to enjoy the pleasure of guiding and representing SETAC Europe in the coming year. She already knows that I will be around if she needs any help, and I wish her a successful and enjoyable year being the new SETAC Europe President.

As immediate past president, I will continue working on the recognition of the scientific expertise of SETAC Europe and more specifically, the benefits of SETAC’s tripartite structure of academia, government and business. This structure supports a body of shared understanding and an informed opinion on environmental policies.

Author contact information: laurent.lagadic@rennes.inra.fr

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