MINUTES OF THE ESPCR COUNCIL MEETING

OF THE 9TH ANNUAL ESPCR MEETING

ULM, GERMANY

27 September - 1 October 2000

 

1. Opening of Meeting

The meeting was opened and Council members welcomed by Professor Stan          Pavel.

2. Apologies

Apologies for absence were received from Professor Martin Peter.

3. Minutes of the 1999 ESPCR Council Meeting in Nagoya

These Minutes, previously circulated, were approved and then signed by Professor Pavel.

4. Secretary’s Report

This was delivered by Professor Sheila Mac Neil. Professor Mac Neil reported that the main events of the preceding 12 months had included a meeting of the ESPCR Officers in London (10 January 2000) concerning the Constitution of the Society - see item 11 beneath. Also, at this meeting, a decision was taken to undertake a ballot to see whether the Society would support the institution of a Fritz Anders Memorial Lecture to commemorate Professor Anders. The decision to pay membership fees in Euros was taken by the Officers of the Society at the meeting in January and discussions were held concerning the running of the Treasurer’s database and that of the database managed by Professor Ghanem on the website. In October 1999, the Treasurer’s list had 227 names whereas the list managed by Professor Ghanem on the website had 153 members. By September 2000, the Treasurer’s list had 203 names and that managed by Professor Ghanem had 176. Thus, the discrepancy between these databases has improved significantly but there is still significant room for improvement. Some of the differences between these databases will relate to the issue of new members who have not yet paid their fees and are not yet recorded on Professor Ghanem’s database. However, this is unlikely to be as many as 27 members.

Other items which concerned the Secretary over the last year were a ballot for new ESPCR Officers and recruitment of new members. With respect to the ballot, it was necessary to hold elections for the President, Secretary and Treasurer of the Society. Professor Mac Neil sent a call for nominees out to all ESPCR members in July 2000. A request was also made to the membership to look into the feasibility of conducting the ballot by e-mail - unfortunately only around 30 members replied by e-mail stating their willingness to conduct the ballot in this way. Accordingly, the ballot was conducted by post. There were two nominees for President, Secretary and Treasurer - the outcome of ballot was as detailed in item 12.

Finally, the Editor of Pigment Cell Research (Dr. Vince Hearing) sent a list of people who have published in the field of pigment cells. 110 were identified who are not currently members of the ESPCR. Professor Mac Neil sent letters to each of them enclosing details of the Society and the benefits of joining them and a copy of the application form which is held on the ESPCR website.

5. Treasurer’s Report

Professor Peter reported that the Treasurer’s Report would be ready for presentation to the ESPCR members at the ESPCR General Assembly to be held on Sunday, 1 October at 9.00 am.

6. ESPCR Bulletin Report

Professor Ghanem reported that there had been no problems in preparing or printing the Bulletin and no increase in costs. The Council members wished to record a vote of thanks to Professor Ghanem for his management of the Bulletin. He did point out, however, that there was little recognition for the International Editorial Board which currently comprises 10 members covering a range of topics. Professor Pavel pointed out that all members of the International Editorial Board now receive a free subscription to Pigment Cell Research. Professor Ghanem also suggested that it might be appropriate for contributors to also receive a free registration for ESPCR meetings. The Council supported this suggestion but it was noted that the financial responsibility for this should rest with the ESPCR Council rather than the local organisers of ESPCR meetings.

There was also discussion of the status of Professor Ghanem as Manager of the ESPCR Website. Professor Ghanem wished to note that he was happy to remain as an ex-officio member of the ESPCR Council as a Manager of the Website and, as noted in our revised Constitution, would therefore always be present at Council meetings irrespective of whether he is a member of the Council or not.

7. Report on ESPCR Website

There was considerable discussion on two issues related to the management of the website: the issue of disclosure of members’ contact details and the issue of what privileges should be behind the ESPCR members’ "gate". With respect to the membership details, the issues which were discussed were that of confidentiality of contact information versus ease of contact versus advertising of the membership of the ESPCR.

The key issue was whether membership contact information on the ESPCR website should be:

             open to all

open to all but with the option of individuals choosing to restrict access to their particular contact information to members only
restricted to members only

There was no clear consensus at the Council Meeting other than that this was something that needed bringing to the attention of the membership as a whole and possibly getting feedback on via a discussion/ballot of the membership.

Another issue that was discussed at some length and viewed as important was access to the Pigment Cell Bulletin. Here, the issues seemed to be whether access should be:

open to all
advertised in terms of contents pages on an open site but with the contents restricted to members only (as it is as present)
restricted to members only

A number of issues relevant to the thinking were a general inability of Council members to remember their access code issued by Professor Ghanem every few months. Professor Ghanem confirmed that there were indeed very few hits on the members only page of the website. Another issue raised by Professor Dorothy Bennett was that it might be interesting to look into a cooperation with the Pan American Society of Pigment Cell Research with respect to their Bulletin. There was considerable interest in this latter suggestion with the view that it merited exploration but there was no need to make any immediate decision.

Professor Ghanem pointed out that there was reciprocal swapping of reports on meetings which was useful. Other items that have been added to the website of late have been the abstracts of Ph.D. theses on pigmented cell biology.

There was discussion of whether the abstracts for the European meetings should appear on the web prior to the meeting but the consensus view was that the current system of publishing these in Pigment Cell Research and having this available approximately 2 weeks before the meeting seemed the most sensible. To do this, the deadline for abstracts must be at least 9 weeks before the meeting in camera ready form.

8. Matters Relating to Ulm Meeting

Professor Peter reviewed some of the arrangements: both social and scientific of the Ulm Meeting. The Council wished to record their thanks to Professor Peter and his team for taking on the organisation of the Ulm Meeting at short notice.

