Spring Council Roundup
During its annual spring meeting, SfN Council reviewed the Society’s financial position, engaged in discussions around the Society’s advocacy activities, support for trainees, and annual meeting survey, as well as met with directors of more than 13 neuroscience-related institutes and centers of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Planning Programs That Enhance Member Value
Staff reported to Council on programmatic activities, priorities, and strategies being carried out across the organization, including:
- Planning for Neuroscience 2017
- Continued innovation and excellent science in eNeuro and The Journal of Neuroscience
- The growing array of professional development and training programs available on Neuronline
- An update on the future direction and ongoing redesign of BrainFacts.org
- The continued emphasis of creating and enhancing member value
In light of the continuing economic challenges facing the next generation of neuroscientists, Council voted to add $100,000 in funds for Trainee Professional Development Awards (TPDA) for young scientists interested in attending Neuroscience 2017 in Washington, DC, increasing the availability of support to approximately 200 awards. The goal of these awards is to promote the career advancement of neuroscientists from institutions worldwide. SfN supports the next generation of neuroscientists so they can further their education and careers in research and make new discoveries that advance science.
Council received an update on the leadership role that SfN continues to play on issues related to advocacy and public outreach, which is seen by members as one of the most important activities of the Society. On March 23, the Society held its 11th annual Hill Day, which provided members and volunteers the opportunity to meet with their members of Congress and discuss issues affecting the field. During this year’s Hill Day, SfN volunteers met with 54 congressional offices to discuss the latest advances in neuroscience and to urge strong federal funding for biomedical research. Sharing stories about neuroscience discoveries and the resulting economic and health benefits to society, SfN volunteer advocates connected their research advances to the support they receive from federal agencies like NIH and NSF. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), co-chair of the Congressional Neuroscience Caucus, joined the breakfast meeting that kicked off the day to share his perspective on current developments in Congress and to thank SfN members for their participation.
SfN Council and senior staff also met with NIH leaders during the spring meeting to discuss emerging issues related to the BRAIN Initiative, scientific funding, scientific rigor, the growing administrative burden on researchers, and other key issues of importance for the field.
Sustaining SfN’s Solid Financial Outlook
Council reviewed the Society’s fiscal outlook, which remains solid and well diversified in the face of continuing financial pressures faced by members and resulting modest “headwinds” on some SfN revenue sources. While ensuring a balanced budget and room for strategic program growth, the Society continues to moderate price increases that affect members, electing once again to keep member dues increases low. Council passed a budget for FY 2018 that integrates these priorities, freezes Institutional Program (IP) membership dues at the 2017 level for the 2018 and 2019 calendar years, and continues the freeze on membership dues at the 2016 rate for FY 2018.
At its summer meeting this August, Council will continue conversations around organizational strategic priorities and discuss potential priority areas for expanded and continued investment to enhance the reach and impact of SfN programs and advance the field.