Minutes of OCNS 2006 Board Meetings

Edinburgh, Scotland


July 17, 2006. Board meeting

Meeting called to order: ~3:45


Frances Skinner
Dennis Glanzman
Bill Holmes
Udo Ernst
Phillip Ulinski
Ranu Jung
Mark Van Rosssum
Todd Troyer
Christiane Linster
Alain Destexhe
Steven Schiff
Ken Whang
Ko Sakai
Mark Goldman
Christina Weaver
Susan Wearne

C. Linster: State of affairs

1. Main ongoing concerns: Finances, Officer turn-over, developing sense of community

Election of new officers

Do this first so that old/new officers have time to confer at meeting.
Bill Holmes will stay on as planned as new program chair
Alain Destexhe has another year as non-North American vice president
Other positions (not official officers) – grants/travel manager. Phil Ulinski will want to be replaced soon.

Candidates for new officers

President: Ranu Jung
Vice-president: Dieter Jager, Jean-Marc Fellous
Treasurer: Francis Skinner

President: Vote on motion to have Ranu Jung as new president: 13 yes, 1 no
Van Rossum: Concerns about whether bio-medical engineer is central to the field.
Schiff: What does it mean to be central to this broad meeting?

Erik De Shutter, Yuan Liu arrive.

Vice President

General discussion on role of Vice President. Should the vice-president position be considered as a president elect?
Troyer: My role has been less defined. As extra voice in discussion between officers. This less specified role has advantages, especially with two vice presidents. But president elect version has many advantages as well.
Linster: Perhaps we need to revisit by-laws.
Liu: Vice chair -> chair structure has worked well for Gordon conferences
Schiff: It’s important to keep an open meeting with many contributers.
De Schutter: If we elect a new Vice President now, this could interfere with any attempt to move to a president-elect structure.
Jung: We could have separate president-elect distinction, which could be fulfilled by a Vice President or not.
Skinner: Retaining multiple vice presidents is probably good for diversity.
Ulinski: Let’s discuss president-elect position after the election of the vice president.
General discussion of qualification of candidates for VP.
Jung: Jaeger said that his service on a NIH study section may take some time during first year.
Liu: Suggested criteria for election: Scientific leadership, dedication, administrative skills.
Vote for new VP: Jaeger 13, Fellous – 1


Nominee – Francis Skinner
De Schutter: Skinner is local organizer for next year. There is a conflict of interest between Treasurer and Local organizer.
Troyer: Could retain Larson-Prior for one more year if she is willing. Move to have Skinner as Treasurer-elect.
De Schutter: Would the nationality of the treasurer cause problems with banking, incorporation, etc.?
Liu: There may be a tax consideration when moving money.
Jung: I don’t think this is a problem.
De Schutter: Since Skinner will be treasurer-elect, we will have a year to sort out the details.
Vote to have Skinner as treasurer-elect: Yes 14, No 0.

Jung: Propose to have Linster as ex officio president position.
Linster: Old officers are now automatically on the board, so this is probably not necessary.

Election of new board members

Linster: By-laws say that board members automatically rotate off if they have not attended the meeting for two consecutive years. Some board members have also requested to leave. For this year: Asaf Keller, Mike Hasselmo, Barry Richmond, Mark Nelson. People that have been nominated and agreed to rotate on: Alex Dimitrov, Leslie Kay, Erik Fransen, Patrick Roberts.
Sakai: I would like to rotate off the board.
Linster: Jean-Marc Fellous also requested to rotate on if not elected VP. All these are good candidates. Also, Dimitrov has been suggested as new member of the program committee.
General discussion on size of the board: Large board may be too unwieldy. Outgoing officers are rotating onto board automatically, so new board members aren’t required. By-laws say board of 10 or more members. Large board has advantages of larger number of people involved, and input from broader cross-section of community.
General discussion of potential contributions of nominees.
Troyer: Need to consider questions of balance.
Liu: Suggested criteria for balance: Scientific, geographic, stage of career, gender.
Troyer: Should have more student/postdoc membership.
Linster: I will make an announcement tomorrow to request nominations of postdocs.

