Dear SMBE Members:
Today marks an important day for our Society, because we are launching a new website. While much of the website content will seem familiar to you, it represents several changes to the inner workings of the Society. All of these changes are designed with you, our Members, in mind.
The website enhances transparency and usability, because it is linked to the members database. For the first time in the history of our Society, you can query to see if you are still an active member. If your membership has lapsed, you can also use the website to renew your membership (and/or your subscription to MBE) quickly and easily.
The website represents a new partnership with Allen Press, our society management team. We have hired a management partner because the scope of the Society has become far too large to be managed by a small team of volunteers. In addition to managing the website, Allen Press is the contact point for members’ queries about subscriptions and memberships.
The website lists a number of awards. Some of these are traditional, like the Fitch Prize, and should be very familiar to Society members. But there are several new awards, too. The new awards are designed to recognize excellence among our membership and to promote our members’ careers. The new awards include Research Excellence at the Senior, Mid-Career and Junior Levels; recognition of Outstanding Service; and awards for the Best Graduate Student Papers. The most novel of these new awards is the Child Care Travel Awards. SMBE recognizes that having young children can present a major challenge to attending scientific meetings and hence to career advancement. We also recognize that parents best know how to care for their children. Accordingly, in addition to providing affordable day care at our annual meetings, SMBE will award up to $1000 to SMBE members with young children (aged five and under) to spend for child travel and/or child care (on site or elsewhere) if it enables the member to attend the annual meeting. Next year SMBE has reserved $50,000 to apply to these Child Care Travel Awards. We hope that these awards send a very clear message: SMBE has a strong commitment to excellence, diversity and inclusion.
I hope that you will take some time to look around the website to acquaint yourself with its enhanced functions but also with the broadened vision of the Society. As importantly, I hope you’ll take every opportunity to support SMBE by publishing in one of its two excellent journals (MBE and GBE), by organizing an SMBE-sponsored Satellite meeting, and by attending our annual meeting.
I hope to see you in Vienna in 2015, on the Gold Coast of Australia in 2016 and in Austin, Texas in 2017!!
Brandon S. Gaut
Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution