SETAC Globe - Environmental Quality Through Science
15 June 2017
Volume 18 Issue 6

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Observations of the SETAC UK Branch President

Michelle Bloor, SETAC UK Branch President

Over the past 12 months, SETAC UK has undergone a metamorphosis. A caterpillar changing into a butterfly is a good analogy for the observed changes that any bystander might have witnessed. The regional branch of SETAC Europe has slowly reinvented itself – initially through establishing social media platforms to reach our members and interested onlookers (Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter), followed quickly by our first student event, which we reported about in the November 2016 edition of the SETAC Globe.

SETAC UK Student Council logo
SETAC UK Student Council logo, created by Verena Riedl

Next was the formation of the UK Student Council, which is comprised of twelve enthusiastic and motivated PhD students based at UK institutions. Katherine Lees, University of Plymouth, in her role as president, and Stefan Schade, University of Birmingham, as secretary, have rallied together to enthuse the council members and set the momentum. In the council's first six months, the students have worked together to plan student-focused activities for the 2017 branch event, which will be held on 21 September, and they have taken part in a logo competition, which included four logos designed by SETAC UK Student Council members and uploaded to social media for voting. Verena Riedl, University of York, won the competition by receiving the most “likes” for her logo. Her logo is now the official SETAC UK Student Council logo, creating an identity for the new council. 

A new branch website was also launched in February, which provides a modern and professional electronic platform for SETAC UK to engage with its members and promote its activities. On a personal note, I’m particularly proud of the website. I have never created a website before, so I was a little apprehensive at the prospect of making it, but my hidden artistic side saved the day. I’m sure my art teacher, who once told my parents that “she’s very good at art unless she has a pencil in her hand,” would be proud. Even my dad thinks my husband, who works in IT, made the site for me! What do you think?

As I enter the later stages of my presidency, I can start to reflect on a year of positive advancements for SETAC UK and a whirlwind year for the UK council and myself – making new connections and friendships across the SETAC family, working with the wonderful SETAC Europe Council and dedicated staff, and engaging with the other four regional branches of SETAC Europ. However, I plan to go out in style, so we’ve saved the best until last!

We are currently promoting our 2017 annual meeting, which welcomes ALL scientists (not just students). The meeting theme is “UK Science in a Changing World: Addressing New Challenges in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry,” and it will be held on 21 September 2017 at the Oxford Union, Oxford (#SETACUKOxford).  Please come along and support us! I’m looking forward to welcoming you. Further information about the meeting can be found at or by emailing You can also register online through TSGE Forum, who is kindly hosting registration for us.

You can either present a poster or a platform/poster combination at the event. There are a limited number of competitive travel bursaries for students, who can apply for it online during registration. There are also two amazing prizes on offer: The best student poster and best student poster spotlight presentation award winners each receives a free student registration for the SETAC Europe 28th Annual Meeting, which will be held from 13–17 May 2018 in Rome, Italy.

SETAC UK will also launch a new mentorship initiative at the Oxford meeting, and subsequently, we will be looking to engage with both potential mentors and mentees (young professionals and students). This is a new direction for SETAC UK, and I’m delighted that the branch is diversifying its portfolio to help support our newest members.  

I would also like to take the opportunity to welcome Simone Bagnis to the student council. Simone is studying for a PhD at the University of Plymouth and is already a SETAC Italian Branch Council member.  She is also part of the SETAC Rome 2018 Organizing Committee. The SETAC UK and Italian branches are delighted that Simone will be working with both organizations and forging a link that will enable cross-branch event participation and future collaborations – facilitating communication and transfer of science through the wider SETAC community.

When my presidency ends at the end of September, I’m thrilled that my own SETAC story will continue. I am honored that I was elected to the SETAC Europe Council during the annual general assembly at the recent SETAC Europe 27th Annual Meeting. I will also be working with SETAC Europe’s awards, Branch, Development, Education and Finance Committees. My work with the UK Branch will also continue in the role of past president, and I look forward to mentoring the future president of SETAC UK.

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