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MINUTES of the Genetics Society Annual General Meeting 2005

Held at the International Centre for Life, Newcastle on Saturday 7th May 2005 at 12.10 p.m.


The meeting was attended by 51 members including 8 members of the Committee. The President Jonathan Hodgkin chaired the meeting, and the minutes were recorded by the Honorary Secretary John Armour.

1. Minutes of the previous Annual General Meeting (Tuesday 16th March 2004) and matters arising

The minutes of the 2004 AGM had been posted on the Society’s web site for consultation by members. The meeting approved them as a true record for signing by the President. No matters arising were raised.

2. President’s Report

The President had no items to raise that were not covered in other parts of the meeting.

3. Honorary Treasurer’s Report

The Honorary Treasurer, Justin Goodrich, reported that the Society’s finances were in robust good health. Although a severe drop-off in income from the Society’s journals (Heredity and Genes and Development) had been expected, it had not yet occurred. As a result, despite efforts to increase charitable spending in line with increased income, the Society had returned a further surplus in 2004. The Treasurer invited members to take advantage of the many schemes for support of scientific activities available via the Society, including some (such as grants for fieldwork) that were relatively under-subscribed. He also invited members to propose new ideas, including new meetings, for support from the Society.

4. Executive Officer’s Report and Business for transaction

The election of new applicants to membership of the Society was held over for the Honorary Secretary (item 5c, below). Executive Officer Jayne Richards drew members’ attention to the forthcoming overhaul on the Society’s web pages. She invited members to give feedback on the new pages when they go live.

5. Honorary Secretary’s Report and business for transaction

(a) Honorary Secretary John Armour confirmed the announcement made in Genetics Society News that Olivier Voinnet had been elected to be the 2006 Balfour Lecturer.

(b) Similarly, he confirmed that Michael Ashburner was the winner of the 2006 Genetics Society Medal.

(c) A list of 248 applicants for membership was circulated at the meeting. No objections were raised to any of them becoming members. The proposal to admit them all to membership of the Society was put to a vote, and carried unanimously.

(d) The Honorary Secretary outlined the intention to explore modified procedures at future AGMs to allow the greater involvement of members, in particular those not attending the relevant scientific meeting, for example via electronic voting or other “remote” methods not requiring the physical presence of members. The Charity Commission would have to approve any modification to the Society’s constitution along these lines. At this AGM, the proposal was made that the committee should approach the Charity Commission about such modified procedures. If we obtained the approval of the Charity Commission, any such changes in procedure would then come back to the Society’s AGM for approval. When put to a vote, the proposal was carried by an overwhelming majority, with only a single vote against.

(e) Before electing new members to the Society’s committee, the Honorary Secretary expressed the thanks of the Society to outgoing committee members for generously giving their time and expertise to help the Society: Mike Bevan, Sarah Bray, Deborah Charlesworth, Lizzie Fisher and Hester Wain. The nominees to join the committee were Brian Charlesworth (President-elect), Hilary Ashe (area “A”), Ewan Birney (area “B”), Tanya Whitfield (area “C”) and Alison Dunn (area “D”). At a vote, their election to office was supported unanimously.

(f) The Honorary Secretary outlined why it had been necessary for the “Scheme” to be drawn up allowing the “trustee benefit” of indemnity insurance. The membership had been informed by email about this Scheme at the time, and no objections had been received. The formal approval of the AGM for the Scheme was sought, and no objections were raised.

6. AOB

No further issues were raised by the meeting. The President therefore thanked those present for their participation and closed the meeting.