Charles Menzie, SETAC Global Executive Director
The SETAC Globe has more than 10,000 readers, and I am interested in hearing from each and every one. SETAC is in the midst of planning, and our members are the focus of attention. We are committed to providing members with rewarding membership experiences, including scientific exchange, education, making a difference in the world, developing scientific methods and technologies, informing policy and regulations, making new friends and having fun. Most importantly, we envision SETAC as the professional society best equipped to keep you current on scientific developments, engage your life-long learning and support your professional career from student to senior researcher.
Offering You a Unique Organizational Framework
From inception, SETAC governance and activities include scientists and engineers from academia, government and business. This ensures a diversity of perspectives essential for addressing complex environmental issues. We use this tripartite approach to govern the organization, plan programs for meetings, and design and populate our workshops. SETAC is also unique in that it has viable operational units at the local levels throughout most countries, at the level of continents and at the global level. Our student groups are especially facile at communicating with one another around the globe. We enhance the membership experience by collaborating with other professional and international organizations. This unique multifaceted structure gives SETAC members a valuable window on the world at any geographic level and across sectors.
SETAC’s highest priority is protecting the integrity and promoting the value of science. This is a critical time to secure support for research and to provide outlets and opportunities for scientific dissemination and integration. Your membership in SETAC is an important and positive contribution to that effort. SETAC brings focus to critical environmental science issues by first identifying key research needs via Interest Groups, Global Horizon Scanning and Science Committees. We then advance the science by coordinating efforts across program sessions, workshops and publications. For example, SETAC is advancing predicative toxicology approaches, including in silico and in vivo tools, adverse outcome pathways, molecular toxicology, quantitative structural activity relationship, high-throughput techniques as well as emerging approaches for statistical toxicology. The effort is being coordinated through and supported by our journals and annual meetings. SETAC will further strengthen the effort through a focused topic meeting on High-Throughput Screening and Environmental Risk Assessment, which will take place from 16–18 April in Durham, North Carolina, a symposium on Extrapolation Across Biological Levels: From Measurement to Assessment Endpoint in October in Brussels, Belgium, and an -omics Pellston Workshop® in Daegu, Korea.
SETAC is also addressing regional and watershed-scale environmental management, climate change and resiliency. We are leveraging cross- and transdisciplinary approaches to apply and integrate concepts such as life cycle assessment (LCA), ecosystem services, impact assessment and environmental economics to addresses these complex issues. Our journals, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (ET&C) and Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management (IEAM) support this goal by publishing impactful papers on these topics. We will further support these efforts with a dedicated track on Systems Approaches at the SETAC North America 39th Annual Meeting, which takes place from 4–8 November in Sacramento, California, and a symposium on the Role of LCA in Shaping the Future and an LCA-focused track at the SETAC Europe 28th Annual Meeting from 13–17 May in Rome, Italy.
Developing Communities of Scientists
Whether you are a student, early career scientist or well established professional, every SETAC member should join one or more Interest Groups. Here you will network with thought leaders, future colleagues, collaborators and friends. SETAC’s Interest Groups are the creative and intellectual force behind developing scientific programs at our meetings, designing workshops and authoring critical review papers in ET&C and IEAM.
Travel and meeting expenses are among the biggest challenges for SETAC members and for the success of meetings and our mission. We have prioritized funding for students, young career scientists, indigenous members and scientists from lower income countries. A nascent grant program will identify opportunities for securing grants that help support these priorities.
SETAC Europe launched a successful initiative designed to support career advancement through its Environmental Risk Assessors Certification Programme. North America is developing similar certification programs for environmental toxicology and environmental chemistry.
Making a Difference Through Outreach
I envision SETAC’s Voices for Science as part of SETAC’s mission to support the development of principles and practices for protection, enhancement and management of sustainable environmental quality and ecosystem integrity. The scientific discourse at SETAC is unparalleled thanks to our tripartite, multi-sector membership. This gives SETAC’s Voices for Science credibility and weight. In 2018, SETAC will continue to support our members’ public engagement efforts with podcasts, blogs, dedicated outreach components to annual meetings, social media and by building online resources such as the newly launched SETAC Science Briefs initiative, which demystify important scientific concepts and hot topics. We are also working to help our members develop the communication skills needed for these broad activities.
SETAC is about service to membership, and we want to enhance your professional life and offer ways for you to help us meet our mission. Please let us know how SETAC can further enhance your experience. Send your feedback to SETAC’s Membership Manager Laura Swanson, Laura.Swanson@setac.org, with a copy to me, Charlie.Menzie@setac.org.
Have a great 2018!
Author’s contact information: Charlie.Menzie@setac.org