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President's message to members

A message from Jonathan Flint CBE FInstP, President of the IOP, to all IOP members.

I hope you have had a relaxing summer, despite the continuing exceptional circumstances caused by Covid-19. I want to wish you all well with new school and university terms and, for some of our members in industry, a return to the workplace. I know the turmoil over exam grades has made the summer a difficult one for schools and universities, and the autumn term brings the new challenge of keeping students, pupils and staff safe while returning to some face-to-face teaching.

Workplaces are having to incorporate social distancing or additional protection into daily routines to enable employees to return safely, and I know these new ways of working may take some time to adjust to. These include places where our staff teams are based around the UK and in Ireland. The IOP’s London headquarters will open to some staff from mid-September but will remain closed to members and the public until the end of the year.

I am pleased that over 3,000 people took part in 40 online IOP events this year, including a few multi-day, parallel session conferences with poster sessions and exhibitions. We are working with members to plan events for next year, which will be hosted in our IOP Kings Cross building or other venues across the nations and regions, if possible. If restrictions remain in place, these events will be held online or may be a hybrid of physical and online.

Despite these continuing restrictions, this autumn is an exciting time for the IOP. As well as continuing to support our members manage the response to Covid-19, our Executive team is busy working to implement our five-year strategy, including our particular emphasis on improving diversity in physics and the inclusion of under-represented groups in the physics community:

  • Next month we will launch our first public influencing campaign which aims to encourage and support young people from a wider range of backgrounds into studying physics after the age of 16.
  • We are also starting a programme to ensure today’s physics ecosystem is fit to fully contribute to our economy and society. This includes ensuring physics offers a supportive and welcoming environment for everyone. 
  • We will undertake the review of our governance structures and the way in which members engage with our organisation, which Council mandated earlier this year, with a focus on ensuring members from all backgrounds feel heard and represented at all levels. 
  • We will also review how the IOP recognises and rewards achievement within the physics community.

All of this activity will involve engagement with our members, non-members, organisations and individuals in other settings, inside and outside STEM. We recognise our members and others have much to contribute to this important work, which has been a long-standing goal of the IOP. More details on all these initiatives will come in the next few weeks.

Once again, I wish you well in what remains an unprecedented and often challenging environment. I hope to see you at our Annual General Meeting, or virtually at one of our many online events. The AGM will be held online at 2pm on Tuesday September 8th. A notice for that meeting has been sent out separately to members.

Best wishes,

Jonathan Flint CBE FInstP
President of the IOP