Next topic: proposal to hold meeting in Europe every second year

De Schutter: Should delay this change so have CNS in Europe in odd numbered years so as not to conflict with European neuroscience meeting which happens in even years.
General question about meeting finances.
Van Rossum: New Bernstein centers in Germany are possible sources of funding.
Jung: What about European funding?
Van Rossum: May have some funding from neuroinformatics initiatives.
Ernst: Will be very difficulty to get meeting support from foundations. Will only get Bernstein funding for meeting held in Germany.
Wearne: How much money do we need to raise?
Linster: Currently we get $2-6K from outside companies. NIMH grant is $38K.
Schiff: What about human frontiers?
Liu: They don’t do that type of funding.
De Schutter: Generally they do single meeting funding, or linked to some large network.
Ulinski: Given alignment with European neuroscience, this really won’t be an issue until 2009.
Jung: How much can we expect from local funding? Should notify applicants for those hosting meeting.
De Schutter: This depends on the meeting location. Much of the funding is at national level.
Liu: How much does each meeting cost?
Linster: About $100K.
Liu: Government funding is very tight. All money right now is going to R01s.
Glanzman: Some information about R13 mechanism for funding meetings. Usually max is 5 years. 15 year support for CNS is longest running supported meeting. Proposal are no longer reviewed study sections by scientific colleagues, but by program officers. This has devastated support for meetings. For NIH funding, it must be a US organizing committee and meetings must now be held in US.
Van Rossum: We need to track down where we spend money and look to see what we have to do if we don’t have grant.
Wearne: Still need to look for long-term funding. What about NSF?
Whang: Generally, NSF does not have standing support for meetings. NSF is interested in support for students/training. Focused on emerging areas.
Linster: Banquet usually costs about as much as entire grant.
Schiff: A greater need for local funding suggests that we may want to have a greater lead time for meeting proposals, perhaps two years in advance.
De Schutter: But can’t apply for local funds too far in advance.
Jung: Need to have guidelines for how much local organizers are expected to raise.
Ulinsky: Not sure we have any serious problem with finances overall.
Linster: Return to issue of European meeting every other year.
Ulinsky: European meetings have had more people, so bring in more money.
Liu: Given NIMH is unlikely to support meeting, should maybe talk to my institute or me in role of officer for international initiatives.
Whang: I am willing to sit down with officers of meeting to discuss possible financing at any time.
Liu: Still encourage you to put in a 5 year proposal. Ulinsky wrote an outstanding proposal last time. To submit will need to have NIH contact person – I volunteer. Will need to convince other program officers of value of meeting, not scientists. Need to emphasize benefits to US, health outcomes. Usually NIH only supports travel, invited speakers.

Motion: The board intends to hold meeting outside of North America every other year beginning with 2009. Yes – 14, No – 0.

Local organizer report – Van Rossum

Van Rossum: Will be brief and highlight some problems: Database has some problems with names; some people have paid but did not register over web; do to late financial arrangements; travel grant checks will not be handed out until Tuesday; Bower invitation was a surprise and we weren’t really notified.
Discussion of Bower invitation.
Linster: Made by program committee.
Jung: Better communication is needed.
Destexhe: Perhaps we should add banquet speaker as extra invited speaker.
Van Rossum: The way that this was handled was not right. Should have been discussed openly and much earlier.
De Schutter: Program committee was in a position where Bower was already contacted. Would have been difficult to then go back on this invitation. The whole question of finances was not worked out early enough.
Ulinsky: The money is not really a problem here.
De Schutter: Perhaps we should just see what the talk is like and move on.
Jung: How many registrations do we have for the meeting?
Linster: I think it is 398.

Linster: Business meeting tomorrow.

Adjourned at 5:11.

July 18, 2006. Business meeting

Called to order: ~3:30

Linster: Summary of state of CNS

Cannot stay with same plan for proceedings. Board and program committee have suggested that we go back to more open publishing as in past proceedings book, but book is too expensive. Proposal is to publish on the web. Suggestions?
Audience member: Perhaps a Wikipedia-like mechanism could be set up so that people can provide commentary on posted papers.
Troyer: There are many options for electronic publication. We’ve looked into it some, but if anybody has suggestion, we’re interested.
Linster: Meeting has long history of participation by young people. Board is discussing new members, so if there are any senior grad students or postdocs that would like to be involved in running the meeting, please see me.

