Interview: J.-M. Nedelec, President of ISGS

This is an honour and a source of joy for me. I will try to do my best to serve the society and not betray the trust you all gave me through my election to the board in 2011.

This is not a task that someone can fulfil on their own. There are 9 other members on the board, and I count on every one of them for their strong support and commitment. Having known most of these people for a long time, I have no doubt that this will be the case. This also means sharing responsibilities while keeping the overall leadership to make sure the work is done. The president is a not an isolated man deciding things on his own, but only the leader of the team for a short while.

ISGS is now ten years old, still in its infancy but yet old enough to take a look back at the past years.

From a crazy idea of a very few, sometimes known as the “four mousquetaires”, the ISGS has proven to be a reality over the years. ISGS is nothing but the network connecting us all, scientists, industrial representatives and students using sol-gel chemistry on a daily basis. The Society exists for only one reason, or rather 1400 reasons: you!

It all started a bit like a club but year after year, thanks to the efforts of the past presidents and boards’ members, it turned into a professional body. Now we do have a fully working organization: an up-to-date website with a Facebook page and now a Twitter account (@SolGel_ISGS), an associated high quality scientific journal, the Journal of Sol-Gel Science and Technology published by Springer, a biennial international conference with growing success over time, summer schools for young scientists every year and much more to come…

Most of the work of the board is underground, and most of you do not know it in full detail. This is probably a good thing as only the result is important for you members. Nevertheless, as a president of ISGS, I would like to get you all involved in the life of our society. I will therefore, as I am doing right now writing these words, get in touch with you as often as possible in many kinds of way. Your opinion is crucial and our decisions as board members should be clearly taken, with this in mind. This search for transparency also includes financial aspects. ISGS is a non-profit organisation; we are all serving it as volunteers, on top of a generally very full work schedule. Everything was done in the past so that every single dollar spent by the ISGS was spent in a useful way for the benefit of the members. If profit is the not the goal of ISGS, money remains a necessary means for developing new actions and promoting sol-gel science and technology world wide. Our main income is related to memberships, directly or through conference registration; our goal in the coming years will be to increase the number of registered members. I will favour discussions with existing national sol-gel societies to reach agreements and increase the visibility of ISGS while maintaining the subsidiarity of the associated bodies.

The 2015 Sol Gel conference in Kyoto is a key opportunity to build much closer links with the Japanese Sol-Gel Society. This is just an example that should be multiplied over the years in all regions of the world.

Again ISGS is nothing without you, increasing the number of members is a clear objective but will be meaningless if we do not involve them in the life of the Society. I will do my best, with the other board members, to create opportunities for you to develop this sense of belonging and make ISGS truly yours.

ISGS has a bright future, it will be even brighter thanks to all of you.

Jean-Marie Nedelec
ISGS President