25 No. 5
Column - Money Talks
Christoph F. Buxtorf
expression "money talks" is generally understood to mean that
wealth equals power. In the case of an organization like IUPAC,
contributors to the bottom line generally expect to receive
something in return.
recent years I have had several meetings with industry partners,
industry associations, and National Adhering Organizations
(NAOs). The discussions were mostly about money and they often
focused on a perceived mismatch between dues paid by the organization
in question and the benefits they receive in return. In 2002,
some of our NAOs participated in a Financial Working Group,
which addressed issues around National Subscriptions. The
ensuing discussion, which often focused on the benefits that
members of IUPAC receive, was an "eye
. . some members and partners of IUPAC do not completely
understand or appreciate the benefits that they receive.
IUPAC has obviously not fully recognized this issue.
for all participants. The meeting made clear that some members
and partners of IUPAC do not completely understand or appreciate
the benefits that they receive. IUPAC has obviously not fully
recognized this issue.
IUPAC, the dissatisfaction over member benefits is compounded
by the fact that funding is becoming more and more difficult
to obtain. The worldwide economic downturn has and will continue
to have an impact on government and industry funding of international
science organizations. Science-driven organizations have the
tendency to focus most of their efforts on inside issues and
neglect the problems and needs of their partners who operate
in an ever-changing world.
must recognize that industry functions more and more using
its own resources and through powerful trade organizations.
In addition, IUPAC has serious competition from new international
science organizations, which have become active in "our traditional
fields." Therefore, we need to become much more alert in recognizing
and anticipating change inside and outside our established
area of science. The revised strategic plan is a step in this
my professional life has been spent in industryduring
which time I have experienced acquisitions, mergers, spin
offs, and many strategic plansI have finally realized
that the only stable element in our world today is change.
The worldwide economic downturn may be over in some months,
but life afterwards will be different. So we will have to
revise our goals with timenothing will remain constant.
quick look at our financial performance shows little movement
on the capital bottom line. However, many changes on the expense
and income side have to be carefully controlled. We definitely
have to sharpen our pencils.
certainly need to appreciate the huge amount of work performed
by the many volunteers and enthusiasts in our organizationin
the divisions and standing committees. Without their dedication
and enthusiasm our work could not be financed.
have further realized that change in a mature organization
such as IUPAC is not easy, but we have made good progress
with our project-driven approach to solving scientifically
relevant problems. We constantly have to reassess our needs.
Do potential projects make a difference in our quest to advance
worldwide chemistry? And we need to listen to the world outside
of IUPAC. We may have to make tough choices in the future
and there will be disagreements about priorities, but if we
listen to the needs of our partners in the world of chemistrymoney
F. Buxtorf <email@example.com>
is the current treasurer of IUPAC. He is retired from Novartis
Crop Protection where he was head of the Production and Technology
Division and a member of the Executive Committee.
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