How to shape your Society

Member organisations and learned societies exist to support the work of their members, to provide services and opportunities, and to nurture networking and professional development. 

For us at the British Pharmacological Society (BPS), this manifests in many different ways. We host meetings, run Society journals, offer awards and prizes for members at all career levels, celebrate the successes of our membership, and provide training and other useful resources for benefit of the entire pharmacology community. We at Council oversee this work, but it is a collaborative effort between us and you, our members. 

We rely on your practical and financial support to run these services. When you pay to be a member of the BPS, your contribution allows us to continue developing new ways to support our members. You provide additional support when you pay to attend meetings, and support fundraising efforts for Early Career Researcher (ECR) activities.  

But it’s not just about that: it’s also about being an engaged member, getting involved in our committees and other groups, and spreading the word on social media. It’s also about telling us what you want from us by email or at an event, sharing your science through us by publishing in our journals, or by pitching a blog or article for our website.  

This year, we’re calling on our members to be more vocal, get more involved, and support us in sustaining the Society’s activities. We will share opportunities to get involved with BPS work throughout the year, but here two Council members focus on two key areas: getting involved in committees and groups, and attending events. 

Help us host groundbreaking events 

Professor Simon Kennedy, Honorary Treasurer: 

“I have always found BPS meetings to be a welcoming and supportive environment, and a fantastic place for ECRs to present their work. I think any meeting needs a mass of delegates to stimulate thought-provoking discussion and foster collaboration. The Meetings Committee is pulling together a top-notch events schedule for this year, and I encourage members to come along to these events ready to be inspired and meet like-minded people.  

In particular, Pharmacology 2024 promises to be one to remember, with some very topical symposia, eminent keynote speakers and prize lectures for you to enjoy. We’ll be taking over Harrogate, Yorkshire on 10-12 December 2024 for a stimulating and unique conference, focused on the latest discoveries in pharmacology, and full of opportunities for members to get involved. 

As you will appreciate, running costs for our events have soared in recent years, with average venue costsincreasing by an average of 38% since 2019, as well as increases in fees for travel, accommodation, catering and other expenses. In previous years, we have run our annual meeting at a loss to insulate the membership from increases in fees, but this has an impact on what we can do in other areas such as education, engagement and training.  

This year, we are asking for a slightly higher contribution from our members. Your generosity will keep the conference running, and enable us to subsidise rates for undergraduates, ECRs and people travelling from low-income countries, as well as offer bursaries to members. Our hope is that this increase will make the meeting cost-neutral to the BPS, with any surplus income reinvested into the event, for example by increasing our member bursary fund or supporting ECR activities. 

I hope that you will continue to support the meeting with your attendance and to encourage your colleagues, PhD students, research fellows and collaborators also to attend. I also hope you will make the most out of opportunities to present posters and oral communications by submitting an abstract.” 

Represent your area of Pharmacology 

Alina Zorn, Elected Trustee (Early Career Pharmacologist): 

“As a member-driven organisation, the BPS wants to make sure that the work we do primarily benefits its members. Therefore, we would like to encourage all members to get in touch and share their ideas and thoughts on how to shape future work of the BPS.  

We also invite members to join one of the many committees, subcommittees, and groups, such as our Finance, Clinical, Education, Engagement, or Meetings Committee, or the Early Career Pharmacologist Advisory Group (ECPAG). All committees are open to members of any career level or area of work, and involvement in these groups can help shape the projects we work on. As a member of ECPAG, for example, I have been involved in organising content for Early Career Members at Society Meetings and worked on public engagement projects.  

Opportunities to join our groups are posted on MyBPS throughout the year. I hope to see many more BPS members get involved in our groups and committees in 2024 to help shape the broad range of activities and projects we work on. 

The BPS would also like to further support the work of members by sharing it on social media, as well as publishing blogs and articles on current projects. We would also like to celebrate any recognition members receive for their work and also encourage members to apply for BPS awards. So please share your achievements with us – we would love to hear from you!” 

Tell us your thoughts 

The best way to let us know what you want the BPS to do for you is by getting in touch with the BPS team, who can make sure the right person sees your enquiry and that your voice is heard.  


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Published: 24 Apr 2024
By BPS Council

About the author

BPS Council

The British Pharmacological Society’s Council lead our mission to advance and promote the whole spectrum of pharmacology. Led by President Professor Sir Mark Caulfield, Council supports the BPS strategy, representing the voices of wider membership and working with BPS staff. 

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