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Vol. 26 No. 5
September-October 2004

From the Editor

image of Fabienne Meyers

It usually starts with a simple idea and the desire to open a scientific discussion on a specific topic. First, you plan to meet with just a few colleagues, then, later you meet to plan for a larger event; you then plan to meet and meet to plan a few more times, and before you know it, you've become a conference organizer. However, organizing a conference, a symposium, or a workshop is not that simple, and often even before the event takes place, you might be asking yourself why you embarked on such an enterprise?

Meetings have always been an important part of a scientist’s career. They provide the opportunity to present ideas or to listen to those of others, and to share with the most interested audience the how and why of what is hot in any subject.

Given the importance of these meetings, I wonder how many readers know the extent to which IUPAC sponsors and provides financial support to scientific events. IUPAC has a long history of facilitating such meetings and, as the calendars in each issue of this magazine attest, this is a vital ongoing IUPAC practice. Yet, it seems that too little is known about the various options for IUPAC sponsorship, resulting in sometimes rushed planning or overlooked opportunities. Here is a candid review of the existing programs (official resources and information are all available on the IUPAC Web site, under “symposia”).

IUPAC sponsors conferences that are single events or part of established series, conferences that are coordinated by an IUPAC committee or organized with no IUPAC impetus, and conferences or workshops that are part of an IUPAC project. For each type of conference, the procedures for submission and review of applications are a bit different, but fortunately, options exist for various kinds of conferences. Among the key criteria are the scientific quality, the significance, and the suitability of the event. In general, IUPAC will sponsor international conferences or conferences that are international in the sense that they are intended to attract participants from anywhere in the world; a pertinent factor when considering the sponsorship of such conferences will than be whether IUPAC sponsorship has the potential to help the organizers attract a wider audience.

Recently, IUPAC expanded its sponsorship program to include financial support. Two types of conferences can receive financial support: conferences that are on “New Directions in Chemistry” and conferences held in developing or economically disadvantaged countries. To be eligible for financial support, the event must be held in a country that is a Member or Associate Member of the Union.

So, here you have it: a quick snapshot of how a meeting organizer can seek IUPAC sponsorship. As an IUPAC member, fellow, or affiliate, it might be to your benefit to simply be aware of these options, especially if you find yourself in the role of planning a future meeting.

Fabienne Meyers
fabienne@iupac.org
www.iupac.org/publications/ci


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