The Board of the British Society for Plant Pathology

Who we are and what we do - functions and composition of the Board

The following note is intended to give Society members information on the activities and membership of the Board of BSPP and to encourage members at large to be proactive in nominating fellow members for future Board membership. The present Board is especially keen to encourage younger and female members of the Society to accept nomination for Board membership.

The Board of BSPP meets four times each year, usually in London, to plan for the annual Presidential conference and other scientific meetings, to oversee awards for bursaries, fellowships and travel grants (this is where most of the Society's expenditure goes), to agree the policy for Society publications, to discuss and agree the annual budget and, generally, to manage the affairs of the Society. The Board also discusses and develops new ideas and initiatives to promote and support plant pathologists. BSPP is a registered charity and a company with limited Board membership liability and, to meet the legal requirements of both the Charity Commission and Companies House, a formal Annual Business Meeting, to approve the accounts and formally record the appointment of Board members, is held each year in May. A separate, short Annual General Meeting, at which the President provides feedback to members on the Society's year, is usually held each year in conjunction with the Presidential conference. All of this may sound a little dry but Board meetings are conducted in a relaxed manner and everyone is encouraged to contribute ideas to ensure the wellbeing of the Society.

The Board comprises a President, who chairs Board meetings, a President Elect, a Vice-President, Treasurer, Secretary, Programme Secretary, Membership Secretary and six elected members. The President, President Elect and Vice-Presidents each serve for one year, with the Vice-President then becoming President Elect and the President Elect taking over as President. The Treasurer, Secretary, Programme Secretary and Membership Secretaries usually serve for five years and the elected Board members each serve for three years. Elected members are nominated by members of the Society and, if the number of nominated members exceeds the number of Board vacancies, elections are held, usually in the Autumn, and each member of the Society is invited to cast a vote. The Senior Editors of the Society's publications, Plant Pathology, Molecular Plant Pathology, New Disease Reports and the Newsletter, together with the Society's Webmanager, usually attend Board meetings too.

Why not get involved ? - Encouraging younger and female members

The continuing success of the Society depends on ordinary members being prepared to support the Board, either by allowing their names to go forward for Board membership or by proposing and voting for colleagues who they think will contribute positively to the Board's activities. The Board is especially keen to encourage the involvement of younger members and one of the elected members' places on the Board is to be reserved for a younger post-doctoral member. So, if you are in this position and would like to become involved with the Board, or know of a colleague who would make an effective Board member, look out for the Secretary's call for nominations. Female members of the Society are currently under represented on the Board and, as with younger members, the Board would very much welcome you. So, again, if you have female colleagues who would make effective Board members please consider nominating them. BSPP is truly an international society: currently we have members from 65 countries, so we would consider nominations from overseas members.

Our Secretary, Roger Williams (, would be happy to provide more information on the Board's activities to any member who is interested and, if you have good ideas on how the Board might do more for our membership, get in touch with him.