President's page#

Sierd Cloetingh

Letter to AE and YAE members and guests from the President Sierd Cloetingh#

May - June 2019#

Dear AE member, member of the Young Academy and guest readers,#

This spring we have seen some major developments here in the AE.

Firstly. Our new five-year strategic plan has now been published and can be found on the ae-info website. A specific general newsletter will arrive in your in-box shortly with some key targets described, and some initial indications on how you can engage with aspects of the plan over the coming years. The plan is a challenging framework for the AE, but with your enthusiasm, it will be achievable.

Secondly. The Class chair - Björn Wittrock MAE, the Class for Social and Societal Sciences; Svend Erik Larsen MAE, (the retiring) chair of the Class for the Humanities; Don Dingwell MAE, the Class chair for exact and Natural Sciences and Alex Verkhratsky MAE Class chair for Life Sciences, are all currently carrying out their assessment meetings with their Sections. They will soon provide the Board with a list of scholars recommended for election as new members. They have been assessing 370 candidate dossiers, and I am especially looking forward to meeting the successful new members, at this year’s annual conference in Barcelona (October 23-25th). Invitations to accept membership will be sent out to the successful scholars in July. As their acceptances come in, we will publish their names on the ae-info website. The 2020 round for nominations will open on 1st December 2019 and close on 31st March 2020. I will take this opportunity to welcome Professor Poul Holm MAE (Trinity College, Dublin) who will take over as Class Chair for the Humanities after the upcoming Class meeting. We will say a fond goodbye to Svend Erik Larsen in style at our Barcelona conference.

Thirdly. I am pleased to announce that the Board of Trustees and a delegation of AE and Young Academy members visited Tbilisi in April, for the formal signing and launch of the fifth Academia Europaea Regional Knowledge Hub and a one-day workshop. The new hub, which will be an exciting development for the Caucasus region. It will be based at the Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University in the Republic of Georgia. The Hub has the full support of the University (our member - Rector George Sharvashidze MAE) and the government of the Republic. The programme had a high visibility in the country, with the opening ceremony attended by the Prime Minister and Minister of Education and Research, the President of the Georgian National Academy of Sciences and other academic dignitaries and representatives. There was also full TV and media coverage of the event. Our Academic Director of the Hub will be Professor David Prangishvili MAE (Virology). The Hub staff are already in place, and are working hard on their initial priorities, events, and infrastructure. Over the coming months, we will make support for the new hub and the region a core priority for dialogue and cooperation that should be sustainable over the longer-term. As a first step, a symposium on Eastern Christianity (June 10 - 11). In Microbiology (September 23 - 26). On Neuroglia (organised by Alex Verkhratsky, Chair of Class C) planned for September 28 - 30. I would invite any members who may be interested in developing collaboration with the region to contact the new hub Director and staff as soon as their website is up and running.

Fourthly, I want to go back to this year’s annual conference for all members. It will take place in Barcelona on 23 – 25 October. The full programme and conference website and registration will be published in early June. On the morning of 23rd – there will be four Class workshops/events for members. In the afternoon of the 23rd, we will have the welcome of new members ceremony followed by a 2019 Erasmus medal and lecture session. After a reception, there will be a President’s Dinner for new and “old” members. The one-day main conference is on 24th. We have an exciting programme of top-quality speakers and as always, the 25th has an optional excursion to see aspects of geology, wine food and culture of the Catalan region. Please come. Once again, the Young Academy will also hold their annual meeting and fully participate in the main conference programme.

Finally a general reminder to all members: please look at the website, where all upcoming events are announced. Please remember that all AE members can also access free, the online issues of The European Review. Simply log in into the member pages via your account. You can also find links to our Regional Knowledge Hubs and their programmes of events and a lot of other AE related information, including your own personal profile pages, which you can update and expand as you wish. Here are just a few of the expanding list of 2019 events:

  • September - Tbilisi Neuroglia workshop

If you need help with your personal account, please contact Dana Kaiser ( at the AE Graz Data Centre, and remember that all members may advertise events that they are organising on our website, and on request, have patronage of the AE for their event. If you have recently, or will in the near future, receive any significant awards or honours, please let us know so that we can announce these.

Sierd Cloetingh
Utrecht, June 2019
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