Over the past
year, the ISCBs Affiliated Regional Groups program has grown
to include 13 affiliates in 10 countries over 4 continents, with
more groups set to join in the next few months. The program, described
in the Summer 2002 issue of the ISCB newsletter, is a means of creating
and strengthening partnerships with regionally based bioinformatics
groups throughout the world.
To emphasize the international aspect of the ISCB, the Board of
Directors decided that developing an Affiliated Regional Groups
program would create a structure of mutual recognition and support
in the best interest of members from each group.
We knew it was important that the ISCB become as wide-ranging
as possible to further our mission to support an increased understanding
of our science through communication and meetings, said 2002
ISCB President Phil Bourne. Toward that end, the ISCB regularly
sends announcements and newsletters to the designated contacts of
each Affiliated Regional Group. Those contacts then pass along the
announcements to their memberships, establishing a method for global
communication of news and issues in the field of bioinformatics.
ISCB Vice President Anna Tramontano implemented the initiative to
form the Affiliated Regional Groups program. As the first
female Vice President of the ISCB, I was pleased to be asked to
take on this vital role toward community development, she
said. One of the benefits she recommended was that affiliates be
invited to submit nominees from within their membership for ISCB
Board of Director seats. Another initiative advocated by Tramontano
was to allow Affiliated Regional Groups to apply for conference
support from the ISCB. Although our finances are primarily
tied to matters directly involved with our Society and its membership,
we have earmarked limited funds toward external conference support,
and that includes our affiliates, she said.
Student travel fellowships have also attracted potential affiliates
to the ISCB. This year, the ISCB provided US$5,000.00 in student
travel fellowships to the European Conference on Computational Biology
(ECCB), which was jointly organized in 2002 with the German Conference
on Bioinformatics (GCB). The GCB is the German Informatics Societys
(GI; see www.gi-ev.de) version
of ISMB and in December, the GI became the ISCBs newest affiliate.
Two other new affiliates for the ISCB are the Vancouver Bioinformatics
Users Group (VanBUG; see www.vanbug.org)
and the African Bioinformatics Network (ABioNet; see www.abionet.org).
Both groups, formed in 2002, already have set up ambitious goals
and plans for meeting them.
The ISCB is looking forward to interacting with the three new Affiliated
Regional Groups in 2003, as well as furthering the Societys
relationship with all affiliates worldwide. For more information
on affiliation criteria and benefits, please visit www.iscb.org/affiliates.shtml,
or write to email@example.com.