President's page#

Marja Makarow

Letter to AE and YAE members and guests from the President Marja Makarow#

February 2023#

Dear members of the Academia Europaea, members of the Young Academy and guest readers,#

We start 2023 optimistic that the steady improvement in the post-Covid situation will continue and that the AE will see a return to a full programme of activity, in spite of the geopolitical turmoil that is a deep concern of all of us.

In May (10-12, 2023), our HERCuLES group (Higher Education Research and Culture in European Society) will run an international symposium entitled ”Publishing in Academia: Digital Challenges“, organized in collaboration with our longstanding partners - The Wenner Gren Foundations. My thanks to the group chair Lars Engwall and his co-organisers for continuing this successful partnership. My thanks also to the Wenner Gren Foundations for their continuing support and co-operation.

We are pleased to announce that our Wroclaw Hub will hold a Jubilee, open member event, on 19th May at Wroclaw University of Technology – courtesy of our member and Hub Director - Professor Arkadiusz Wójs (TU Rector). The programme features our member, the Nobel Laureate in Physiology and Medicine - Professor Erwin Neher as the keynote speaker.

Lars Engwall_Lars
Professor Lars Engwall

Arkadiusz Wojs
Professor Arkadiusz Wójs (Photo: B. Sadowski)

Erwin Neher
Professor Erwin Neher

AE’s newly elected Vice President and Director of the Munich Hub – Professor Don Dingwell, is organising the 2023 AE annual conference that will take place 9 – 11 October, in Munich. The conference retains the successful theme of 'Building Bridges'. I will be especially pleased to meet those members from Classes A1, A2 and B who were elected in 2022, and who will be invited to the ‘Welcome to new members session’, alongside all those new members from all classes, who will be elected later this year (2023). Whilst on the theme of welcome, I would like to welcome onto the Board our new Treasurer – Professor Stephen Evans.

Donald Dingwell
Professor Donald Dingwell

Stephen Evans
Professor Stephen Evans

Balazs Gulyas
Professor Balázs Gulyás

As our academy grows in numbers of members and impact, it is pleasing when Sections take it upon themselves to innovate and self-organise. I would like to congratulate Professor Balázs Gulyás, the chair of the Physiology & Neurosciences Section, for his lead in the creation of a new Section/Class prize – The Sydney Brenner Prize. The first call for nominations is open until 31st May. You will be hearing more about this new award and its scope, in the near future. I am also pleased to report that the Board of trustees have approved the continuation of the Task Force for Environmental Sustainability & Climate. The core management group will be seeking a wider and active engagement with you – our members, as they work to develop a dynamic programme in the coming months.

The call for MAE nominations closed on January 31. Nominations are growing year-on-year. Last year, our membership grew by 9%, to 5126, but its diversification is very slow. The share of MAEs representing the ‘Widening’ countries increased from 10% to 10,3%, and that of female members from 17% to 18,3%. So, as this year’s selection process is starting, I wish to point out that the AE has signed, together with some 350 research funding and performing organizations and other academies, the Coalition for Advancing Research Assessment (CoARA). According to the principles of CoARA, assessments should be based primarily on qualitative judgement, supported by responsible use of quantitative indicators.

Finally, I would like to remind members, that the call for nominations for the 2023 Erasmus Medal is still open. You can find the full details on our website.

Marja Makarow
February 2023

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