Jaakko Kangasjärvi: President of SPPS 2008-2015

Outgoing president of SPPS, Jaakko Kangasjärvi, with the activity report presented at the General Assembly 2013 in Elsinore, Copenhagen. Photo by Tim Hamborg Nielsen

The SPPS presidency and the office were moved from Copenhagen to Helsinki after the change of the president and the council in the FESPB 2008 meeting in Tampere (which was also an SPPS meeting with general assembly). Now, in the Stockholm SPPS meeting the three terms allowed for one person to be a president will be over and the presidency and the SPPS office will move from Finland. So, what have we done during these three terms, seven years altogether?

When we received the society from the previous council, the society was in good shape both in organization and function, and financially. We did discuss various possibilities to make the society more visible, to increase membership and hopefully to be also involved in science policy and plant research community activities. The most important long-term activities turned out to be making new membership register system which also handles membership payments and are integrated into the new society web pages, emailing and Newsletter. This was a long process which required creation of all these from scratch with “public domain” platform that is independent from any specific vendor or company. Now the system should be ready and the new council should be able to start using it without any major changes and development required.

Jaakko Kangasjärvi giving the opening lecture on Abiotic Stress at the 25th SPPS Congress. Photo by Tim Hamborg Nielsen

Other things worth mentioning is collection of the history of the society into a booklet and introduction of five-year membership fee so that members will not have to renew and pay their rather low membership fees every year. The society also used more of its funds to support various scientific conferences, society’s own and ones organized by SPPS members in Scandinavia, expanded its Ph.D. student conferences to the Baltic countries with a Ph.D. student conference organized in Estonia, and started a new meeting series for early career principal investigators. And last but not least, the society Council decided in its meeting in Uppsala 2014 to create a permanent office for the society with a permanent office secretary who works for both the society and Physiologia Plantarum in the Journal office in Lund. This is a big step towards even more professional handling of the society’s activities and will guarantee continuity for routine matters when the Council now changes.

Overall, I can say that we are leaving the society for the next Council in very good state both operationally and financially.

By Jaakko Kangasjärvi, University of Helsinki, Finland