SETAC Globe - Environmental Quality Through Science
11 August 2016
Volume 17 Issue 8

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Message from the SETAC Europe President

José Julio Ortega-Calvo, Institute of Natural Resources and Agrobiology, CSIC

Jose Ortega

It is my pleasure to write these words as SETAC Europe President, a role that I started on 25 May 2016 during the SETAC Nantes meeting. Many of you would like to know who I am, where I come from and why I accepted the opportunity to serve as the SETAC Europe President.

I am a scientist working at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), the biggest research body in Spain. For the last 20 years, I have been scientifically interested in biodegradation and bioavailability processes that are involved in the environmental fate of organic chemicals. I have found SETAC to be the right professional society to present and share my work with colleagues, to see great science and become inspired and energized by all the great environmental science presented. During the last few years, I have been privileged to enjoy life from inside the organization, participating in its governance as a SETAC Europe Council (SEC) member and help organizing our annual meetings and symposia. During all these years, I can affirm without a doubt that being closer to SETAC Europe not only made me grow scientifically but also personally. So now it is the right time to give back to the society that has given me so much. During the year of my presidency, I plan to help develop an even stronger and bigger society than we currently enjoy.

How to do this? Obviously, not alone! I will enjoy working with the enthusiastic group of people on the SETAC Europe Council, the newly elected Vice President, Anne Alix, and Treasurer, Mirco Bundschuh. Last September, during the long range planning (LRP) meeting of the council in Antwerp, we reviewed the current status and achievements of SETAC Europe strategic goals. One of the council’s responsibilities, channelled through the LRP Committee, which I chaired then as SETAC Europe Vice President, is to annually perform such a review and propose actions to achieve the goals. We identified milestones that have recently been achieved and those that require further attention. For example, two of the areas we discussed were the needs related to public relations policy and the visibility and activity of advisory groups. We agreed that we should aim to increase the number of members in all these groups. Finally, we determined the pathway for the sustainable growth of our society would involve strategies to better describe benefits for SETAC members and partners. These discussions and analyses yielded possible ways to improve in these areas and the actions that needed to be taken.

With the help of the recently created Advisory Group on Science and Risk Communication, I proposed during that LRP meeting that many of these goals and milestones would benefit from strengthening communication strategies in our society. Always keeping in mind our tripartite nature (academia, government and business), such strategies would provide additional energy and outreach to the enormous efforts already performed at SETAC Europe through the annual meeting, the certification program and all the other activities that mobilize our 2,000 members every year. The SETAC Europe Council enthusiastically received and supported these ideas. As part of this LRP initiative, we performed a critical analysis of the discussions within SETAC Europe, evaluating, re-arranging and interconnecting the various ideas on communication, with an aim to define specific actions to be taken in the near future. These actions are already under discussion, such as a promotional video and a SETAC help desk. The year ahead is going to be exciting!

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