News: The British Society for Cell
Biology how are we now?
I am delighted to be the new President of the BSCB, and I am glad
to have this opportunity to make some comments about the Society.
I joined the BSCB when I was a PhD student and the most valuable
things about the society then are still the same today. It was at
BSCB meetings that I first had the chance to hear talks by the famous
Cell Biologists whose work I had only had the chance to read until
then. It was tremendously exciting to hear about the latest results
and to be able to go up and talk to the speakers. I was struck then
(and I think it is still true now) how friendly and approachable most
invited speakers were. It was interesting at this years Spring
meeting to hear one of them say that she was amazed by how young and
enthusiastic the delegates were, and how favourably this compared
with meetings of the ASCB.
Getting to watch the scientist mega-stars in action is only one reason
to attend the BSCB meetings. Another important benefit is being able
to present your own work, either in poster form or as a short talk.
It is very stimulating to have the chance to explain what you are
doing to a broad and knowledgeable audience, and it often leads to
unsolicited job offers, especially if you happen to be nearing the
end of your PhD. The social side of the meetings is just as important
as the official program (OK, I admit it, I love to dance) and some
of my oldest friends are Cell Biologists I first met at BSCB meetings
- I think this is what Americans call networking, but
it really is painless.
What are some of the other good things about the BSCB? Thanks to the
generosity of the Company of Biologists there is an excellent scheme
of travel awards (youll read elsewhere in the Newsletter that
the budget for travel awards has just doubled!) and PhD students are
particularly encouraged to apply. You should also be aware that as
a member of the BSCB you are entitled to reduced subscriptions to
the Journal of Cell Science and a number of other journals. We enjoy
a close relationship with the British Society for Developmental Biology
and this certainly enriches the program of the Spring meetings.
We also have the opportunity to voice our opinions about Governent
science policy through the BSCBs membership of the UK Life Sciences
Committee. Finally, the BSCB committee try to be very responsive to
suggestions from Society members and if you have any ideas about ways
in which the BSCB can serve Cell Biologists better just let us know!
I believe that job opportunities in Cell Biology are better now than
at any other time since the mid-1970s. There are many different reasons
for this (the massive expansion of the Wellcome Trust budget, the
positive effect of the economy on other charities, such as the Cancer
Research Campaign, growing opportunities in biotech and large pharmaceutical
companies, to name but a few), but the bottom line is that its
a good time to be a Cell Biologist. So have fun and make the most
of the BSCB!
Fiona Watt, ICRF, 4th April 2000.