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Have your say on the IOP’s member structure and benefits

Image: Shutterstock/Kudryashka

This week we’re writing to all our members asking for comments on proposed changes to our membership framework and offer.

The framework and offer we are proposing is the result of conversations over recent months with different sections of our membership, ranging from those in our nations and branches, groups, committees and student networks. What we know is that, in common with many learned societies and professional bodies, we’re facing some challenges and need to find solutions.

Many of the children beginning their study of physics this year at 14 years old will be retiring in 2070. We cannot predict what physics will look like then, but we know for sure that it will be even richer than it is today, just as international, and even more interdisciplinary.

Professional and learned societies have always had a special role in helping to shape the future of scientific disciplines, and the IOP is no exception. As one of the world’s leading societies, our organisation will, if anything, play an even more fundamental role than we do today.

The uniqueness of the Institute is that it is able to view the whole life-cycle across physics and all its interactions. That starts with those in primary and secondary schools, through further and higher education, to industry and the wider impact of science on government policy. Because of this, it is important that the IOP is inclusive and welcomes members from across these different parts of the community, and encourages active participation in delivering the outcomes we want to achieve. We cannot do that without the support of a committed, engaged and diverse membership.

If we are to appeal to the community then the value of membership must be clear – much clearer than it is at present – across each of our categories. Membership must be fit for purpose for today’s physicists, and for where the discipline is heading. We must have a membership framework that is free from barriers to participation, which is relevant for whatever stage of career someone is at, or wherever they find themselves.

With all of this in mind, our consultation process will help us to better understand the needs and desires of our members, and those in the wider physics community.

We’ve done this through workshops, face-to-face meetings, surveys and research groups. We’ve heard the views of early-career physicists, technicians and teachers in order to understand why they are poorly represented in our membership and we have listened to the views of those in academia and industry.

This has helped us to shape a new framework supported by a value based offer to members at different stages of their career that includes tangible benefits and professional recognition through registrations, chartership and fellowship.

We now want to consult the physics community so we can hear opinions from across the broad spectrum of all those who are part of our organisation – and also from those who aren’’t, but could be. We hope you will participate by responding to the consultation and survey to make sure that your views are heard.

  • The IOP survey on proposed changes to the membership structure and on the services the Institute provides to its members is open to all. Please take a moment to let us know your views via the IOP website.
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Rachel Youngman

Rachel Youngman

Rachel Youngman is the IOP's chief operating officer
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