Annegaaike Leopold, SETAC Europe President

It is a tremendous pleasure for me to address you as SETAC Europe President, 28 years after my (and SETAC Europe’s) first conference in Sheffield in the UK. It is great to be able to give back to this society that has provided me with so much opportunity to grow scientifically, develop a whole range of managerial and personal skill sets, and make innumerable friends and connections.

“My” year started in the beautiful and welcoming city of Helsinki, where we had a very successful SETAC Europe 29th Annual Meeting. The 2,161 delegates from 64 countries gave the highest score ever in our participation satisfaction survey. With 648 platform presentations in 77 different sessions and 1,276 poster presentations it was an extremely interesting and dynamic meeting. Thank you again to everyone who made this event so successful. In Helsinki, we also welcomed into the SETAC Europe Council (SEC) five new council members: Sandrine Andres, Nicole Bandow, Mefalda Castro (the new chair of the Student Advisory Council), Peter Dohmen, Marie Hélène Enrici and Theo Traas. We would like to congratulate them and thank them for taking on this role, and we wish them a fulfilling and inspiring time on the council.

The theme I have given to this year is (connecting through) communication: within SEC, with our members in Europe, with the SETAC World Council, as much as possible with our fellow SETAC members in the different Geographic Units around the world, and with decision-makers, concerned stakeholders in Europe and the world, and fellow scientists in other professional societies.

At the end of September, SEC had the first “face-to-face meeting” of the year: two and a half days of non-stop discussions. One of the key topics on our agenda was to listen to voices of our members through the membership survey that SETAC Europe sent out earlier this year. We covered, for example, topics about optimizing networking opportunities at and “in between’’ our meetings. This appears to be one of the benefits that was scored most highly by our members. Our membership survey results will be informing SEC’s discussions about broader questions related to membership also as they relate to the global SETAC organization. We will be reporting on the outcome of these discussions in a SETAC Globe article in early 2020.

As referred to above, one point of focus this year is the further strengthening our connections (connecting through communicating) with policymakers and regulatory decision-makers in Europe. We will be reporting to you on this also as we make progress throughout the year. In order to strengthen these ties effectively, we are working hard at enhancing SETAC’s ability to contribute to the transfer of science to policy, learning about greater and smaller successes from the past, and implementing these lessons in future activities. This SETAC Globe article reports on the meeting held in Helsinki on this topic.

This was an introductory communication and I will keep you posted on our progress this year in the next Globe article, and in the meantime, I would like to encourage you to contact me or any member of SEC with questions, suggestions or concerns. We are here to help SETAC serve you!

Author’s contact information: aleopold@calidrisenvironment.com

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