SETAC Globe - Environmental Quality Through Science
21 January 2016
Volume 17 Issue 1
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A Year in Perspective—2015

Barnett Rattner, SETAC World Council Immediate Past President

As your 2015 SETAC president, I found the year quite busy, challenging and often exciting. SETAC had a highly productive year with each of our five geographic units having significant meetings in wonderful venues—Barcelona, Spain, Nelson, New Zealand, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Langebaan, South Africa, and Salt Lake City, Utah. In addition, we held two Pellston Workshops®, six technical workshops and symposia, webinars and live training in risk assessment, and published over 3,600 pages in our two world-class journals.   

As always, your SETAC World Council worked diligently over the past year (a dozen conference calls, numerous executive committee meetings and three days of face to face discussions). We launched the new strategic plan for SETAC in January 2015, merged our Internet and Communications Committees to strengthen overall activity, facilitated revision of SOPs for our International Programs and our Global Partners and Affiliates Committee, and fostered the growth and functioning of our large and very active Global Science Committee. Our numerous global advisory groups, ranging from Animal Alternatives to Wildlife Toxicology, are operating at an all-time high, as evidenced by their annual reports submitted during the SETAC Salt Lake City meeting. We continue to interact with other scientific societies and non-governmental organizations to plan and co-sponsor workshops and symposia on topics such as ecosystem services and economic valuation decisions.

With some introspection following our annual officer election in May, the SETAC World Council evaluated and revised our bylaws to better insure a “global image” of SETAC World Council governance. Starting in 2016, a rotation of SETAC vice presidential candidates among SETAC North America, SETAC Europe and the combined geographic units of SETAC Latin America, SETAC Asia/Pacific and SETAC Africa, will be instituted. When fully functional, the SETAC vice president, president and immediate past president will be from three distinct geographic units. The world council was requested to revisit the role of students in governance and related activities. Through a series of presentations and in-depth discussion, significant differences were summarized amongst geographic units. Realizing that the role of students may be more crucial to the functioning of smaller geographic units, at this point in time the world council has taken a laissez-faire stance in dictating voting rights and other privileges of students at the geographic unit level. This topic will likely be revisited in the future.

We continue to foster the Global Horizon Scanning Project that will help compile the most important environmental research questions and likely shape our society for the coming decade.  A presentation of findings is scheduled for the 7th SETAC World Congress/37th SETAC North America Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida. SETAC has launched new efforts to insure integrity in science, research and communication, and this will involve activity at all levels of our society in 2016. 

As a charter member, I have watched and participated in the growth and development of our society over the past 35 years. It is hard to believe that a start-up organization with a couple of hundred members from North America in 1980 has grown to a respected international society with 6,000 members from 100 countries. For 2015, I personally want to thank the SETAC staff, executive directors, world council, the five geographic unit boards and councils, committees and advisory groups, many global and geographic unit sponsors, and of course you, our members, for a highly successful year.

Author contact information: brattner@usgs.gov

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