New Year's Address - SfL Chair
2018 was surely a year like no other before it in politics. We started it with hopes that a sensible Brexit deal might deliver for the UK’s research and development sector, but end it with a collapsing government and the looming prospect of a catastrophic no deal. We appear to have convinced the Labour Party of our position - that continued participation in the EU’s funding and regulatory bodies is vital to maintaining the UK’s world-leading position in research, but the government remains stubbornly resistant to the near-unanimous opinions of the STEM community.
Internally, Scientists for Labour has said goodbye to a number of valued members of our committee, especially Bobbie Nichols and John Unsworth whose leadership as Treasurer and Chair respectively for many years was much appreciated.
Our membership has also grown by 30% to 233, the largest increase in several years. Much of this is due to our addition of an ‘associate membership’ category in order to better represent young professionals within the organisation. We hope to continue to grow this, and have been set a target by the Party of reaching 500. Special thanks are also due to Lloyd James, who has revamped SfL’s website and integrated the membership joining form into it.
Congratulations are also due to members Pamela Buchan and Sina Lari, who were both elected councillor (in Plymouth and Kensington respectively) for the first time in May.
2019 will surely be a challenging year, both for the country and the Science and Technology sector. SfL will continue to make the case for continued membership of Euratom and access to Horizon 2020 and FP9, and support our members in the efforts to get more involved in the party.
When to hold our AGM is still to be decided - the current plan is to have the internal meeting in February or March as usual, but postpone the public meeting to later in the year, once the course of Brexit is clearer. Nominations for the executive committee will be taken in the month proceeding the meeting.
As ever, if you have any ideas or questions please get in touch. Happy New Year!
Ben Fernando (Chair)