I am delighted that you are interested in the appointment to the Chief Executive post in the Physiological Society. The Society has had a proud history dating back to its foundation in 1876 when it was formed to defend experimental physiology in the UK. It has been a leader in the growth of biomedical science in the UK and numbers many Nobel laureates amongst its membership. Physiology is an integrative science and forms the foundation for an understanding of the human biology. Patho-physiology is the basis of medical science. Hence the work of the members of the Society has great implications for the development of medical sciences and physiology’s importance is growing as it is an integrative science that links approaches in genetics biochemistry, molecular biology and systems physiology.
The Society achieves its scientific objectives through the promotion of physiology at scientific meetings and through its publishing activities. It holds a large annual scientific meeting that attracts around 1000 attendees and several smaller themed meetings that are held in different universities around the UK and Ireland. In 2013 it will host the International Union of Physiological Sciences congress and will hope to attract 5000 scientists to Birmingham. This event that occurs every four years is the main international meeting in the discipline.lt will enable the Society to enhance its out-reach activities to encourage the development of biomedical science and education in the third world. The Society publishes two journals- The Journal of Physiology and Experimental Physiology- the former recognised as one of the most respected internationally. There is a commitment to further develop the Society’s publishing activity.
The Society is active in the support of its membership through a range of bursary and support schemes that finance the attendance of members at scientific meetings in the UK and abroad and encourage members to play an active role in the society. There are schemes to support educational initiatives and a growing commitment to the promotion of science in schools and universities. The Society is also committed to enhancing the public awareness of science and works with other learned societies in this objective.
The Society is at a pivotal point in its further development. It seeks to encourage the growth of its scientific base, wants to encourage the involvement of more biomedical scientists and students in its activities and seeks to assist in the growth of science in developing countries. It recognises its obligations to education at all levels in the UK and must use its considerable resources with both care and imagination. The Chief Executive will have a major role to play in this exciting agenda working closely with the Executive committee and Council of the Society.
Professor Mike Spyer
President-elect of the Physiological Society