August 1999 - July 2000
More complete information about many items in this report is to be found on individual pages on this web site. Links to these individual pages are provided (in parentheses) in the table of contents and again under the respective headings in the report below.
The period covered by this Report was one of great activity for the IUBMB. The Task Force on International Governance worked assiduously and produced its draft report in time for the annual meeting of the Executive Committee (EC) and the triennial General Assembly. The IUBMB Jubilee Lectures, to be financed by a grant from the Special Initiatives Fund, were established. A relaunched IUBMB journal was nurtured along its path and another one was prepared for relaunching. The Education Committee's report on Standards for the Ph.D. Degree in the Molecular Biosciences was published and has been well received around the world. Standing Orders that cover most of the Union's activities were completed and consolidated under one cover. The annual EC meeting lasted three full days and again included the participation of representatives of the Regional Organizations. The 17th Ordinary General Assembly was convened, elected four new members of the EC and the Nominating Committee for 2000-2018 and made other important decisions. The 18th IUBMB Congress, cosponsored by FEBS and The Biochemical Society, immediately followed the General Assembly and was widely deemed a marked success. A second EC meeting, held just after the Congress, was attended by the newly elected members, and chaired by the new President. This Report, submitted in accordance with By-Law 8c, summarizes important happenings under three headings.
The IUBMB Jubilee Lectures
At the first International Congress of Biochemistry held in Cambridge UK in 1949, the initial steps were taken that led to formation of the IUB (IUBMB since 1991). To commemorate the 50th anniversary of that Congress, the IUBMB Jubilee Lectures have been established. Up to four lectures will be awarded per year to be financed by a grant from the Special Initiatives Fund, which was established from donations made to the Union in recent years. Guidelines for IUBMB Jubilee Lectures are posted on the home page (http://www.iubmb.unibe.ch). Applications for these lectures in 2001 are invited.
Task Force on International Governance
The Task Force was chaired by William J. Whelan and consisted of Brian F.C. Clark (from IUBMB), William Sawyer (from FAOBMB), M. Iqbal Parker (from FASBMB), Julio Celis (from FEBS) and Jack Preiss (from PABMB). It conducted its work mostly by correspondence. The chair also took opportunities provided by his scientific pursuits to attend meetings of Regional Organizations and individual society or academy officers of a variety of Adhering Bodies. The draft report has been endorsed by the IUBMB EC and the General Assembly, and by ECs of FEBS and PABMB. FAOBMB and FASBMB will consider the report at their meetings later this year. The report provides a blueprint for increasing cooperation with the Regional Organizations in a wide variety of areas of mutual interest.
Presentation of Financial Report to General Assembly, July 16, 2000
In accordance with the Statutes 8.13 e and f, the Treasurer presented an audited financial report of income and expenditure in the triennium 1997-1999, the Balance Sheet at the end of the triennium and a Budget for the triennium 2000-2002. These and a proposal to increase the unit subscription from $400 to $500 as from 2001, the first increase since 1992, were agreed by the Assembly.
Income and Expenditure
In Table 1, revenues and expenses for the triennium are compared with the budget for the triennium approved at the 16th Ordinary General Assembly in San Francisco in 1997 and with the results in the previous triennium.
Although exceeding budget, total revenues in the triennium 1997-1999 were only 6.8% higher than in 1994-1996, less than inflation in this period. The main sources of income were publications (44% of total income) and subscriptions from Adhering Bodies (35%). Notable are the decline in income from ICSU and the increase in interest income and in Donations, received from:
Total expenditure at near $1,000,000 was close to both budget and the amount spent in the previous triennium. Total funds increased by more than $200,000 in the course of the triennium, a little less than the increase in the previous triennium. However, in 1997-1999 the bulk of the increase was in the Endowment Funds. The Operating Fund increased by only $74,000, about 7% of expenditure. In addition a Congress Reserve Fund of $102,000 was created in preparation for the above-average expenditure on the 18th Congress expected in 2000. The Special Reserve of $43,717 existing at the end of 1996 was transferred to the Special Initiatives Endowment Fund.
There were two notable departures from the budget, namely a large increase in the amount spent on Congresses, consequent on the decision to support the 18th International Congress by advancing $100,000 to the organisers and a decrease of $60,000 in the amount spent on Symposia and Interest Groups, which is by far the largest item of expenditure of the Union.
The subventions to the Associated Organisations are also an important way in which IUBMB supports scientific activity. In general a subvention of $18,000 is granted to FASBMB, FAOBMB, and PABMB in the year in which each holds its Congress and $7500 in each of the other years of the triennium. This is additional to possible subventions from IUBMB's Committees on Symposia, Interest Groups and Education in support of corresponding activities held in association with the triennial Congresses of the regional organisation or of symposia organised by the regional organisations in their non-Congress years. The FASBMB was formed during the triennium and FEBS became an Associated Organisation late in 1999.
