CEO Viewpoint - Biochemist e

Society News
CEO Viewpoint
Kate Baillie (CEO)
2014 was a year in which we had many reasons to
celebrate, as some statistics demonstrate: A 25%
increase in membership over three years, a 50%
increase in Twitter followers in 12 months, and
an average 25% increase in Impact Factors for
our journals.
It was also a period of huge change for the Society,
which looks set to continue into 2015 as we complete
the various process reviews and start to deliver the
outcomes of some major projects.
With the successes to celebrate and changes
underway, we sought to use our Annual General
Meeting in December 2014 as another avenue
to engage with and update our members on the
many activities occurring in the Society and Portland
Press Limited.
With a rather poor turnout in previous years it was
fantastic to see improved attendance this year (from
4 members in 2013 to over 40 this year), although I
am sure that a major factor driving attendance was
the accompanying Colworth Medal Lecture from M
Madan Babu (Cambridge) – ‘Functional versatility and
regulation of proteins with intrinsically disordered
regions’ – and the promise of a wine reception at the
end of the event!
I would like to thank everyone who made it to last
year’s AGM. We will be running our AGM in a similar
format again this year, and it would be excellent to see
as many of you there as possible.
Outgoing President Ron Laskey, left, with incoming President David Baulcombe
54 February 2015 © Biochemical Society
If you could not make the AGM, I urge you to have
a look at our 2013/14 Annual Report, which provides
a summary of our work over the year, and future
direction. You can find this on our website: http:// or request a hardcopy by emailing:
[email protected]
Our AGM was also an opportunity to welcome
Dame Julia Goodfellow (University of Kent, UK) as
our latest Honorary Member. More than 65 people
have now been made Honorary Members; a practice
instituted at the very beginning of the Society’s
existence to honour distinguished scientists who have
a clear connection with the Society. You can read
more about Dame Julia on page 56.
More than 40 people attended last year’s AGM
M. Madan Babu delivers the Colworth Medal Lecture
The Biochemical Society’s end-of-year drinks reception
Outgoing Biochemical Society President Ron Laskey with
wife Anne Laskey
Society of Biology Chief Executive Mark Downs, left, and
Nutrition Society Chief Executive Mark Hollingsworth
The AGM provided a chance to say farewell to
Trustees, including our President Ron Laskey, Policy
Committee Chair David Fell and Biochemical Journal
Editorial Board Chair Peter Shepherd, as featured in
December’s The Biochemist, and welcome our new
President Sir David Baulcombe and Policy Committee
Chair Tim Dafforn.
It is particularly pleasing to enter 2015 with
someone of Sir David’s standing and background at the
helm of Society. As many of you will know, Sir David
is a world-renowned plant scientist whose research has
contributed to major advances in molecular biology and
biotechnology. His background across virus movement,
genetic regulation, disease resistance, gene silencing and
epigenetics is a testament to the breadth of biochemistry
and its connection to the wider bioscience landscape.
At the end of 2014, I also attended the Society of
Biology’s Member Organizations’ meeting, and it was
encouraging to hear George Freeman MP, the world’s
first Minister for Life Sciences, reinforce that all areas
of Government recognize the importance of the UK
biosciences in the generation of economic growth.
He gave a strong message that the three pillars of
bioscience – food, medicines and energy, underpinned
by biotechnology – need to be elevated in importance.
During 2015 the Biochemical Society will be
working with partner Societies, to ensure that this
agenda, which is highly relevant to the continued
development of the molecular biosciences, continues
to be advanced.
Throughout 2015 I will be using this column to
update you on the many projects we have underway,
including our rebranding exercise, the move of our
journals to the HighWire Open Platform, greater
engagement with industry and the development of
training offerings for early career researchers, to
name just a few.
As our departing President remarked, 2014 was a
year of change and challenges, but there is a lot to be
optimistic and positive about for 2015.
February 2015 © Biochemical Society 55