Margaret A. Lawson

Continue to provide a place for cutting-edge science." "Develop more interactive sessions." "Regroup sessions around themes." "Offer professional collaboration with students." "Schedule more networking events throughout the meeting." "Streamline the approach on acceptance criteria for topics, presentations, and papers." "Integrate more effectively academia, industry, and government."

These comments are just a sampling of what we have learned from our members about our Annual Meeting Scientific Program.

One member noted, "Let us continue to do the good things and revise the others." Well said.

The IFT Annual Meeting Scientific Program will continue to "do the good things," by playing a critical role in IFT’s ability to serve member needs, exhibiting sound science leadership, and maintaining a large and welcoming professional community while supporting other essential IFT programs.

The IFT Annual Meeting + Food Expo® has proven successful over the years as the result of periodic and timely changes in the Scientific Program development process and the expertise of dedicated Annual Meeting Committee member volunteers. It is in this conscientious spirit of timely and periodic assessment and a commitment to the needs of our members that an Annual Meeting Scientific Program Task Force was formed to revitalize and reinvigorate the Scientific Program.

The task force—consisting of IFT volunteer leaders and staff, the 2005 chairs of the various Scientific Program committees, and the current and incoming Technical Presentations Committee chairs—was charged with identifying a new and innovative approach to selecting, planning, and coordinating the IFT Annual Meeting Scientific Program. Task force members were asked to help develop a dynamic Scientific Program that engages the experts, enhances its quality, and augments its effectiveness for all IFT stakeholders.

The task force identified critical deliverables and outcomes for the planning process, focusing on reorganization for sound science leadership and incorporating member feedback into all aspects of the Scientific Program. On October 24, 2005, the IFT Executive Committee unanimously accepted the task force’s recommendations. Planning efforts are well underway for a very successful and rewarding 2006 IFT Annual Meeting + Food Expo.

After review of previous IFT Scientific Program statistics and review of feedback from all IFT active stakeholders, the task force recommended four themes for the 2006 Scientific Program. The themes and their team leaders are Bioterrorism—Food Defense (LeeAnne Jackson), Nutraceutical Ingredients/Foods (Guy Johnson), Globalization (Ann Hollingsworth), and Allergens (Roger Clemens).

The team leaders have been charged with developing and coordinating their theme along with other active IFT member volunteers. They will participate in evaluating proposed programming and help determine how approved programming is organized within each theme.

Division representatives and the task force will have a collective influence on the technical content for the entire Scientific Program. Divisions will have flexibility to develop and present strong proposals for several types of sessions, including symposia, technical research papers, and New Products & Technologies sessions.

A new online abstract tool will facilitate the collection, ranking, and scheduling of technical content. The Technical Presentations Committee will have the increased responsibility to ensure that the selected abstracts are not only particularly strong but also demonstrate relevance and significance to members, innovation, and solid science.

Key dates are as follows:
Mid-November 2005: The call for Symposium abstracts; Technical Research Paper (Oral & Poster) abstracts; and New Products & Technologies abstracts opens.

January 2, 2006: The call for Symposium abstracts and Technical Research Paper abstracts closes.

February 1: The call for New Products & Technologies abstracts closes.

January 23: Division chairs and representatives complete review and ranking of their Division Symposium abstracts.

March 1: The full Scientific Program schedule will be posted on the IFT Web site.

April: The Annual Meeting Scientific Program Task Force will meet to prepare recommendations on the process for delivering the Scientific Program in 2007 and beyond.

All of the IFT volunteers and staff who participated in this process are committed to showcasing premier food science research at our prestigious meeting. I am confident that this new and innovative framework for our Scientific Program will benefit all IFT member stakeholders.

by Margaret A. Lawson,
IFT President, 2005–06 
Technical Services Manager, T. Hasegawa USA, Cerritos, Calif. 
[email protected]