SETAC Globe - Environmental Quality Through Science
  13 September 2012
Volume 13 Issue 9

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Have an Idea for a Focused Topic Meeting or Scientific Workshop?

Ruth Hull, Intrinsik Environmental Sciences

Focused topic meetings (FTMs) and scientific workshops, such as Pellston Workshops, are extremely important features of what SETAC provides to its members and the wider scientific community. These meetings not only allow the timely exchange of information and ideas on specific topics, but also advance technical issues by bringing experts together in smaller groups. We are welcoming the membership to suggest ideas for future FTMs and scientific workshops.

Selenium workshop
2009 selenium workshop in beautiful Pensacola, Florida

In 2011, SETAC North America sponsored two successful FTMs, one on oil spills held in Pensacola, Florida (April) and one on pollutants in the environment held in Merida, Mexico (August). In 2012, a workshop is being planned on passive sampling devices for sediment assessments in Long Beach, California (November). SETAC Europe has sponsored five Special Science Symposia since 2008 (related to REACH, environmental risk assessment [ERA] for plant protection products, ERA for mixtures, ERA for biocides and ecosystem services). Upcoming FTMs and Special Science Symposia being planned include one on enhancing environmental research and education in developing countries (March 2013, Hanoi, Vietnam), and environmental endocrine disrupter testing and evaluation (October 2012, Brussels, Belgium). Current topics under consideration include environmental impacts of fracking, life-cycle impact assessment methods and restoration of contaminated lands.

FTMs typically attracht 200 to 400 people, while scientific workshops are even smaller and more focused, usually on the order of fewer than 50 participants. An FTM or workshop topic should be recognized as an important and timely scientific issue. When you submit your idea, please also list possible workshop chairs, people who may be on the organizing committee, as well as potential financial sponsors. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and SETAC office staff are available to assist the organizing committees for these FTMs and workshops.

Many SETAC members are also members of other scientific societies. You may wish to consider collaborating with colleagues from another society or organization, and promoting and planning a jointly sponsored meeting or workshop. Two examples are the workshop held in May 2012 on multi-scale integration of human health and environmental data, co-sponsored by Society of Toxicology, and the upcoming ecosystem services workshop, planned for 2013 and co-sponsored by the Ecological Society of America.

So, think seriously about the opportunities these FTMs and workshops can present, and if you have ideas, please send them to the SNA Science Committee Chairman Cam Irvine. More information about planning technical meetings can be found in the July 2011 Globe.

And don’t forget about the fringe benefits of participating in and organizing a workshop: developing new friendships and advancing science in beautiful locations!

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