From the President

It’s coming up! Only three more months to get ready for the 26th Congress of the European Society of Biomechanics! Francesco Migliavacca and his team are working hard to make this a wonderful event. It will not be the meeting that the Milan team had envisioned to organize when they submitted their bid to the ESB Council a few years ago. In view of the continuing constraints related to the covid-19 pandemic we won’t be meeting at the premises of Politecnico di Milano. Instead, the meeting will be held completely online. The atmosphere of an online meeting will differ from a meeting in Milan; no doubt about that. Yet, be assured that the scientific quality will be high and that the social aspects are not forgotten. For one, the review process has been identical to the one that has established itself in the previous years. Second, the organizers have worked out a system that stimulates interactive live discussion of the presented work, opening up novel opportunities to participate. And third, for ESB 2021 specific actions are being developed to enhance social interaction. Hence, even though being in a virtual environment, I’m confident that ESB 2021 will be an exciting edition in our series of annual meetings! I wholeheartedly invite you to register for this scientifically stimulating and socially engaging conference.

Having an online meeting instead of a physical meeting is only one of the many changes we have been experiencing over the last year. The covid-19 pandemic has forced us to re-think beliefs and habits that we have held for granted for long; I’m sure that all of you had to re-invent at least part of your normal daily routines. What does this mean to the ESB? Does corona affect the actions of the ESB?
Let me start by sharing that the ESB is a strong society, supported by more than 1’500 members, in good financial health, and managed by a dedicated council working with well-defined procedural rules; it can take a hit. The council considers the ESB as a society by members, for members; that is inclusive, providing equal opportunities to its members; and that scientific excellence is at the heart of the society. Yet, are its actions the most optimal ones? Answering these questions requires to go back to basics. What is it that the ESB aims to achieve? According to the statutes the objectives of the ESB are “to encourage, foster, promote and develop research, progress and information concerning the science of Biomechanics”. What does this mean to the current workings of the ESB in a world that is changing (think corona), where the scientific environment is changing, and where our society is changing? To give just one example of the latter, our membership has more than tripled since 2007 and even increased nearly 10-fold as compared to 30 years ago. Does the ESB address today’s and tomorrow’s concerns? I’m looking forward to receiving your expectations. Which (new) actions would you consider important? I invite you to provide your thoughts in making the ESB future-proof; please contact me at president@esbiomech.org.

Harry van Lenthe, ESB President
Leuven, April 2021