Summer Council Roundup
The SfN Council convened for its summer meeting August 7–8 in San Francisco to review the progress of its strategic investment in initiatives to meet the most urgent needs of the Society and the field; to discuss the long-term success of and challenges to SfN’s business model; and to hear updates on Neuroscience 2017 planning.
The Society aims to maintain its robust financial posture to effectively deploy revenue toward providing year-round value to members and the neuroscience community at large. Revenue was higher than anticipated in FY2017, partially due to high registration and exhibitor numbers at Neuroscience 2016. Given the Society’s strong financial position, Council discussed proposals to decrease fee escalations in the multiyear planning targets. By the end of FY2018, SfN will invest nearly $3 million over two years in high-priority areas in neuroscience where it is positioned to make a substantial impact, including advocacy, scientific training, and communications and outreach, which encompasses a complete redesign of BrainFacts.org and SfN.org.
Programming and Strategic Opportunities
The Society prioritizes the voices of its constituency and is committed to continually improving systems that facilitate better understanding of members and their needs. SfN expanded its business intelligence capacity by refining its member survey collection process to favor data quality, leveraging new predictive analytics methods and finalizing plans to further grow its capabilities. The redesign and upgrade of BrainFacts.org will debut later this fall, with a wealth of cutting-edge educational features including a 3-D interactive model of the brain and a new narrative approach inspired by visitors’ interaction with site content. SfN is also modernizing its central website, SfN.org, to enhance user experience and ensure continued representation of the Society’s mission. Several external partners are evaluating best practices related to content management, site governance, and organization to recommend next steps.
Staff reported several recent programmatic successes, made possible with support from Society leadership. The Government and Public Affairs Committee (GPA) helped to identify critical geographic areas across the U.S. where SfN can develop members’ roles as citizen-scientists and engage with them through advocacy. Council requested that the GPA Committee recommend additional policy issues that SfN can incorporate into its schedule of advocacy activities. The Neuroscience Scholars Program hosted a successful hybrid in-person/virtual conference in July in which SfN engaged a vast audience in topics and activities related to scientific leadership development. Finally, the editorial teams for The Journal of Neuroscience and eNeuro are circulating journal content more broadly across social media channels to maximize its potential benefits and to enhance members’ awareness of both journals.
SfN’s 50th Anniversary
Plans are underway for honoring SfN’s 50th anniversary in 2019 with a yearlong celebration of scientific progress and of the evolution of the Society. SfN appointed a working group to undertake the responsibility of event planning, chaired by Councilor Magda Giordano and Past President Larry Swanson and including Bernice Grafstein, Yevgenia Kozorovitskiy, Alexxai Kravitz, Brian MacVicar, and Gordon Shepherd.
Membership and the Annual Meeting
SfN programs provide significant value to the Society’s members, who invest in the Society’s mission with their membership dues and time, and Council voiced its intent to deploy new, personalized initiatives to support members from all age groups. In line with its focus on creating sustained value, staff recently completed a survey to gather feedback on the meeting and suggestions for actions that SfN can take to better leverage its flagship event for the benefit of the neuroscience community.
Council affirmed SfN’s role as a global society, and the new “We Are SfN” campaign further promotes the organization’s values of diversity, unity, and inclusiveness within its membership. This will be reflected throughout Neuroscience 2017 and in all of SfN’s ongoing programs, communications, and advocacy activities.