9. Travel Awards

The Travel Awards Committee of Dr. Friedo Beermann, Professor Bennett and Professor José García-Borrón reported that they received 10 applications (3 too late to consider). Of the 7 that were considered, 4 were funded, 1 was funded completely and 3 funded partially. There was some discussion of the issue of getting some publicity for these Travel Awards and it was agreed that Professor Pavel would announce the successful Travel Awards at the start of the Ulm Meeting and that the ESPCR members receiving Travel Awards would also have this recorded on the ESPCR web page.

Dr. Beermann reported on some small and sensible changes which the Travel Awards Committee have made to the running of these awards. It was agreed that there should be a general policy for how much funding could be made available for Travel Awards for each European meeting and it was agreed that 20% of the ESPCR budget at any time maximum should be made available for Travel Awards.

10. Venues for Next ESPCR Meetings

The venues for the next meetings of the ESPCR are: Rome - organised by Professor Mauro Picardo

2002 Scheveningen - organised by Professor Stan Pavel

2003 At present there is no venue and Council members were urged to consider whether they could host an ESPCR meeting for 2003. Professor Garcia-Borron agreed to discuss it with his colleagues in Murcia.

11. Statutes for Continuing ESPCR Beyond 2000

Professor Pavel reported that the outcome of a small Committee consisting of himself, the Secretary, Professor Patrick Riley, Professor Ghanem and Professor Peter meeting in January 2000 was to revise the statutes of the Society to allow its continuation beyond December 2000 and to take the opportunity to make some small changes to the Constitution. Following this, there was the need to ballot the members to seek support for the continuation of the ESPCR beyond 2000. The Secretary sent out 206 letters and received 105 replies all supporting the continuation of the ESPCR (at present, our estimated membership is around 180/190).

Professor Peter asked whether it was necessary to register the new Constitution with any authority in the UK. Sheila Mac Neil replied that, from recollection, Professor Riley had thought that this was not necessary but the consensus view of the Council was that Professor Riley should be contacted to confirm this information or find out who it is necessary to register the new Constitution with. The question of where a bank account is to be held was also raised but not resolved at this point.

12. Ballot for New Society Officers

Sheila Mac Neil reported that there were, in total, 92 replies to the ballot for new Officers. The successful candidates for President, Secretary and Treasurer are Professor Dorothy Bennett, Professor Jose Carlos Garcia-Borron Martinez and Dr. Lionel Larue respectively.

13. Any Other Business

14. Close of Meeting

        The meeting was closed by Professor Pavel.

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MINUTES OF THE ESPCR COUNCIL MEETING

ULM, GERMANY

Sunday, 1 October 2000

1. The meeting was opened by the new President (Professor Dorothy Bennett) who passed on apologies for absence from Dr. Friedrich Beermann, Professor José García-Borrón and Dr Lionel Larue.

2. Professor Bennett then thanked the outgoing Council Officers and discussed how transfer of functions should occur. Professor Mac Neil reported that she had already had a fairly extensive briefing with Professor Garcia-Borron and that she would be sending him the Minutes of the meetings as soon as possible following her return to the UK.

With respect to the transfer of functions for the Treasurer, it was agreed that Professor Bennett would look both into the registration of the Society in London and to the opening of a bank account in London with a large bank with branches in Europe - candidate banks (City Bank and HSBC?). It was agreed that we should have three Officers as signatories on the account (the President, Treasurer and Secretary). Professor Ghanem pointed out that we should have an upper limit for cheque signatures for any one individual. After some discussion, it was agreed that this should be 5000 Euros. It was agreed that Professor Patrick Riley’s advice would be sought both on the issue of registering the Society in London and on the issue of opening a bank account that could be used by different nationalities particularly as he has had recent relevant experience for the IFPCS.

3. Professor Bennett then raised the issue of membership of the Travel Grants Committee. She pointed out that, as President, she felt it wasn’t appropriate to also stay on the Travel Grants Committee. The Council agreed with this view. Friedrich Beermann has agreed to continue to Chair this Committee and Jose Garcia-Borron was happy to stay on it if the Members thought that this was appropriate which they did. Professor Mac Neil volunteered that she would be willing to act as the third member at least for the coming year subject to confirmation of her status on the Council.

Professor Pavel pointed out that the next point of election for Council Officers will be 2002 at which point Professor Mac Neil would be eligible to be re-elected. Until then, the Council could co-opt anyone to assist them and, in this respect, they would wish to co-opt Professor Mac Neil for 2001. This was supported by the Council Members and Professor Mac Neil agreed to be the third representative on the Travel Committee.

4. Professor Bennett then discussed potential initiatives for the ESPCR to expand the membership and make sure that we do not have under-represented research areas. Related to this was her suggestion that a Members only membership list could contain e-mail addresses and a few lines of description of our research interests.

She pointed out that there were many members of, for example, melanoma research consortiums who did not attend ESPCR meetings. Professor Ghanem said that one way to attract such scientists from outside the ESPCR would be to use the ESPCR as a focus for EC funding applications in particular areas. He said that the EC has a website which has information on applications for funding by scientific meetings.

Professor Bennett then went on to the issue of whether it would be desirable to elect the Officers of the Society a year before they start their period of office. In the Pan American Society, Officers are elected three years in advance - we agreed that electing Officers one year in advance would be sensible. Thus, in 2002, elections would be held for new Council Members and also for Officers Elect for the Society who would commence their term of office in 2003.

5. Any Other Business - Professor Tony Thody made the suggestion that it would be good to consider a Workshop Meeting in Sorrento to celebrate the 15 years that the Society has been running following its inception by Professor Giuseppe Prota and Professor Patrick Riley.

6. The meeting was then closed by Professor Bennett.

 

SMN/SLMA

5 October 2000