Honorary Chairman’s Report to the 50th Annual BMCS AGM held on 4th March 2022Charlotte Turpin
The past year has been another extremely challenging one, to say the least. I’d imagine that most committee members have had their full course of COVID vaccinations, and their booster shots too. I haven’t heard about a new round of boosters, but I wouldn’t bet against it!
In the face of these external challenges we have adapted and continued with our regular programme of activities. Virtual and blended meetings have gone ahead, and been tremendously successful, on both a scientific and financial basis, though it has to be said that delegate feedback from the blended meetings suggests there is a strong desire for a return to more physical meetings. The ESG, BMCS Lectureships, Hall of Fame and International Travel Prize Initiatives have carried on, and continued to draw interest from applicants as well as recognition for the impact of the Group. Our links with RSC Medicinal Chemistry have been strengthened, to mutual benefit, as have our interactions with other scientific societies and organisations. Many of the latter have looked to us for our experience and expertise in running virtual and hybrid meetings. I would like to convey my heartfelt thanks to everyone in the group who’s helped to drive these initiatives forward, they wouldn’t be happening without your hard work.
In the last year Maggi has passed on the Secretariat baton to HG3, a transition which has gone extremely smoothly, thanks to the consummate professionalism of both Maggi and HG3. I hope everyone has seen the photos of Maggi receiving various tokens of recognition from the group from the December meeting, or Cambridge last year. I look forward to working with Nicola, Charlotte, Ellie, Agne and the rest of the HG3 team in the coming year. After many years we must say farewell to Matt Tozer who is standing down from the committee. Matt has been central to many of the Group’s initiatives, but most notably he was key to bringing the EFMC meeting to the UK in 2016, and our extensive involvement in that, and together with Dave and more recently Nadia, he has continued to champion our interactions with our EU counterparts. We have (almost) finalised the contractual arrangements with RSC for our financial administrator to support Douglas. This has entailed a considerable amount of negotiation, time and flexibility from Doulas and Elaine as they navigated the RSC process. The departure of several long standing committee members has required us to start recruiting for new members, which necessitated becoming familiar with another new RSC process. We are currently triaging down the initial list of 12 applicants, and our unfamiliarity with the details of the RSC process has meant progress has been slower than we’d have liked, but the new blood is essential for the continued viability of the group.
The presentation of the 2021 Malcolm Campbell award to Sir Patrick Vallance on behalf of all British scientsis involved in COVD treatment research was very well received by all the members I’ve spoke with about it, and Sir Patrick was genuinely touched by the recognition.
2022 and 2023 look to be further years of considerable uncertainty, and not just for COVID-related reasons. It’s my belief that if we remain calm, adaptable and creative we can continue to provide an example of rationality, collaboration and optimism through the challenging times ahead.
Dr A C Williams MA, D Phil, CCHEM, FRSC