Table 1. Revenues and Expenditure Account
Budgets for Triennium 2000 - 2002
Table 2. Budget for triennium 2000 - 2002
* Excluding Congress Reserve Fund
The large proportion (41%) of IUBMB's total funds in the Endowment Funds, which have some restrictions on their use, exaggerates the effective assets. Overall, the budget envisages a deficit of about $24,000, a profit of about $40,000 on the Operating Fund being offset by a deficit of about $64,000 in the Endowment Funds, mainly in the Wood-Whelan and Special Initiatives Funds. This is possible by utilising some capital as well as income, since some gifts to these two endowments are meant to be spent, not just to provide income.
The Treasurer commented that income from Publications is the most uncertain item. Some allowance was made for the declining royalties from TIBS, the initial costs of the replacement of BAMBI by IUBMB Life, the recent changes to Biochemical Education and the initial costs of further initiatives but not for possible changes in the nature of scientific publication that may adversely affect journal income. This estimate may well turn out to be too optimistic.
He commented further that the triennial budget presented to and approved by the General Assembly can be no more than an expression of the intentions of the Treasurer and the Executive Committee for the coming triennium on the basis of information available at the time of its presentation. They must be free to amend the expenditures under the various headings within the overall budget when circumstances make that necessary. An example in the triennium 1997-1999 was, as mentioned above, the decision to advance $100,000 to the organisers of the 18th International Congress. In the month of December each year, the Treasurer presents to the Executive Committee a Working Budget for the forthcoming year.
Since in accordance with the Statutes the budget was distributed some months before the Assembly, it could not take account of an anonymous donation of $100,000 received a few days before the Assembly and announced by the President at its opening, to found an Endowment Fund in the memory of the late Lars Ernster to be used to finance the travel of young scientists to the International Congresses of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
Statutory Review of Committees
In accordance with Statute 7.1j that requires the EC to review each of its committees every three years, at its 2000 meeting the EC reviewed its relations with ICSU and its committees and groups and with non-regional Associated Organizations, and the Special Membership Committee.
Review of Relations with ICSU and its Committees and Groups
For the first time a representative of the ICSU Executive Board was present at the 2000 IUBMB EC meeting. Dr. A.C.T. North was very helpful in providing information during the review. It was noted that the annual meetings at which ICSU representatives came together for the General Committee or General Assembly were valuable for the continuing contacts they provided. The fact that these representatives now come together only every 3 years instead of annually has diminished the value of ICSU as a forum for exchange of ideas and information. The links between the Union and the ICSU committees on which the Union is represented have become much too tenuous. The Union's representatives to the various ICSU committees and groups have been constituted as a virtual committee to be chaired by the Member for ICSU Activities.
Review of Relations with Non-Regional Associated Organizations
In recent years, whereas relations with the Regional Organizations (FASBMB, FAOBMB, FEBS, PABMB) all of which are Associated Organizations, have been marked by increasing cooperation and collaboration at a variety of levels, those with most of the other Associated Organizations have not flourished in the same way. The nature of the relations with these organizations is to be explored further in coming months.
Review of Special Membership Committee
The Committee was encouraged to extend invitations to join as Special Members to publishers and scientific institutes in addition to industrial companies.
Matters from the 17th Ordinary General Assembly
The 17th Ordinary General Assembly convened in Birmingham UK on 16 July 2000. About 100 persons (delegates, associate delegates, members and proposed members of the Executive Committee, representatives of Associated Organizations, and invited observers) were present.
The Assembly approved the nomination of Mary Osborn as President-Elect, Peter Dolphin as Treasurer, Jacques-Henry Weil as General Secretary, Cecilia Hidalgo as Member for Education, and William Lennarz as Member for Congresses and Conferences.
The Executive Committee of IUBMB consists of
At the Assembly the IUBMB Distinguished Service Award was presented to:
The Assembly elected the following to the IUBMB Nominating Committee for 2000-2018:
Joel Weiner (Canada)
Brian F.C. Clark (IUBMB President, Denmark)
The Assembly elected as Auditors for 2000-2018:
Karel van Dam (The Netherlands)
The Assembly approved the Proposal to Amend Statutes 5 and 6. These Statutes concern the appointment of the Nominating Committee and the Executive Committee. Before the amendments these were mixed with each other and difficult to read and to follow. The amendments moved the material from Statute 5 to Statute 6, rearranged Statute 6 to give a more logical order, shortened Statutes 5.6 and 5.7 to avoid repetition, and added a new Statute 6.8 to make it clear who is eligible to nominate members of the Executive Committee.
The Assembly approved by a large majority the proposal of the Executive Committee that the Unit Subscription be increased from $400 to $500 and that the minimum subscription be $1000 as of 1.1.2001.
