Welcome to the last Eye to the Horizon newsletter of the year, and my last as Chair of the Early Careers Committee, before I formally hand over to Danni Roche. I have been involved with the committee since I started my PhD back in 2017 (so it has been a while!) as a member and then co-chair before taking over in July 2021. Being part of the BSSS EC committee has certainly been one of the highlights of my career to date, particularly in such a changing landscape for soil science in the UK and across the globe. This is reflected in our membership with Early Career membership of the society now at 290 members, which makes up 31% of the Society’s membership.
During my time on the committee, we have worked hard to provide value to EC members and to support your development as early career soil scientist. Although there are many more achievements than what is listed below, in my time on the committee we have::
- listened to your ideas, wants and needs as members to drive our actions as a committee;
- delivered (soon to be) three Early Careers Conferences;
- produced resources to support the learning and development of members, which are available in the Members’ Area of the website;
- buried a time capsule to be unearthed for the Society’s 100-year anniversary with highlights from you;
- represented your views and needs on the BSSS Council to ensure that you are at the forefront of the Society’s agenda;
- hosted networking and social events during the World Congress of Soil Science 2022,
- started and continued to run an X (formally Twitter) account to engage with members;
- published a newsletter specifically for Early Career Members tailored to you;
- pushed for changes to the Early Career category of membership to be more inclusive for all Early Career Soil Science professionals across academia and industry, from undergraduate students through to 5 years post-qualification;
- ensured that, as of January 2024, there will be greater support for the transition of Early Career members who have undertaken extended academic research on soils as part of a PhD to Full Membership after 2 years of professional experience, which aligns with other environmental societies in the UK; and
- planned even more for next year…
Our Early Careers Conference in Belfast this December has been in the works for the past year, with the Committee and Office working hard to provide a range of workshops and networking opportunities for you, as well as an opportunity to hear about all of the work that you are doing through oral and poster presentation. We look forward to welcoming many of you there!
I am proud to have worked alongside a great bunch of early career scientists and the BSSS office and executive team to support all of our Early Careers Members. This year we have said goodbye to Luke Wardak, Matt Barker and Rupert Goddard, but also welcomed Danni Roche, Jess Potts, Jay Ryan and Christina Van Midden to the committee. There is always the opportunity to get involved and if you are interested in joining the committee then please get in touch with the BSSS office.
Finally thank you to you – our early careers members – for all your continued engagement and involvement. You will be in good hands moving forwards and I have every confidence that Danni and the committee will continue to plan and deliver lots of value for your membership fees – there are exciting plans for next year already in the works! I wish you all the best for your future careers, wherever they take you.