The ECA Executive Committee’s ‘winter meeting’
A vivid discussion during the meeting on overall ECA strategy was initiated by John Helliwell who stated the four key aspects: 1. Working with the European and African National Societies to ‘Add value’ but not replace them; 2. Promote continuing professional development of crystallographers via ECMs and training workshops; 3. Foster the study and detailed understanding of crystallography; 4. Diligently provide ECA input to the key European science decision making bodies (e.g. the EC, the ESF, the Innovation for Science in Europe organisation etc) whenever possible. The discussion naturally also assessed the ECA’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. One threat clearly seen by the Exec Members is the need to increase efforts on the education of the future generations of crystallographers with increased activity needed at all levels. The efforts of the ECA could immediately focus on supporting an initiative within Spain (led by Juan Manuel García-Ruiz and Santiago García-Granda) that could readily lead to the establishment of a European undergraduate/graduate school of crystallography. An education coordinator was identified as being needed and Massimo Nespolo agreed to immediately assume this role to coordinate ECA’s efforts and report to the next ECA Council Meeting during the IUCr Congress in Osaka.
A wide variety of Exec Committee ‘regular business’ also took place and included for example: 1. The funding applications of the organizers of schools, conferences, and workshops to ECA should be supported by a letter from at least one SIG chair; 2. Santiago Garcia-Granda proposed a metrics evidence based system for monitoring the performance of the SIGs that would allow strategically focussed discussions during the Osaka ECA Council Meeting, including any proposed changes in the SIGs; 3. A review of the 2007 ECM24 in Marrakech including final details, registration numbers and the finances that was presented by Abdelmalek Thalal. The successful financial outcome of ECM24 along with the excellent scientific program drew congratulations and applause from the Committee members; 4. The attendance of the ECM25 representative Engin Ozdas with Engin Kendi conferenced in by phone from Istanbul, led to finalised plans for ECM25.
For information on the European Crystallographic Association please visit the ECANews website: www.ecanews.org.