President's page#

Sierd Cloetingh

Letter to AE and YAE members and guests from the President Sierd Cloetingh#

December 2020#

As we approach the end of 2020, I am sure none of us will regret its passing. It has been and continues to be very difficult. So, I would like to offer on behalf of all AE members, our profound thanks to those members who are working in fields and disciplines directly and indirectly involved in the current COVID pandemic. Your efforts and the achievements and progress made in science have been remarkable.

Can I encourage all members who are working in relevant fields, to continue to send details of relevant research to the Cardiff Knowledge Hub? The Cardiff team is maintaining an active AE COVID research register that is accessible online. This applies equally to members in all our Classes.

I was pleased recently, to co-sign the new agreement for our seventh Regional Knowledge Hub together with the President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (HAS) – Professor Tamás Freund MAE. The new Hub is based at the Academy and will be under the academic direction of Professor Laszlo Lovasz, the immediate past President of the HAS. The online launch event had over one hundred participants – a real success.

Because of COVID, we, like most other organisations, have postponed a number of our planned symposia and workshops. Many of these have now been re-scheduled for 2021. The new information is on the ae-info website.

Our cancelled 2020 annual conference in Barcelona will now take place in October 2021 in Barcelona and with the same excellent programme. We will have an enlarged new members welcome session as we will invite the 2020 and 2021 cohorts to participate. But, in the event of any continuing COVID crisis, we are already planning a range of alternative virtual events. I am hoping that a physical meeting will be possible.

The Barcelona conference will see me hand over the Presidency formally to Professor Marja Makarow. Marja will commence her President-elect role from January 1st. I am sure Marja will quickly establish a dialogue with you all in the new year.

Earlier this week we held our last Board of trustees meeting (zoom) of 2020 and it was a sad day for me, as I had to say farewell to Dagmar Coester-Waltjen (Law), Kirsten Drotner (Film, Media and Visual Studies) and Alain Peyraube (Linguistics) who are retiring after a six-year term as trustees. Their wise counsel and enthusiastic support has been most welcome. We will mark their contributions at a future event.

Finally for now, please remember, that members can propose new topic suggestions to your Section chairs at any time, and also to any of the Regional Knowledge Hubs. We will be pleased to provide our logo and patronage for your use, wherever you feel there will be an added value for any activities that you are planning. Just ask the London office.

In the new year, we hope to be able to launch a call for proposals for seed funding for member activities via our Hubert Curien 2021 fund. This provides small grants to stimulate and organise activities under the AE banner.

As a member, the future development of our Academy will depend on your interest, engagement and enthusiasm. So please try to take part in our events, please propose new members in the current nominations cycle and work with your Section committees and the Regional Knowledge Hubs to develop new activities. We can only ever be as active as our active members make us.

So, once again, please stay safe and have a wonderful winter break and let’s together make 2021 a year to remember.

Yours sincerely

Sierd Cloetingh
Utrecht, 17 December

Academia Europaea wishes all its members peaceful and joyous Christmas and a healthy and prosperous New Year.

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