The Assembly acknowledged an anonymous donation of $100,000, in the name of the late Lars Ernster, to be used for Travel Fellowships at IUBMB Congresses, and one to be provided by William J. Whelan for $18,000 for the Wood-Whelan Research Fellowships Fund.
The Job Descriptions for officers and members of the EC, Terms of Reference for Committees, and Guidelines for a wide variety of IUBMB activities have been formulated and were approved by the EC. They have been consolidated under one cover and designated IUBMB Standing Orders. These will be posted on the home page.
The Federation of European Biochemical Societies (FEBS) is now an Associated Organization. This means that the IUBMB family now includes all four Regional Organizations (FASBMB, FAOBMB, FEBS, PABMB) as Associated Organizations.
The Azerbaijan Society of Biochemists and Molecular Biologists and The Biological Society of Cyprus were admitted as Adhering Bodies.
The Asociacion Panamena de Bioquimica y Biologia Molecular was admitted as an Associate Adhering Body.
Symposia and Interest Group Activities
The following Symposia and Interest Group activities were sponsored:
Standards for the Ph.D. Degree in the Molecular Biosciences
This report was produced and published on behalf of the Education Committee. Some 13,000 print copies were distributed around the world. Some 4,000 requests were made for it via the homepage. The report was also published in IUBMB Life, in Biochemical Education, and BioFactors, and was distributed to all registrants at the 6th IUBMB Conference in Seoul in October 1999, the 14th FAOBMB Symposia in Dunedin in December 1999 and the 18th IUBMB Congress in Birmingham in July 2000. Translation into Spanish, Chinese, Persian and Romanian has been undertaken.
The IUBMB publications continue to contribute the major portion of the Union's income. However revenue from publications has been decreasing as a result of a fall in subscriptions which is only partly offset by an increase in the cost of subscriptions. IUBMB publications comprise:
Eleven young scientists, out of 24 applicants, were awarded Fellowships. The awards ranged between $457 and $1609 (total $13,600). The awardees were:
Publicity of IUBMB activities and developments took several forms: News Releases and News Bulletins mailed electronically and posted on the website; a printed Newsletter which was widely distributed and posted on the website, an abbreviated version also being published in IUBMB journals and The Biochemist; the brochure IUBMB 2000 which was updated, made generic, and widely distributed including to all registrants at the 18th IUBMB Congress; a poster IUBMB 2000 which appeared in IUBMB journals and distributed at the 18th IUBMB Congress; some 13,000 copies of the Education Committee report on Standards for the Ph.D. Degree in the Molecular Biosciences were mailed to 1500 addresses around the world; some 4000 requests for the Standards report were made via the home page; articles on This Is The IUBMB which have appeared in each issue of IUBMB Life. The home page continued to be popular with 2478 visits in August 1999 and 8915 in June 2000, total 50,700 in this period.
Call for Proposals for IUBMB Conference in 2019
Proposals are invited from Adhering Bodies interested in hosting the IUBMB Conference in 2019. They should reach the General Secretary (Dr. J-H. Weil) by 1 September 2001. Guidelines for IUBMB Conferences can be obtained from the General Secretary or via the home page.
Geography and Gender in the Membership of Committees and Editorial Boards
In March 1998 some 250 persons (of whom 10 were females) from 33 countries formed part of the committees and editorial boards of IUBMB. As of August 2000 there were 320 persons (of whom 34 were females) from 31 countries in these positions. The increase in numbers was due largely to the increase in size of editorial boards. If delegates and associate delegates are taken into account the total number of persons involved in the work of the Union approaches 400 and the number of countries involved becomes 70.
Brian F.C. Clark, President, Fax: +45 8619 1959,
Mary Osborn, President-Elect, Fax: +49 551 201 1578,
F. Vella, General Secretary (until 31.12.2000), Fax: +1 306 955 1314,
Jacques-Henry Weil, General Secretary (from 1.1.2001), Fax: +333 88 614 422,
E.C. Slater, Treasurer (until 31.12.2000), Fax: +44 1590 689 079,
Peter Dolphin, Treasurer (from 1.1.2001), Fax: +1 902 494 1355,
Yasuhiro Anraku, ICSU Activities, Fax: +81 554 634 431,
Angelo Azzi, Publications, Fax: +41 31 61 3737,
Cecilia Hidalgo, Education, Fax: +562 777 6916,
William J. Lennarz, Congresses and Conferences, Fax: +1 61 631 632 8575,
Vito Turk, Symposia and Interest Groups, Fax: +386 1 2573 594or +386 1 4252 017,
IUBMB is grateful to its many friends who have made financial contributions to support its activities during the period of this report. These include Kunio Yagi, Don Nicholson, William J. Whelan, an anonymous donor, the Special Members, International Council for Science (ICSU), UNESCO and Molecular Cell Biology Network. The Union is also grateful to all those who have given of their time, energy experience and talent. Without them the Union's work for the advancement of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the benefit of mankind would not have been possible.