July 10, 2015

SBJ President Katsuya GomiI am Katsuya Gomi from the Graduate School of Agricultural Science, Tohoku University, and greatly honored to be appointed as the president of the Society for Biotechnology, Japan (SBJ) this year.

SBJ is a representative society for biotechnology in Japan which successfully celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2012 under the leadership of our ex-president, Professor Satoshi Harashima, and then has started properly to step forward to the coming 100th anniversary.

When I joined SBJ about 30 years ago, the Society was a small one; however, because of recent tremendous advances in biotechnology fields, the Society has become bigger as judged from the fact that the number of Society’s members exceeds 3,000 and more than 750 papers are presented at the annual meeting. In this regard, I feel tense in charge of the president of this long-established Society, but I will devote myself for the next two years on the further development of the Society with kind cooperation of all the Society’s members and directors.

As mentioned above, although our Society has started smoothly to step toward its 100th anniversary, the circumstance surrounding the Society is gradually becoming severe. Based on this situation, during the past two years, our Society has endeavored to improve its current status under the powerful leadership of the former president, Professor Kenji Sonomoto, according to the three major missions and seven important tasks advocated. The missions are as follows;

  1. Securing of financial capital to maintain the SBJ’s operations (fiscal consolidation)
  2. Planning the new system as a “Public Interest Corporation” (establishment of a suitable donation system) and
  3. Enhancing the interaction among members from different age bracket and profession.

Besides these missions, following seven tasks were advocated;

  1. Planning of new activities of SBJ (enforce smooth communication between head and branch offices),
  2. Promotion of industry-university cooperation (facilitation of the translation of science into products),
  3. Contribution to the local communities (planning of regional alliances symposium),
  4. Aggressive public relations of business activities and member services (further promotion of electronic information system, enhancement of Japanese journal [Seibutsu-kogaku Kaishi]),
  5. International exchange and promotion of international development (improvement of SBJ’s presence, enhancement of English journal [JBB]),
  6. Promotion of educational activities among students in the biotechnological industry (Human resource education such as industry-university cooperation), and
  7. Promotion of the active role of young members in the management of the Society (executive officers with a young member as their assistant).

In particular, fiscal consolidation of the Society is the most important and urgent issue to maintain and further enhance the Society activity in the next 10 years. Hence, considerable efforts have been made to reform the financial condition, for instance, the reduction of meeting expenses and remuneration for editors, the raising of publication charges of the journal, and so on, which could lead to achieving the fiscal consolidation temporarily. However, there are several tasks that would be required to expand the budget for further activation of the Society activity. In addition, it would be difficult to foresee a future change of a situation surrounding the Society, and thus we must constantly examine the financial issues in future.

While serving as a vice president to support the former president in the executives, I  worked hard on these missions that should be achieved. Nevertheless, we could not necessarily achieve all of the aims in the short term of two years. I do recognize that the Society members are expecting me to accomplish the important missions by succeeding the policy of the former president and to make an effort to strengthen the status of the Society for its future development toward the 100th anniversary and further next ages.

Therefore, I do not daringly propose a new basic policy or missions as the new executive board, but I endeavor to do my best to achieve the aims that remain on three major missions and seven tasks which were envisioned in the former executives during the next two years. For these purposes, the newly appointed executive board members will make an effort to accomplish these missions and tasks effectively by active arguments under the unique administration system constructed in the former executives (integrated general affairs and account office; plural directors system for the respective duties, etc.).

Finally, needless to say, it is not possible that SBJ can develop steadily without the cooperation of its members and the secretariat. I would like to ask for the understanding and cooperation of all the members of the Society. In addition, I sincerely appreciate it if I can have your kind opinions and advice.

The Society for Biotechnology, Japan
Katsuya Gomi

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