In its 40 years of existence, CRS has held its annual scientific meetings in 11 different countries, and its presidents have come from five different countries (United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, and New Zealand). It has 15 local chapters spread in countries about the world and five student chapters. In the last four years, new chapters have commenced in Canada, China, and Malaysia, and we expect that in the near future a chapter will commence in Brazil. This year’s program team, which was responsible for the highly appreciated scientific program in Chicago, was chaired by Ick Chan Kwon (Korea) with deputy chair Justin Hanes from Johns Hopkins University. The program team had members from six different countries. So I think we can justifiably claim that we are a truly international organisation.
Our other claim is that we are a multidisciplinary society dedicated to delivery science and technology. This was readily apparent in this year’s meeting in Chicago, with plenary lectures and scientific sessions on a wide range of topics: process engineering, oral drug delivery, intracellular delivery, overcoming multiple biological barriers, advances in RNA and DNA delivery, nanoparticle-based delivery, transdermal delivery, controlledrelease applications in food, feed, and beverages, micro and nanoencapsulation, and predictive animal models for assessing longacting formulations for human and animal health. The creativity of attendees was stimulated by this complementary diversity and the networking opportunities the meeting generated.
Multidisciplinary diversity will be in evidence again at the 42nd CRS Annual Meeting, to be held in Edinburgh, Scotland, on July 26 – 29, 2015. The theme of that meeting will be “Creating Value Through Customised Delivery.” I look forward to seeing you there enjoying the science and the delights of Scottish hospitality and scenery—not to mention the haggis and bagpipes.
In an era of ever-increasing specialization, a challenge for CRS is to ensure that a multidisciplinary meeting has value that is greater than, or least different from, the value of highly specialised conferences. This is much like the challenge confronting emporiums such as Macy’s who must compete with specialty stores. And yet, compete they do. Since many of the creative opportunities in drug delivery exist at the interfaces between the complementary disciplines, we know that CRS has a visionary role to play in leading delivery science and technology. However, we also recognise the need for specialisation and for groups of like-minded CRS scientists to network. Our intention is to increase “bottom-up” driven networking by facilitating the formation of “communities of practice” at CRS meetings. Consequently, we believe that the annual conference will offer the best of all worlds: multidisciplinary networking and also networks of scientists who wish to discuss specific issues or problems in their area of delivery. Stay tuned for this development.
My year as president of CRS has been both enjoyable and rewarding. There is a theory about the performance of groups, including boards. According to Bruce Tuckerman’s model, groups first form, then storm, then normalise relationships, and finally perform at a high level. I am delighted to say that the board I had the privilege to chair in 2013–2014 reached the performing stage very quickly. I am extremely grateful to my fellow board members for the time and dedication they gave to CRS over the last year. Participation on the board level this year was strong, with an average attendance at our board meetings and telecons of 80%, even with the challenges of full schedules and managing time zones. I am also delighted that Art Tipton, the new president, chaired the first meeting of the new board in Chicago and that the new board seems to have skipped Tuckerman’s normal stages and gone straight to the performing level. I look forward to continuing to serve CRS in the coming year as past-president under Art Tipton’s leadership.