A Message from the ASP President

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Happy 2018! May this year bring peace, joy, and funding and publications to us all.

In August 2017, the Board of Directors, Executive Committee, and a select number of senior members met to discuss the results of recent member and lapsed member surveys, and to prepare mission and vision statements for the Society. This Strategic Planning process allowed us to reflect on who we are, what we are, and what we want to do. We established core values and core priorities. These priorities/guiding principles will lead us into the future, shaping our decisions and allocating resources of time and money. Our consultant, Kathy Joyce, administered the survey, summarized the survey results, and guided us through this process.

I am pleased to share with you a draft of the strategic plan and a summary of the survey results. These items will be available shortly via the Members only section of the website. Please read through these documents and provide the Board of Directors with your feedback by March 31, 2018. The BOD will then review comments before finalizing the strategic plan for the Society.

In December, I represented ASP at the annual American Institute of Biological Sciences Council meeting. The focus of the meeting was Engaging Policymakers: Opportunities for Biological Science Organizations. Three overarching goals were presented wherein societies could focus and make an impact:

1. Increase public appreciation for, and confidence in, science.
The peer review system has received much negative press in recent years – some report the system to be flawed and biased. This has led to policymakers proposing drastic changes to the peer review process for grants. However, those of us in science know that while flawed, the peer review system works. So how can we, as scientists, communication the value, contributions and reliability of this system to the public and to policymakers? How can we improve the system to maximize its effectiveness?

2. Facilitate the timely use of science to inform policy decisions.

How should scientific societies such as ASP engage with science policy issues? How can we improve our ability to summarize critical scientific knowledge, and on behalf of the membership, present it effectively in the policy arena? How can scientific societies develop methods for responding to a rapidly emerging issue (i.e., Zika virus)?

3. Ensure the health of the scientific enterprise into the future.

How can societies help publicize the value of research so that support for science remains a priority? How can societies work together to train students for a variety of careers in science? How can societies develop programs that help their members develop effective outreach activities? How do organizations engage in the policy FOR science? (education, research, different areas of science, etc.)

I would love to receive your feedback on these three goals.

~Kimberley Phillips
President, ASP