President's new season welcome

27th Sep 2017

Dear members and friends of CSAR,

This is my first email to you as the newly installed president of CSAR, and I’m delighted to be able to welcome you to the new season of CSAR lectures and visits.

The lecture programme is off to a flying start with Billy Boyle, co-founder and CEO of Owlstone Medical on Mon 2 October. Billy Boyle is an engineering graduate from University of Cambridge who’s working on the early detection of lung and other cancers by sampling the patient’s exhaled breath. Then we have Professors Plomin, Cowley and Francis on Genetics and Behavioural Science, Fusion Power and the greening (or not) of Antarctica respectively.

The visits kick off on Thurs 12 October with a fantastic opportunity to see for yourself Encocam's crash test dummy development and test laboratory in Huntingdon. And that’s just part of the autumn season!

Having just taken over from Sir David Wallace I am rather daunted. He leaves us with a flourishing society run by an outstanding team of volunteers and a growing band of regular followers. A hard act to follow indeed! As one of his final acts as president David secured three-year funding from The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 which will enable us to extend our schools outreach programme and to video-record selected lectures. The Commission’s support in much appreciated by all of us at CSAR.

Last year saw great progress on a number of fronts. All categories of membership grew, and the number of people registered on our database trebled. The excellent new website, further upgraded over the summer, provides a modern feel to our activities but also important functionality to make it easy for you to follow our activities and, we hope, to renew your membership or indeed join the society.

Could I thank those who have recently renewed their membership, and in particular those who also chose to make donations at the same time. Our membership and attendance processes have been streamlined and we’re pleased that we have been able to hold annual subscriptions for individuals and families at the same price they have been for the last 7 years.

But CSAR is not just about lectures and visits. We also offer very practical encouragement to young researchers. Thanks to generous donors, the CSAR PhD Student Awards offer prizes of £1,000 to PhD students who can demonstrate ground breaking research which can be applied to make a real difference to society or the economy. The winners are also invited to give a brief pitch at our meetings to publicise their work – and give us an early glimpse of their ideas! We are open for applications for the 2018 awards and will guide you through the process.

We are in for an exciting year and I look forward to meeting you. Doors open on Monday 2 October at the slightly earlier time this year of 18.30 to allow a little more time for people to mingle over tea and coffee before the lecture at 19.30. You are welcome to join us for supper in the dining room at Churchill College ahead of the talk and of course the bar is always open afterwards!

Mike Gregory