Membership Structure

Background to the Membership changes.

Review of the Society membership structure was initiated in 2010 alongside the updating of the Society structures and charitable objectives.  Since 2010, we have conducted extensive benchmarking exercises, discussions, including consultation with the entire Membership in a variety of ways to ensure that we understood as fully as possible what you wanted from your Membership.  We published our completed outline for the new structure in the June 2014 Edition of the Auger and received broad acceptance of the rationale and correspondence complimenting the new structure.

Changes to the membership structure were unanimously voted in by the Society’s Annual General Meeting in Manchester on Wednesday 3rd September 2014.

Objectives of changes to the Membership structure.

  • Streamline categories to meet primary membership demands
  • Introduce new categories where demand has been identified
  • Achieve consistency across honorary status awarded by the Society
  • Deliver opportunities for continuing professional development for all members
  • Deliver opportunities of membership progression within the Society
  • Deliver opportunities to interested and lay people to join the Society
  • Reduce and streamline the administrative load with an associated reduction in costs
  • Demonstrate that the majority of membership represents the profession of soil science in the UK, which in turn provides;
    • Added weight to consultation responses
    • Added weight to activities of, and statements from, the Society
    • Increase the scope to give expert advice
    • Improve the scope to provide and support training, education and CPD in soil science
    • A stronger position from which BSSS could seek Royal Charter status (if desired in future).

The new BSSS Membership Structure.

The new Membership structure is laid out below with the arrows indicating that members can move between categories reflecting interest, qualifications and career stage. 

Descriptions of the new BSSS Membership Categories.

There will be nine categories of Membership from 1st January 2015. Please note that RSci Tech is a work in-progress with the aim have this active by mid-2015.

Student Membership. This is open to all bona fide students registered at UK institutions and studying soil science or related scientific subject at Undergraduate, Masters and PhD level.

Technical. This is open to skilled and experienced technical or administrative staff engaged in soil science research, development or application within academic institutions, government, charities, NGO, commercial organisations or other similar organisations and who do not meet Full Members or do not want to avail themselves of the Full Members benefits.

Associate. This is a non-corporate Membership which is open to all those with an interest in Soil Science or related subjects.

Full. Open to experienced scientists and other professionals with a background in soil science including associated disciplines e.g. pedology, pedometrics, microbiology, physics, chemistry, biology etc. The membership qualification is a recognised honours degree followed by a minimum of 5 years suitable professional experience with adherence to a number of competencies throughout their professional lives, using a combination of knowledge, training and experience. Graduates with non-honours degrees or honours degrees in other subjects with non-soils bias may be eligible though would normally be required to have at least 7 years suitable experience. A Full Member is entitled to use the suffix M.I. Soil Sci.

Fellow. BSSS Council recommends the award of Fellow to members who have achieved an important level of responsibility and professional experience with national/international recognition within the profession. The candidate would normally have been a Full Member for >5 years.  A Fellow is entitled to use the suffix F.I. Soil Sci.

Honorary Membership. This is awarded to persons who have made a distinguished contribution to soil science and the Society. Persons will have been a Full Member of the Society for at least 10 preceding consecutive years and/or made an exceptional contribution to the objectives of the Society. Honorary Members of the Society are elected a majority of those voting at a General Meeting following recommendations by Council. Members may submit recommendations for Honorary Members at any time for consideration by Council.

Summary table outlining benefits of each Membership category.