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President's Report

ASBS Newsletter 92, September 1997

Hansjorg Eichler Scientific Research Fund

Twelve submissions were received by the extended deadline of 14 July, and the successful applicant(s) will be announced at the Annual General Meeting in Adelaide. We hope to have available at least $2000 each year to support research in Australian systematics, particularly that of students (graduate and post-graduate) and newly established botanists. Application forms will be available in the first few months of each year. Once tax deductibility has been established I will make a renewed call for donations to the Fund.

Newsletter Editorship

It is now official. The editorship of the ASBS newsletter will migrate thirty degrees of latitude southwards. Bob Hill, head of the Department of Plant Science at the University of Tasmania in Hobart, will commence as editor for the first issue of 1998. Having submerged my hands in many of the streams of the Northern Territory and Tasmania in the last few years, I can safely say that the water is warmer where the newsletter is now but the algae are more diverse where it is going.

1997 Annual General Meeting

This is a reminder for those who get the newsletter before they leave for Adelaide. Please attend the Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, 1 October, and have your say on the future of our society. It is important we get a good cross-section of views on how ASBS should relate to the Society of Australian Systematic Biologists. There will be other issues equally important to the running of the society. The general meetings provide one of the easiest opportunities for members to contribute to their society.

1998 Annual General Meeting

An advance notice. Coincidentally, the 1998 Annual General Meeting will be held exactly one year later, on Thursday, 1 October, at Monocots II in Sydney. The Nancy Burbidge Memorial Lecture will be delivered during the conference. Financial assistance will be available for students who are financial members of ASBS and present a paper or poster at the conference. ASBS is one of the co-hosts of Monocots II, and all members are encouraged to attend.

Australian Foundation for Science

The Australian Academy of Science has established this Foundation to 'involve the wider community in the advancement of science and technology in Australia'. With the potential demise of the annual ANZAAS conference, initiatives like this are important in promoting science in the wider community. One of the key projects funded by the Foundation is Nova: Science in the news, a web-site for teachers, students, journalists and others. The site will supplement school textbooks which by their nature are unable to include topics making news-of-the-day (e.g. life on Mars, ozone depletion, rabbit calicivirus).

I will be recommending ASBS provide a small donation to the Foundation to support the Nova project. Of the 29 topics currently provided by or being prepared for Nova, the most relevant to ASBS is probably 'Australia's threatened species'. However our studies apply to the 'Greenhouse effect', 'Toxic algal blooms', 'Environmental effects of population growth in Australia' and so on. Of course we will be a small player: there is unlikely to be a topic 'Botanical systematics shapes our future'. Still, coupled with a revitalised FASTS and the eager Australian Science Communicators, it is getting hard to remain insular. And that is a good thing.

Tim Entwisle