The Committees behind the Annual Scientific Meetings

Authored by: Phil Chadwick

Published on: Aug 05, 2013

Editor’s note: BEMS members will soon be voting upon a Constitutional amendment to revise some aspects of the Technical Program Committee that was proposed at the recent Annual Business meeting.  The text in this article refers to what is currently done.


Listening to the discussions in Thessaloniki about the meeting program, and talking to people in coffee breaks, I got the feeling that it might be useful to explain a little how the meeting comes about and who is involved at each stage.  Because our meetings are convened jointly with EBEA, we have had to define this a little better than we have in the past. This is because we need to make sure both Societies participate equally and because we need to find a way of working that suits the character of EBEA as well as BEMS. We spent some time in 2012 and 2013 working with colleagues in EBEA on this, and what I describe below are the arrangements in place for 2014. Of course, they may evolve in the light of experience as we get into the rhythm of annual joint meetings.


The work is divided between two groups: the Local Organising Committee, responsible for making the physical meeting happen, and the Technical Program Committee, which draws up the program.


The Local Organizing Committee is chaired by the Local Organizer.  Its other members are the Local Organizer from the previous year (to provide continuity and experience), the Local Organizer for the following year (to gain experience), the Treasurers of the two Societies (to ensure good financial oversight), and local expertise invited by the LOC Chair to help organize the meeting on the ground. For BioEM2014 in Cape Town the Local Organizing Committee consists of:

  • Marnus van Wyk (Local Organizer 2014 & Chair)
  • Theo Samaras (Local Organizer 2013)
  • Rich Nuccitelli (Local Organizer 2015)
  • Andrew Wood (BEMS Treasurer)
  • Niels Kuster (EBEA Treasurer)


Geographically-local LOC members invited by Chair to help with the local arrangements


The Technical Program Committee has two tasks: to draw up an outline program 12-18 months before the meeting with plenaries, workshops, tutorials etc in place and then a few months before the meeting to issue the call for abstracts, review all the submissions and assemble them into a coherent final program of platform and poster sessions.  The review of submitted abstracts has to be done by a large group with wide experience, quite possibly including people from outside the Societies if there are specialist sessions that require reviewing expertise beyond biolectromagnetics (for example, oncologists if we have a session on cancer). The rest of the work requires a smaller and more focused sub-group/steering committee.  This smaller group consists of the current TPC co-Chairs (who are ultimately responsible for delivering the program) and, to assist them and to provide additional expertise and experience, the TPC co-Chairs for the previous and following meetings. For BioEM2014 it is:


  • Theo Samaras (EBEA TPC co-Chair 2014)
  • Phil Chadwick (BEMS TPC co-Chair 2014)
  • Meike Mevissen & Carmela Marino (2013 TPC co-Chairs)
  • Niels Kuster & Tom Vernier (2015 TPC co-Chairs)


This smaller group will consult with others, as needed, to enhance its expertise, and also ask the members of both Societies to propose ideas for the program.


When it comes to reviewing submitted abstracts, a wider Technical Program Committee consisting of the BEMS Board, the EBEA Council, and others (as necessary to provide sufficient expertise), will act as an editorial board to assign submitted papers to particular reviewers.


There is also an ad hoc steering group for meetings that considers matters of broad policy at Society level. This consists of officers from the two Societies, plus the Local Organizer and TPC co-Chairs