2013 Candidate for President: Philip Chadwick, United Kingdom

PHILIP CHADWICK was born near Manchester, in England, and now lives and works in Wales. He was awarded a Bachelor of Science Degree with Honours in Physics from the University of Leeds in 1984.  His  PhD, awarded by the University of Wales in 1991, was in the assessment of human body composition using magnetic induction.  He has worked in the assessment of exposure of people to electromagnetic fields for over twenty five years, spending eleven years at the UK’s National Radiological Protection Board, specialising in exposure assessment and dosimetry, and four years in the Department of Health’s Radiation Unit working on EMF public health policy.
He is currently Director of EM Fields Ltd,  an independent scientific research and consultancy organisation specialising in the interaction of electromagnetic fields with people. EM Fields undertakes a wide range of work for the UK Government, schools, local authorities and businesses in the UK  and around the world as well as having its own scientific research programme.  He is also Chief Executive Officer of MCL Technology Ltd, a company  manufacturing products and systems for RF exposure assessment.
Philip Chadwick is Chair of the European EMF standards committee CENELEC TC106X, and a member of numerous other CENELEC and IEC subcommittees. He is also a Member of the Institute of Physics and a Chartered Physicist.
He has been a member of BEMS for 21 years, and was Secretary from 2007 to 2010 and Treasurer from 2010 to 2013. He is a member of the Local Organising Committee and Technical Programme Committee for BioEM2013.

Mission Statement
BEMS has been through a lot of changes in the last two years.  Those changes were necessary for the continued survival of our Society and I am proud of my role in helping to bring them about.  The role of the President has changed also: it is much less ceremonial than it used to be and the position now consists of three distinct consecutive jobs. If elected, this is the way I would see my work developing:  

•    The incoming Vice-President, as Chair of the Development Committee, is expected to initiate new policies and lead on strategies for the future development of the Society. This part of the job needs someone with experience and knowledge of our immediate past history and the challenges we face, and the ability to hit the ground running and make the most of their one year as an ideas-person.  

The other main role of the Vice-President is to fund-raise for the Annual Scientific meeting; 25 years in EMF in varied roles mean that I have very good contacts with potential sponsors in both industry and governmental/non-governmental sectors in many counties of the world. As BEMS Treasurer and a member of the Local Organising Committee, I have been very much involved with fundraising for BioEM2013.

•    Once the mantle of President is assumed, the job shifts to being the Chief Elected Officer, and focusses more on management and leadership; the ability to initiate policy is more limited and a successful President will use this year to consolidate work they did as VP whilst ensuring that the society is run to the highest professional standards with no single part of our membership being favoured over any other. This part of the job requires someone with detailed knowledge of the way that the BEMS management systems now work and an understanding of the currents that are pulling our Society in various directions.  

•    Year 3, as Past-President, is all about knowledge transfer, gentle guidance and the sharing of experience with newer members of the Board. This role also covers corporate governance – making sure that everything the Board does continues to meet the rather stringent legal and ethical requirements of running a non-profit organisation in the 21st Century. Part of that is making sure that there are defined roles for all Board members and that everyone knows what is expected of them in their three years in office.

I have three broad strategies that I would pursue if elected, and I would seek to initiate action on these immediately, with a view to seeing them through to completion within 3 years.

1. Outreach
The Society must broaden its geographical horizons.  Closer co-operation with EBEA on meetings is a good thing, but there is a danger that by not widening that process we are reinforcing a perception that BEMS is a US-European organisation. We should now be talking to colleagues in other parts of the world to try to make BioEM meetings into truly world meetings, with organisation and participation by bioelectromagnetics societies and groups in Asia and elsewhere.  The decision to hold BioEM2014 in Africa is a welcome first move in this direction.

My strategy would be to use around $75k that we have been able to put aside from our operating funds, due to better financial management in the last 2 years, specifically for outreach. This may involve inviting colleagues from Asia and other parts of the world to come and talk to us; it may involve going and talking to them. We also need to work harder to identify suitable Board and Officer candidates from outside the US and Europe, and to make sure that once on the Board they are able to contribute fully. This may well mean developing systems of working that are not so familiar to anglophones.

I also propose that we investigate a system of scholarships to support early-career researchers from countries in which we do not have a strong presence to attend our Scientific  Meetings, as we currently do for students.

2.  The Heart of the Society
We have recently spent a lot of time improving the management of  BEMS, but we have  not spent much time thinking about where we are going in the medium-to-longer term. My view is that currently we lack a vision for what we want the Society to be, and that people renew membership mainly from loyalty (thank you).  I can't claim to have an immediate answer to this, but I do think it is something we need to work on with utmost urgency. Michael Murphy updated our Long-range Plan in 2010 and I believe that there are many suggestions in there that we now need to take forward. My strategy would be to restart the Long-range Planning Committee, widening its membership to include voices from outside the Board, and to ask it to devise the first draft of an action plan for defining the Society's future. I would aim to present this plan to the Annual Business Meeting in June 2014 for wider discussion.

In addition I would restart the debates we had in 2011-12 on communications, both between the Society and its membership and also peer-to-peer communications. We developed some ideas under Joachim Schüz's presidency on this and also on how to develop our Newsletter, which I see as the glue that holds us together, but which I also think needs investment of cash and ideas to freshen it up. We had a Task Group on this, led by Meike Mevissen, which consulted widely and reported its findings to the Board in 2012. These findings should be updated, organised and used as the basis for the new initiative.

What you won't find here is a vision for how I would change the scientific direction of the Society, or a promise to promote or demote any part of the wide spectrum of interests, views and activities that are represented at our Annual Scientific Meeting.  In fact the Board never really discusses the underlying science at all, and decisions on the Annual Scientific Meeting are made by the Technical Programme Committee. I don't believe that one person, even the President, should try (or should be able) personally to influence the direction of our Society. That could lead to the instability of an almost annual change in direction. We have spent too many years worrying about which tribe people belong to and not enough time working to ensure that we have a viable Society  - and that is a luxury that we cannot afford at the moment. My view is that we should seek to get the hardest-working and most effective people onto the Board, make sure that the people on the Technical Programme Committee can deliver a balanced and interesting programme, whatever their individual views on the science, and we should trust them to get on with that job.

3.  Membership
It looks as if the membership figures for 2013 will be similar to those for 2012, or possibly slightly better. Compared to the steady 50+ losses we have seen year-on-year for the last few years this is a big improvement. We did this by taking some simple steps to try to get back people who lapsed and by encouraging some non-members to join. Membership must be our number one priority for the future, and I believe that once we have answered a little better the “what is the society for?” question, and started the outreach programme, this will start to turn around. However, that is not enough; currently we do have a committee charged with coming up with new ideas to encourage membership, but it has not been active. As Vice President I would make this committee very active indeed, and again I would report back on progress to the 2014 Annual Business Meeting.

Last but by no means least we must continue with our support for students to attend our Annual Scientific Meetings, and we must do all that we can to encourage them to be the next generation of BEMS members. I have an idea for a student Board member, elected each year at the Annual Scientific Meeting following a student hustings.

As you can see, there is plenty we can be doing to get BEMS in great shape for the future. If elected I will work as hard as I can to get it under way as fast as I can. Anyone who has worked with me will know that I get things done, and now more than ever in the history of our Society is the time when we need to get things done.

And, if I am elected and fail to deliver on my promises, I fully expect to be asked to answer to you, the members of BEMS!