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The ECA Executive Committee's 'Winter Meeting' 2009

The Executive Committee of the European Crystallographic Association (ECA-EC) winter meeting was held Februay 27 – March 1, in Budapest, Hungary. Sine Larsen took part in her unique situation as both the President of IUCr and Vice-President of ECA.

[ECA Executive Committee] The Participants of the 'Winter Meeting' of the Executive Committee of the ECA, held in February 2009 in Budapest, Hungary at the 'Presidential Dinner'. From left to right: Süheyla Özbey (ECM25), Engin Kendi (ECM25), Engin Ozdas (ECM25), Luc van Meervelt (Officer), Jordi Rius (EPDIC), Sine Larsen (IUCr President, ECA Vice-President), John R. Helliwell (President), Petra Bombicz (Secretary), Santiago Garcia-Granda (Officer), Chris Gilmore (IUCr representative), Hartmut Fuess (Past-President, ECM26), Radomír Kuzel (Treasurer), Andreas Roodt (Officer) and Massimo Nespolo (Education Coordinator and Webmaster).
The ECA President, John Helliwell, opened the meeting by summarising ECA strategy and covering the numerous matters arising from the minutes of the ECA-EC 2008 meetings held in Budapest and Osaka. One highlight covered was the work of the ECA and its regions, namely the activities of the newly founded Union of the Regional Committee of Crystallographers from Algeria, Latvia, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey and Ukraine and a report received from Engin Kendi, Vice-Chair of the group. Another highlight was the discussion on establishing a 'General Interest Group Network of Young Chemists' in the ECA region. The nucleating centres would be the existing British and Spanish unions of young crystallographers. Such a GIG (General Interest Group) would widen the scope covered by existing ECA SIGs. There is also an increased focus on the education of future generations of crystallographers at all levels. One major aim is the establishment of a European Graduate School of Crystallography (Masters and PhD) as soon as possible with the EC’s ERASMUS MUNDUS being one candidate scheme to seek funding; this effort is being spearheaded by Massimo Nespolo.

Chris Gilmore, as IUCr delegate to the Committee gave an overview of a variety of matters including the deepening link between the International Union and the ECA, one of its Regional Associates, and of the current big push by the IUCr to update the World Directory of Crystallographers which will relate well to the ECA’s work to increase the number of its individual members. Sine Larsen reported that the transformation of Acta Crystallographica E to an open access journal has been successful as measured by the still very large number of submissions and the better balance of income and expenditure. John Helliwell is willing to coordinate input, via this Newsletter or by direct contact, for any colleagues within Europe that might be experiencing difficulties with the new Acta Cryst E arrangements. Through the work of the Treasurer, Radek Kuzel, the number of ECA Corporate Affiliate Members (CAMs) has nearly doubled in the last year. Radek is also making a continuous effort to increase the number of individual members of the ECA. Luc van Meervelt led the discussion on evaluating the bursary funding applications from the organizers of 2009 ECA Schools/Conferences/Workshops. This led to some very difficult decisions and the general conclusion that applicants should be sure to respect the blackout periods around ECMs or IUCr Congresses (it should be noted that in a Congress year ECA still funds bursary applications). The next application deadline is in August 2009 for 2010. Santiago Garcia-Granda led the discussion on the ECA SIGs and presented an updated table of performance metrics, i.e. an evidence-based-system for monitoring of the performance of the SIGs, which aims, as efficiently as possible, to increase their performance. A few SIGs also have newly elected Conductors. Massimo Nespolo suggested taking into account their responsiveness to the EC call for microsymposia and keynote lectures for the forthcoming ECMs. Finally, the renewed focus area concept was reviewed and found to work well, for example for ECM25 programme planning; liaison between SIGs was actively encouraged and worked quite well.

The year 2009 is an election year for the ECA, i.e. new officers and members of the EC will be elected. Nominations are welcome following Statute 10 (http://www.ecanews.org/statute.php):- 10.3 The Council appoints the members of the Executive Committee on the proposal of the Committee or of at least five (5) Councillors.. The current EC, as per this statute reached a consensus on a set of recommendations that will be presented to the ECA Council. The ECA-EC auditors will also be nominated forthwith for approval by the ECA Council. The need of having at least one representative from each focus area on the EC was emphasized.

The ECA Perutz and Bertaut Prizes Selection Committees work independently from the ECA-EC and were respectively chaired by Andreas Roodt and Santiago Garcia-Granda. The results are now announced and are: Lynn McCusker is the recipient of the Max Perutz Prize and Lukas Palatinus is the recipient of the Bertaut Prize.

The next (ECM25) and future ECMs (ECM26 and ECM27) organisers, respectively, Engin Kendi (with Suheyla Ozbey and Engin Ozdas), Hartmut Fuess and Karl Tornroos, presented their organisation progress. In Istanbul (ECM25) this year, the 25th anniversary of the European Crystallographic Meetings and the first discussions of forming an ECA, will be celebrated with a special event. At ECM26 a special feature will be joint symposia with the EPDIC and thus promises a relatively larger meeting and exhibition; Jordi Ruis, President of EPDIC, was present at this committee meeting, and also reported. ECM27, being held in 2012, will obviously highlight the 'Friedrich, Knipping and von Laue experiment centennial'. The bids from Greece (Athens) and the UK (Warwick) to host ECM28 to be held in 2013 will be examined at the ECA Council Meetings to be held within ECM25.

The ECA-EC hopes to meet you at ECM25 in Istanbul, Turkey, August 16-21, 2009.

For information on the European Crystallographic Association please visit the ECANews website: www.ecanews.org.