July 19, 2006. Board meeting

Follows business meeting


Mark Goldman
Steven Schiff
Frances Skinner
Christiane Linster
Alan Destexhe
James Bednar
Susan Wearne
Udo Ernst
Dieter Jaeger
Phil Ulinsky
Ko Sakai
Christina Weaver
Bill Holmes
Todd Troyer
Dennis Glanzman
Yuan Liu

Linster: In response to request for postdocs for the board, got three responses.
Ingo Bojak – Swinburne, Australia. Does theory and EEG
Pablo Achard – Modeler, physicist, Belgium
Chris Christdolou – Neural coding, Cyprus. Is actually an assistant professor.

Board candidates discussed previously: Patrick Roberts, Leslie Kay, Erik Fransen, Jean-Marc Fellous.

Holmes: Program committee members. Alex Dimitrov and Michelle Rudolf have accepted. Are planning to ask Astrid Prinz, Peter Latham.

Schiff: Do we have anyone from under-represented countries?
Linster: This is an outreach opportunity.
Schiff: We really should pursue this.
Ulinsky: IBRO may have some mechanisms for this.
Destexhe: There are also contacts via the European computational neuroscience summer school.
Jung: There are opportunities in many communities.
Schiff: Should move on, but need to follow up on this.

Jung: Maybe we should just get one new postdoc this year.
Weaver: Pablo does work that is similar to mine.<
Troyer: Fellous was willing to serve as VP, and was interested in board membership if not VP. We should consider not asking him to be board member.

Proposal for new board members: Patrick Roberts, Leslie Kay, Jean-Marc Fellous, Ingo Bojak: Unanimously approved.

Program committee report – Holmes

Confmaster was better this year, although there are still a few tweaks to be made. Am working on a document for instructions.
Goldman: There was an initial document. What happened to that?
Linster: That early document has been incorporated and updated.
Holmes: The instructions need to be made proscriptive and detailed – more than guidelines.
Ernst: Perhaps the documents can be made available on web.
Jung: Does our web server provide a free share point? It is a mechanism for exchange of documents.
Ernst: There is also forum software that can do this.
Jung: We need to contact the company that hosts our site.

Holmes: Procedures and publications. Neurocomputing wants invited papers, low number of papers, unlimited length. Committee felt that low-threshold publication on the web was a better option.
Jung: What about the length of this paper. Some conferences use 3-page conference citation.
Holmes: The proposal was for ~6 page limit. Committee raised question about two rounds of review, and worried that this was pushing the good will of our referees. Some reviewers also complained that 3 pages wasn’t enough to evaluate. The proposal was to return to something like Baltimore. Submit a suggested 4-6 page paper, goes through one round of review to construct oral program. A shorter paper could get an oral presentation, but would have to provide enough information.
Wearne: Would this preclude publication elsewhere?
General discussion: Merits of different length submission. All abstracts will be published on web and hence citable, people can opt in to publish papers that will be consider conference proceedings papers. Decided that details can be sorted out later, including looking into indexing, electronic publication, etc.

Frances Skinner: Presentation of arrangements for CNS*2007 in Toronto

Schiff: Suggest work up budget numbers with low attendance, e.g. 250.
Goldman: If budget is good as it looks, we may be able to look into mechanisms by which a bit of investment could improve the quality of the meeting.
Holmes: What about the dates for the meeting?

Linster: Will announce new board members at banquet.
Jung: Don’t forget to request proposals for new meetings.

Destexhe: There has been a proposal to have a special issue in Journal of Computational Neuroscience with CNS papers. Plan is that a selected set of authors would be given a special invitation to submit to JCNS, and then go through formal process of review. No guarantees.
Wearne: Who would decide on which authors papers get invited?
Schiff: We would need an objective way of doing this.
Destexhe: The program committee is a natural place to handle this.
Linster: Last year we had a small special committee that gave awards for best presentation.

Adjourn at 5:13.