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Leif Ryd
08-09-2000, 05:37 PM
To be printed in the Newsletter of the European Society of
Biomechanics. For maximum circulation it is also put on Biomech-L

About the election process of a scientific Society, the ESB

We need to belong. We humans need to have kinfolk with whom to relate on
important subjects. We need a clan, a bunch of important people - important
in the sense that they wrestle with the same problems that we have chosen
to be worth while - among whom we can interact and strive for excellence
and recognition. Such may be, I believe, the reasons why societies like
the ESB exist. In today's world with scientific advancement of
unprecedented depth and penetration theses kins are not found next door or
among the colleagues at everyday work, because they are interested in
something else. So we have to search for our kin internationally and
modern information technology permits us to do so; e-mail and Internet
provide us with virtually unlimited and instant access to anybody, no
matter how physically far away. Hence international societies materialize
around any conceivable topic. Did you know why München was short on hotel
rooms in 1995 when the EFORT/EORS met? Because the international "Star
Trek society" met ther at the same time. You know, aficionados of the
American soap science fiction space travel TV overindulgence. Not, we
believe, such an important society but much larger than ours; perspectives
From this follows that Societies need to be appropriately run, that is that
they need to be run in a way so that all the members feel that they
appertain. That is the "raison d'être" of the Societies. An issue in this
respect may be that the officers of the executive body of the society must
be known by and representative of the membership body at large.
In an inspired and heartful letter on the Biomech-L last November, Marco
Viceconti brings up what he percieves to be a problem of the Society. Many
of you have read his letter, those who have not should go and have a look
for it. He writes that the election process is too controlled, there is
too little democracy and that the control of the Society remains in the
hands of a few persons. I agree with much what he writes about the
election process although not with all of the cures he proposes. "Any
member may candidate him or herself as a board member". I believe that is
possible today and that is, in fact, a part of the problem. Any person
doing so has little chance to get elected.
Some of you may recall that initiatives were taken at the ESB conference in
Toulouse to refreshen the election process in the shape of a search
committee in the ESB. The idea is that any member of the Society can
approach members of the search committee at any time on issues regarding
the way the society is run. Before the meeting in Dublin, the search
committee will formulate proposals regarding members of the council to be.
Any suggestion for new members on the board will be welcomed.
Importantly, the search committee is independent from the council. The
two bodies should, of course, work in close collaboration, ensuring both
continuity and renewal. The idea was approved by the general assembly at
the Toulouse meeting. but for formal reasons, the search committee could
not be appointed there; change in the statutes and by-laws must be take at
two consecutive general assemblies. Interimistically , however, I was
appointed to head the search committee during the coming 2-year period. I
have asked Aurelio Cappozzo and Eric Schneider to join me, forming a
north-south axis through Europe.

Prof.. Aurelio Cappozzo
Laboratorio di Biomeccanica
Instituto di Fisiologia Umana
1e Universita degli Studi: La Sapienza
Piazale Aldo Moro 5
00185 Roma
tel: +39 6 495 9256/+39 6 490 673
fax: +39 6 445 2303/+39 6 445 2824

Prof.dr. Erich Schneider
AO Research Institute
CH-7270 Davos Platz
tel: +41 81 4142441 (direct 2440)
fax: +41 81 4142288
E-mail erich.schneider@ao-asif.ch

Assoc.prof. Leif Ryd
Department of Orthopedics
University Hospital
S.221 85 Lund
tel: 046-17 15 10
Fax: 046-13 07 32
e-mail: leif.ryd@ort.lu.se

Any member of the ESB is free to approach any one of us on these issues.
The search committee is now working and will formulate suggestions for the
election to take place in Dublin.

Leif Ryd

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