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  • New ISB Student Initiatives

    Subscribers may recall my President's column posted on BIOMCH-L in June
    1997 which discussed some of the ways in which the International Society of
    Biomechanics could better serve its student members.

    As the new past-President, I am delighted to announce that the Executive
    Council approved a bold new program featuring five initiatives for our
    student members at its meeting in Japan at the end of August 1997.

    The first important change is that we intend to propose a modification of
    the Constitution of the Society in order to include a student
    representative on the Executive Council. This must be done by mail (or
    Email) ballot of members and will be packaged together with other
    constitutional amendments planned for a vote in the New Year. The change
    is more than symbolic. I believe that it represents the real desire of the
    Council to allow the student voice to be heard in future decisions.

    Next, we intend to exploit our international membership in order to develop
    a directory of opportunities for student members who wish to spend short
    periods studying abroad. This is not intended to facilitate formal degree
    programs, but rather to provide a list of laboratories where students who
    wish to gain research experience in a particular area would be welcomed.
    We hope that this will provide the basis for many opportunities for
    intellectual and personal growth.

    The final three initiatives all involve grants. With this move, the Society
    is making a major financial commitment to student members: almost $175,000
    over the next five years. This is the single largest expenditure that the
    Society has ever made, and the Council is prepared to accept the challenge
    of seeking sponsors to help offset the cost. In addition, by unanimous
    vote of the membership assembled in Tokyo, the annual dues of the Society
    will be increased from $35 to $50 to help finance the program. Student
    membership dues will remain at $15 per year.

    Details of the Grant Programs are as follows:

    The Matching Dissertation Grant Program: Each year there will be at
    least 5 competitive grants of $2000 made for doctoral dissertation
    research. A condition will be that the applicant will have a commitment
    from her/his institution or another source to provide a further matching

    The International Travel Grant Program: In order to allow student members
    to travel abroad to experience science in other cultures, we will begin by
    offering each year 7 grants of $2,000 for travel which is related to
    biomechanics research. A report on the accomplishments during the trip
    will be expected by the Executive Council.

    The Congress Travel Grant Program: ISB Congresses provide a
    wonderful opportunity for exchange of information and for meeting other
    scientists who can be influential in the development of new directions. By
    virtue of the need to move the Congresses between different continents, it
    is often very difficult for students to afford to travel to the Congresses
    or to pay the registration fee if they can travel. Starting with the 1999
    ISB Congress in Calgary, we will offer 10 travel grants of $1000 to student
    members who will be presenting their research results at ISB Congresses.
    We will also encourage the organizers of future Congresses to provide
    reduced registration fees for the winners of these awards.

    All of these grant initiatives will be highly competitive - we are looking
    to encourage quality, and we will expect that the recipients will fulfill
    the obligations which will come with the grants. Over the next 5 years, as
    the programs grow, we anticipate providing financial support to more than
    90 student members. This program, therefore, offers the possibility of
    having a major impact on the next generation of biomechanists.

    The implementation of the Student Member Initiative is now in the hands of
    Council members Mary Rodgers from the USA ( and
    Keijo Häkkinen from Finland ( On November 1, 1997
    they will be announcing the guidelines and deadlines for these grant
    programs on BIOMCH-L.

    Watch for the announcement and encourage all student members who you know
    to participate. The ISB is proud to be in a position where it can help its
    most important constituents.

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