The BPS Council and I am sure many of our members thank our immediate-Past President, Prof. Graham Underwood for his years of service as President of the British Phycological Society. Below are some words from Graham:
At the Annual General Meeting held in Plymouth in January 2020, I passed the baton of President of the Society to Prof. Jason Hall-Spencer. I now take up the role of immediate-Past President for the next two years, and am Chair of our Awards and Training Committee. It has been a great honour to be the President of our Society. It is a challenging time for Learned Societies, with the nature of academic research changing and becoming more interdisciplinary, and researchers not necessarily associating themselves with a single “group” of organisms or topic, but being broader in their interest. The growth of the world-wide web and social media, open access publishing, and other freely-available online materials, commercially-organised conferences, and new interdisciplinary groupings requires Learned Societies to think what they are for and what they offer their members. The BPS has been responding to this changing world, and over the last few years we have revised our web sites and social media presence, relay a lot more information to our members, have increased the awards and bursaries we offer members, have launched a new on-line and open access journal, Applied Phycology, and returned our Annual Meeting to its “traditional slot” after New Year.
The last few Annual Meetings have been excellent. With attendances around 140 delegates from across the world, and with excellent work from Postgraduate and early career scientists being presented, it is clear there is still a need for, and benefit from, a forum where work on algae and associated questions can bring us together. After a period of decline, our membership is now growing again, and we are reaching out to the burgeoning algal biotechnology sector, where phycologists are in demand. So I am very positive about the direction the Society is travelling in. I thank all the members of BPS Council for their commitment and contributions, and wish Jason the very best during his period as President.