By Keith Fargo, Chief Scientific Officer
As we get ready for the 2022 Global CMT Research Convention, one of the most important events is the empanelment of a Scientific Program Committee, or SPC.
What does the SPC do?
In general, an SPC assists in the development of the scientific content for a convention. This is a broad remit, and may include things like weighing in on the overall structure (how much time is split between plenary sessions and breakouts? How long should individual presentations be?), the topics to be covered during the convention, and the speakers to be invited for each topic. But the responsibilities of the SPC extend only to the scientific program of the convention. More operational aspects, such as location and timing of the convention, ensuring that the venue has all needed equipment, etc., are handled by the foundation’s staff and volunteers.
What factors do the SPC members consider in building the scientific program?
The most important factor is always the strength of the science itself. The SPC may ask themselves which talks would be of high interest to the audience, what topics are most likely to generate discussion and collaboration, or what gaps in CMT research are the most important to address at this time to move the field forward. Since the 2022 Global CMT Research Convention is a world-wide affair, the SPC also looks for a variety of speakers from many different regions and countries. Finally, we ask the SPC to carefully consider speaker recommendations to ensure that we hear from a diverse set of perspectives, so as not to fall into the trap of inviting the same speakers that tend to be present at every CMT-related conference. Certainly, we will invite “big name” influential speakers, but progress in science demands also thinking outside-the-box and inviting new speakers with fresh ideas.
What factors does the Foundation consider when building the SPC?
The most important factor is finding and inviting members who are eager to commit to the work of building a world-class scientific program for the audience. As the stewards of the only annual global research convention focused entirely on CMT, we feel a tremendous responsibility to the CMT community to get it right, every time.
Furthermore, we look for a diverse set of members who have backgrounds and expertise in many different facets of CMT research. For example, the SPC this year:
- Has both bench and clinical scientists, ensuring a strong focus on translational research.
- Includes members who live in the United States, Europe, and Oceania. The committee has two Co-Chairs, one from the US and one from Australia.
- Boast 5 women and 4 men as members.
- Includes early-career, mid-career, and senior-level scientist.
- Represents major stakeholder groups, including academia, the biotech and pharmaceutical industries, government, and nonprofit research-funding organizations.
Presenting the 2022 Scientific Program Committee
We are humbled that they have agreed to join the committee this year, and grateful for the work they have already done and the remaining work they will do in preparing an engaging and stimulating conference that will advance progress toward ending CMT.