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I take your point Senait. Sorting out these details can take some time. The proposed wording is meant to encourage proponents to sort out these details beforehand. We want to encourage proposals where we can see evidence that the proponent has at least sought in principle approval from a relevant sponsoring agency. We also want to give consideration to issues like transport logistics, travel bans and safety. We can only do that if we have at least a city or town in the proposal. Having a specific venue or a list of venue options within the city/town included in the proposal helps us to judge the merits of the proposal. As you say, the “where possible” clause provides some flexibility.
I would suggest changing it slightly, increasing the engagement options for members:
Additionally, any Group member may nominate their country or region as host for the Group meeting to be held two years from the current meeting. Nominations should include a list of suitable candidates to act as the Local Arrangements Organiser. The name of the host institution and the venue should also be included where possible. A Group member who intends to make such a nomination should inform
the Chair of the Groupa member of the Executive Committee in advance of the business meeting, especially if unable to attend that meeting, so that the Committee Member can advise the rest of the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee will discuss nominations for the host country (or region) at the business meeting, and may either make a selection or table the nominations for discussion at the next Group meeting. If selected as host, the Local Arrangements Organiser should be in place no later than four weeks (28 days) after the next Group meeting, and sooner if possible. As noted above, the Executive Committee may select an alternative host country or region if issues arise that appear likely to hinder meeting success, including an inability to identify a Local Arrangements Organiser.
Thanks for putting in this effort Frank. Someone has to keep up people’s spirits. Hang on?! 🙂
When you say the old name was developed through a deliberative process, my recollection is that we wrestled with the name problem at Costanoa until we were exhausted and thirsty. IPRMW was the least worst option on the table. We clearly have a different opinion about how well the old name has served us. I think most of us have resorted to referring to our group as the Pest Risk Workgroup or something similar in conversation, because I-P-R-M-W is unpronounceable in polite society.
Your point may be correct that we could (potentially) continue to grow the group without adjusting the name. However, we have an opportunity here to come up with a name that does tick all the boxes. Why would we deliberately pass up the opportunity? IPRRG (i-perg) encompasses the boundaries of our group, so it is inclusive. It is the most easily pronounced of the options put forward so far. It is visually compact.
Conveying the workgroup nature and other properties of the group to stakeholders and putative members is simply a matter of marketing.
I agree entirely with both you and Richard about the need to consider the impact on our stakeholders. I think we do them a service by coming up with a name whose acronym is easily pronounceable, and within that constraint, describes our purpose as succinctly and accurately as possible. If we have a suitable name, our stakeholders will be better able to remember us, and distinguish us from the groups who have poorly suited names.
I agree that our geographical models are important. However, I think your point about spatial modelling being critically important under-rates the non-spatial modelling and research components within our group. Some purists would even argue that very few of our models have actually been spatial in the sense that space is a variable in the models. I think that some of Denys’ models include spatial epidemics. Mostly however our models are point models run on a lattice of locations and portrayed as a map. What is probably more important is that we have people bringing a wide range of disciplines and problems to the table that do not involve mapping, and adjusting the name to better serve spatial modellers comes at the price of introducing bias into the description of the character of the group.
I think we are confounding two slightly separate issues: membership discount and student mentorship. I take Kylie’s point that not all early career scientists get on their feet financially straight away. I am sympathetic to extending special financial consideration to people who fall into this situation. However, I think it should also extend to any potential members who might experience financial difficulties in attending (e.g., from developing countries, retirees, etc.). Rather than creating a whole slew of membership classes to deal with this, I think we should separate out the financial difficulty issue from the membership class issue. My feeling is that the student class is a good idea for a separate position on the committee, and for consideration of things like prizes for best paper during the year and best presentation during the annual meeting. Separate from that, I think we should make provision on the meeting registration process for the registrant to apply for fee relief on the grounds of financial difficulty. Of course, we would need to handle this process in a sensitive, dignified manner. Through my experience with Scouts I think we have good models for doing this appropriately.
Thanks everyone for you thoughts. Amy, technically, all the group funds get applied for the benefit of the group according to the decisions of the committee. We have been, and continue to, run entirely on the charity of members. We have realised that this is unsustainable. The most obvious financial issue concerns our web presence (domain name, web hosting, website software, web services, etc.). In the past we have also encountered minor problems in not being able to pay a deposit for venue and equipment hire. In the past we have also provided travel sponsorship for some participants, though this was based on generous external sponsorship. We could offer small prizes for papers and presentations (especially for students). The committee will be responsible for deciding on the amount to be charged for the fees, adjustable annually. The point you raise about granting bodies not supporting membership fees is why many societies provide a members discount for their meetings, which exactly matches, or is slightly larger than the annual membership fee. I expect that this is what we would do here.
My preference is for the parliamentary model.
I do not believe that the primary face of the group should be vested heavily or solely in a single person. This is an international group, and to be representative, it needs to be explicitly collegiate. My mental model of operation of the elected committee is one in which most communiques are delivered from the committee on behalf of the group. If we note how the group has operated in the past, and think about how it might operate in the future, I suspect that most communications will be electronic, via the web page and via social media. This is of course in addition to any publication we do. Applications for funding etc., might go out under the hand of the Chairperson, but this would be on behalf of the committee and would probably be drafted collectively.
As I see it, the primary role of the Chairperson is to coordinate and manage the committee, and to break deadlocks. This is in contrast to the American Presidential style of executive office, where the President wields immense power and really does have executive authority. The parliamentary model, on the other hand, places responsibility and authority in the committee as a whole. The model of leadership in this model is by influence, rather than position. Because the authority is vested in the committee as a whole, the fate of the group is less influenced by the personality and behaviour of any single person.
As Frank observed, another strength of this model is that the elected team sort out their roles among themselves, so that the Chairperson has the support of the majority of the elected committee members. Of course the elected Chair may not have the support of all of the elected members, but this situation could arise equally (or even more probably) in the situation where the Chair is elected directly.
I agree with Frank, that we would have to have a fifth person on the committee in order to make the system work. I think that is reasonable and even desirable given our geographical and cultural diversity. It also makes the committee better able to handle one person being out of commission. This seems reasonable, irrespective of the mode of electing the Chairperson.
The role of Secretary could be split from Treasurer. Communications is now more important in small groups than Secretary, and generally has a more marketing brief.
Please don’t feel shy. Let’s hear your thoughts.
Proposal: Change the name to International Pest Risk Research Group (pronounced i-perg). It reflects what we do when we meet – we discuss research topics.
The case against the status quo:
- International Pest Risk Mapping Workgroup, or IPRMW, is clunky and kind of a mouthful; it takes sixÂ syllables to pronounce.
- Calling ourselves pest risk mappers is misleading. Â We have a broad set of interests.
The case for the “International Pest Risk Research Group”:
- It is shorter and snappier andÂ can be said in two syllables (pronounced i-Perg)
- It reflects what we do when we gather together – we discuss and progress research advances in pest risk modelling, mapping, communication, economics etc.Â Even a casual scan of our publications and presentations indicates that our primary modus operandi is to develop and popularise analytical methods to assist in managing pest risks.
The Workgroup term in theÂ existing nameÂ reflects something we hold dear about our meetings, the fact that we try to achieve advances during the meetings. Â Removing it from the group name doesn’t mean that it is lost. Â If this is something our stakeholders value, then we can address this through our communications and ourÂ actions. Â It is exactly the same as building and defining a brand.
Changing the name won’t mean losing a connexion withÂ the past group products. Â We can build and maintain linkages using the group website.