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Message from the President
First let me wish everyone a very Happy New Year!

2011 is an important year for us as it is 40 years since the Society was first established as the then British Society of Social and Behavioural Gerontology. At its meeting on January 24th, the Executive discussed potential ways we might celebrate this landmark year and set aside a small budget for this purpose.  We look forward to celebrating the 40th anniversary with everyone - especially at the annual conference in Plymouth (www.bsg2011plymouth.org.uk) - where we hope to see as many people as possible.

Members will be aware that the Society is working to a 5-year strategy (2009-2014) entitled ‘Raising the Profile of Ageing Research’. Our revamped working/task groups (reported on in the last issue of GR) have been firming up which activities they will be prioritising over the next 18-24 months and you will soon be able to read about our plans on the new website. We very much hope you like the website: our administrator Rachel Hazelwood, has put an enormous amount of time and effort into it, and we thank everyone on the Executive for the time, energy and constructive comments which have been forthcoming. We particularly welcome feedback from members as the site continues to develop.

2011 also heralds the beginning of the expected cuts in, and changes to, how research and teaching is funded. This is happening alongside the financial constraints already being imposed on colleagues in public sector organisations, health and social services, and the voluntary sector. The research councils have all published new Delivery Plans which contain details of their responses to the cuts and where they are now prioritising their future work and funds. These plans have important implications for many of our members - particularly those just starting out on academic careers - and the Advisory and Lobbying Group is continuing to work hard to bring the importance of ageing research to the attention of political leaders, policy makers and funders. To this end, Dr Wendy Martin (Secretary) represented the Society at the national launch of ‘The Campaign for Social Science (CfSS)’ which took place in the House of Lords on 20th January. We have also circulated members with details of the upcoming regional events via the BSG mailing list.

In addition, a special meeting of the British Council on Ageing (BCA) was convened on December 8th 2010 in order to discuss how the three societies (BSG, BGS and BSRA) might work more effectively together in the coming months and years.  Our Past-President Judith Phillips has agreed to take on the task of chairing this group and Mim Bernard (President) and Robin Means (President-Elect) will represent the BSG. Immediate plans include the drafting of a narrative/position paper that the three societies can all sign up to in terms of how we see ageing research; further discussions with the ESRC Chief Executive and other key funders; and the possibility of asking a question in Parliament about support for early and mid career researchers. Working through a reinvigorated BCA is one way in which we are attempting to get BSG into a leadership role in discussions about building research capacity; identifying new priority areas for research; and the future of funding for research into ageing.

The Delivery Plans for the Research Councils can be found at:

ESRC

EPSRC

BBSRC

MRC

AHRC

 

 

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