President’s Final Newsletter: April 2024

Dear BTS Member
As the outgoing BTS President this will be my last message to BTS members. In this President’s message I should briefly like to review some of our achievements over the last two years and to congratulate some BTS members who have recently been elected as either Fellows of the BTS (FBTS) or have been awarded the lifetime achievement award of Honorary Fellowship of the BTS (HonFBTS). In addition, I should like to promote BTS awards and bursaries (in particular the President’s Award and the Norman Aldridge Travel and Training Award) and finally to give my grateful thanks to various BTS committee members for all their hard work over the past two years.

BTS Achievements. In terms of BTS membership, the numbers of fee paying members (i.e. less student and HonFBTS members) have been relatively stable over the past two years, with small but encouraging increases in both early career and full membership. The Society has been financially stable during this period, which has permitted investment in some strategic projects (e.g. Website and the Skills Gap project). During the past two years the Society has held two very successful face to face Annual Congress meetings, together with a number of Speciality Section activities. Previously the Society had five Speciality Sections which have now been increased to seven, the two new Sections comprising Ecotoxicology (chaired by Dr Natalie Burden) and Translational Toxicology (chaired by Dr Keith Burden). During this period the Society has  appointed a Webmaster to update and improve the current website and has produced a number of public statements. The Skills Gap project has now moved into an implementation phase, starting with the development  of training webinars in aspects of regulatory toxicology.

FBTS and HonFBTS. During 2023 the BTS Fellowship Committee met and considered applications for both Fellows of the BTS (FBTS) and Honorary Fellows of the BTS (HonFBTS). I should like to congratulate Dr Ernie Harpur and Professor Shirley Price who are awarded HonFBTS in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the science and profession of toxicology. In addition, I wish to congratulate Sean O´Halloran, Dr Sarah Judge and Dr Lesley Reeve who are now elected as FBTS members, having made a substantial contribution to the discipline of toxicology and to the work of the Society.

BTS Awards and Bursaries. As described on the BTS website, the Society offers a range of awards and bursaries and I would urge BTS members to review the list of available BTS awards and bursaries and consider, where appropriate, making an application. The BTS Executive Committee has recently reviewed two of these awards and some minor changes have been made which are detailed on the BTS website.

President’s Award. As stated on the BTS website, the purpose of this award is to recognise a BTS member who has made a significant contribution to the work of the Society, particularly on projects or in roles which are not highly visible, but which provide great benefits to current/future BTS members. Applications for this award can be made at any time during the year, with now a single closing date of 1st December. The winner will be notified after the following January Executive Committee meeting and will be invited to attend the next BTS Congress to be presented with the award.

Norman Aldridge Travel and Training Award. This award was set up in honour of the late Professor Norman Aldridge who was at the MRC Toxicology Unit when it was located in Carshalton, Surrey. While BTS offers three awards for attendance of scientific meetings (e.g. EUROTOX and the Gordon Conference), the Norman Aldridge award is specifically aimed at enabling an early career BTS member to develop new practical or computational skills in toxicology through collaboration with laboratories or research centres within or outside the UK. BTS has recently received a very generous donation to supplement the current funds available for this award and the Executive Committee has now increased the value of this award to £1500. This sum can be used by a successful applicant towards both travel and accommodation costs to visit the host institution, with any surplus being available for costs directly associated with the project (e.g. laboratory consumables or software licences).

My Grateful Thanks. The success of the BTS is due to the hard work and commitment of all those who serve as members on the Executive Committee and its Subcommittees, the Speciality Sections, the Ambassadors and the NewsFeed Editorial Team. Over the past two years I am particularly indebted to the Officers of the Executive Committee for all their excellent work and support for me. The current officers comprise Dr Phil Botham (Vice President), Professor Shirley Price (Immediate Past President, Chair of the Nominations Committee and Honorary General Secretary), Dr Lesley Reeve (Chair of the Scientific Subcommittee (SSC)) and Frances Hill (BTS Treasurer). In particular, I am very grateful to Professor Shirley Price for agreeing to serve as Honorary General Secretary for another term in addition to her other BTS Executive Committee duties and to Dr Lesley Reeve for all her hard work for the SSC over a number of years. I am also indebted to Professor Rob Chilcott (the previous BTS Treasurer) who kindly agreed to help Frances during her first year as BTS Treasurer and to Professor Ian Copple who will succeed Dr Lesley Reeve as Chair of the SSC. This April sees the retirement of  a number of  members of the Executive Committee, namely Ms Nevine Amer, Dr Lisa Godfrey, Dr Emma Marczylo, Dr David Mason and Dr Lesley Reeve, who have all made great contributions to the Society. Overall, I do sincerely thank all members of the BTS Executive Committee, its subcommittees, Speciality Sections, the Ambassadors and the Newsfeed Editorial Team for all their excellent efforts in helping the Society achieve its objectives. I would also like to express my thanks to Executive Business Support Ltd, our secretariat, for all their support provided to the Society over the last two years. Finally, I should like to thank all BTS members for their continued support of the Society.
I am certain that the Society will continue to progress and grow under Dr Phil Botham, who will succeed me as President in April. Finally, I hope to see many BTS members at the Annual Congress to be held from 15th to 17th April in Liverpool.

With all best wishes for the future of the Society.
(Professor Brian G. Lake, Outgoing BTS President)