SETAC Globe - Environmental Quality Through Science
21 May 2015
Volume 16 Issue 5
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Message from the SETAC Europe Immediate Past President

Mónica Amorim, Universidade de Aveiro 

It has been a great pleasure to serve as the SETAC Europe President during this past year. It has definitely been very enriching and a fantastic year at many levels! As I mentioned at the opening ceremony of the SETAC Europe 25th Annual Meeting in Barcelona, Spain, not only has it been an exciting year with SETAC work but also for me personally (as some of you have seen on my belly). For the past eight months, I wondered how long I would be able to continue the SETAC activities, but fortunately, it has been possible all the way through! The last challenge came as I flew to the meeting and learned that I could not fly back with that company. I had to find another airline that allowed my return home–this has also succeeded!

I want to give a big thank you to the SETAC Europe Council members for their commitment and dedication with which they have worked for SETAC. They made the implementation of many proposed activities possible, while proactively developing new ideas and goals.

This past year, we had two main priorities: First, to strengthen the tripartite structure of SETAC and second, to increase the support for younger members and encourage their participation in SETAC activities.

Priority 1: Strengthen the SETAC tripartite structure
Considerable progress has been made to strengthen the balance of academia, business and government in SETAC. For example, we have reached out to key governmental entities with an aim to link more closely with SETAC, and we understand now that some aspects of the process for external engagement can be difficult. SETAC Europe tries to better facilitate this collaboration and is working on this as much as possible. The tripartite structure is one of the most important pillars of SETAC because it ensures a more balanced and complete message of Environmental Quality Through Science®, which leads to a stronger society and more potential outreach opportunties.

Priority 2: Increase the support for younger members and encourage their participation in SETAC activities
Younger members have extraordinary abilities and energy to set actions in motion. The Student Advisory Council, for instance, fully developed the Young Environmental Scientists (YES) meeting series over the past few years. They also organize the student mentor lunches, among many other activities, at the SETAC Europe annual meetings. This year, we encouraged young members to chair sessions, which resulted in a successful merge between more and less experienced scientists ensuring knowledge transfer. Younger members are the future of SETAC!

Again, my deepest thanks to all who promoted and helped to carry out these aims, especially those that were part of many other SETAC engagements.

It has been a busy year for SETAC Europe, full of activities such as continuing educational outreach efforts by offering a number of SETAC Europe Summer Schools and launching the SETAC Europe Certification of Environmental Risk Assessors Program (CRA), all fruits of a long-term, ongoing plan, with a final massive development this year. The SETAC Europe scientific program has been, as usual, a continuous flow of workshops, meetings, SESSSs, and more, thanks to the active membership efforts and this strongly engaged society.

Finally, I would like to share with you a proposition for the future, “Slow Science.” I think that Slow Science should be promoted and supported by SETAC. We observe a tremendous number of studies and the constant pressures to publish fast (“Publish or perish!”)  and move while on the run. In line with high-quality science which we aim for, there has been less promotion of longer-term and fully in-depth studies in particular, and less actual concrete recognition and promotion in this area. One opportunity would be to brainstorm what can be targeted that helps Slow Science to find the right place and a SETAC star. By promoting Slow Science, SETAC will, in a globally changing world, prepare itself for an even longer term and higher level of responsibility in the support to society.

Author's contact information: mjamorim@ua.pt

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