A new strategy for APS international affairs
Geographic distribution of APS Members. As of January 2018, 13772 of 55385 APS members were living outside the United States.
Physics is a worldwide effort and the American Physical Society (APS) enjoys partnerships with many national physical societies across the globe. Toward this end, the APS currently is working with the Società Italiana di Fisica (SIF) toward a Reciprocal Society Agreement, allowing members of both APS and SIF to register and present papers at each other’s meetings at member rates. APS also partners with the SIF toward the SESAME Travel Award Program that enables Middle Eastern scientists to receive training for using the SESAME synchrotron – a research facility that brings together scientists from Israel and Arab countries. Given the ongoing APS-SIF collaboration, it is a pleasure to share with SIF members the news of APS efforts to expand its international engagement.
The American Physical Society's membership reflects the international nature of physics, with nearly one quarter of its members living outside of the United States. Two-thirds of papers published in APS journals have corresponding authors with international affiliations and nearly one third of all APS March Meeting participants come from outside the United States, making it one of the largest and most internationally diverse gathering of physicists worldwide.
With the development of a new APS Strategic Plan: 2019, APS leadership decided it was time to take the Society's international efforts to the next level, and in March 2017, APS Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kate Kirby launched the APS Task Force on Expanding International Engagement. We appreciated the willingness of SIF President, Luisa Cifarelli, to serve on the Task Force and help APS to develop its new international strategy. The Task Force worked for nearly 18 months to understand the interests, concerns and priorities of all APS stakeholders and to identify goals and recommendations for APS leadership. The Task Force presented its Report, Recommendations, and Implementation Plan to the APS Council of Representatives in November 2018, and it was publicly released by APS in January 2019.
Based on discussions and feedback from APS members, leaders, and partners, the Task Force adopted two Guiding Principles that served as the foundations upon which their report and recommendations were built:
1) International partnerships strengthen the American Physical Society: expanded and strengthened partnerships with other national, regional or international physics organizations will enable APS to better serve the global physics community,
2) International collaboration strengthens physics in the United States: the U.S. physics enterprise benefits from international engagement with physicists worldwide.
The Task Force also identified four major goals for APS international engagement: 1) offer new and/or expanded ways to participate in the APS community, 2) integrate international affairs across all APS activities, 3) expand international opportunities for young physicists and better prepare young physicists for international careers, and 4) advance government policies that promote international scientific collaboration, with the full report giving recommendations to accomplish each goal, and an Implementation Plan that provides those pragmatic "next steps" for each recommendation.
By establishing the Task Force on Expanding International Engagement, APS launched an extraordinary effort to better serve the interests of all its stakeholders – members, national physics society partners, and physicists worldwide. The Task Force recommendations ranged from groundbreaking new initiatives to more moderate adjustments of the current directions or activities. The Task Force's overarching recommendation was that APS fully incorporate international engagement into all of the Society's activities. Doing so will not only benefit the APS members, but will also strengthen the Society's leadership in serving all physicists across the globe. We hope that SIF members will enjoy reading the report, and consider new ways our two societies may work together. We have appreciated the programs that have emerged through our past collaboration with SIF and we look forward to continuing and strengthening our partnership toward serving our shared physics community.
Homepage: Report from the APS Task Force on Expanding International Engagement.