ISCB, the International Society for Computational Biology, elected me as a member of the Board of Directors during the last #ISMBECCB conference. I thought it would be a good idea to publish in this blog the actions I intend to work on during my 3-year tenure starting in January 2014.
I bring to the table a lot of experience in setting up networks, organizations and events at an international level. Things that I started include ISCB’s Student Council, ISCB’s Regional Student Groups, the series of Student Council Symposiums, the ISCB Africa ASBCB Conference and Itico.org, a non-for-profit company of which I am director.
I consider I have strong presence in social networks with a blog that has been independently voted among the top 15 bioinformatics blogs, a twitter account with >1,000 followers and >1,000 contacts in LinkedIn.
As an ISCB Board of Directors (BoD) I pledge to:
- Help create a structure within ISCB to represent and give opportunities to contribute to “middle layer” members. I would like to work really hard to ensure that a new organisational structure is brought about within ISCB to accommodate the flourishing of a new initiative targeting the “middle layer”. By middle layer I mean scientists who are in between the two main groups ISCB currently caters to: students and highly accomplished scientists. I want to discuss with this constituency new ways in which scientists at this middle level can be effectively engaged to work within the Society, through specific work tasks, committees or entirely new initiatives.
- Advocate for students and scientists in developing countries. As a BoD member, I would be particularly interested in overseeing, encouraging and stimulating members of Regional Student Groups (RSGs), particularly in Africa. African scientists have specific needs that require special attention. I would do this by continuing my collaboration with Nicky Mulder and Dan Masiga (present and former Presidents of the African Society of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, ASBCB). I would also like to organize periodic teleconferences with RSG leaders to discuss their issues and to act as a voice for them within BoD meetings.
- Engage in a process of “evangelization” of the constituency; an Ambassador program, where recognized scientists talk about the benefits of becoming an ISCB member.
- Promote public recognition of service to the Society. A simple yearly award during ISMB could be a good start. People who have demonstrated their commitment to the Society should be recognized publicly through positions of responsibility, promotions, awards, etc. I know that this is done privately to BoD members who receive a certificate. My proposal is that these awards are made public through the website, the newsletter and other media if necessary.
Please submit comments or suggestions using either the comments below or contacting me directly.