ESNA – A Short History

The European Society for New Methods in Agricultural Research (ESNA) (originally the European Society of Nuclear Methods in Agriculture) is an international society established in Wageningen (The Netherlands) in 1969 aiming at advancing cooperation in Europe (between the West and the East) in the application of nuclear techniques and biotechnologies to research and technology related to all aspects of production and processing of plant and animal products.

The core of activities of the Society were (and still are) annual meetings (conferences) where the ESNA members meet in sessions of the respective working groups.

The “original” ESNA established 12 working groups (WGs): (1a Food Irradiation; 1b Waste Irradiation; 2 Radiation-Induced Stimulation Effects in Plants; 3 Tracer Techniques in Animal Sciences; 4 Radiation Analysis; 5 Nuclear Techniques in the Study of Soil-Plant Relationships; 6 Applied Mutagenesis; 7 Environmental Pollution; 8 Nuclear Methods in Fats Routine Analysis of Biological material; 9 Genetic Methods of Pest Control; 10 Radioisotopes in Insect Ecology; 11 Nuclear Methods in Plant Physiology). Over the years the WG titles have changed and recently the Society had 6 WGs (1 Radiation Technology; 2 Advanced Methods in Animal Sciences; 3 Soil-Plant Relationships; 4 Plant Genetics; Breeding and Energy Use; and 6 Pest Management).

The founding document of ESNA says: “The working groups of ESNA, when well organized, could greatly contribute to a more efficient use of available scientific and industrial potential, to a strengthening of European technology and to a more coordinated aid for the developing countries”.

Many prominent personalities from several European countries acted in the ESNA Committee management, e.g. E. Haunold, M. Gerzabek and J. Smith (Austria); L.A. Buscarlet (France); R. Kirchman and P. Dreze (Belgium); B. Todorov (Bulgaria); K. Vacek, P. Horacek, V. Borkovec and V. Reinöhl (Czechoslovakia / Czech Republic); H. Glubrecht, E.G. Niemann, W. Kühn, W. Gottchalk, W. Giese and F. Walther (Germany); ); A. Balint, J. Farkas, K. Vas, A. Szabo and J. Simon (Hungary); G.P. Soressi, E. Smedile and M.Cristaldi (Italy); R. Antoszewski, K. Smierzchalska, S. Ignatowicz, S. Bobek, W. Fiszer and A. Lysak (Poland); G.E. Suteu, R. Ciofu and I. Rosca (Romania); N. Ortin (Spain); R.J. Wood, A.H. Knight, T.H. Thomas, D.A. Baker and N.G. Mitchel (UK); L. Fredriksson (Sweden); D. de Zeeuw, P.H. van Nierop, A.F. Groneman, J.G. van Kooij and M.J. Frissel (The Netherlands); D.B. Jelenic, A. Djurdjevic, J. Dumanovic, S. Kapor and M. Jovanovic (Yugoslavia); and others.

Since 1969, ESNA has held more than 40 annual meetings in various European countries.

ESNA – The Past and Present

The original scope of ESNA has gradually changed and since 1991 the aim of the “new” Society has been to advance cooperation in Europe on aspects of the environmental protection and the application of new methods and biotechnologies in agricultural research. At present the Society has 3 Working Groups

ESNA is a non-profit organization and the bodies of the Society are: The General Meeting, The Working Groups, The Committee, and The Secretariat. The General Meeting which determines the general policy of the Society, is a meeting of the Members of the Society, and is usually organized annually in the form of scientific Conferences in important European research centres. The workings groups are established by the General Meeting. Each Working Group (WG) elects a Chairman. The chairmen (chairpersons) of WG are ex officio members of the Committee. The Committee executes the general policy as determined by the General Meeting. It elects the Chairman (President) of the Society. The Secretariat is entrusted with the daily settlement of affairs of the Society and assists the bodies of the Society. The ESNA Secretary administers the financial affairs of the Society under the control and according to the dictates of the Committee, and is in charge of the archives.

ESNA Presidents: D. De Zeeuv (The Netherlands, 1969 - 1988), D.A. Baker (U.K., 1988 - 2006), S. Grego (Italy, 2006 – hitherto).

ESNA Secretaries: P.H. van Nierop (The Netherlands, 1969 - 1982), S. Kapor (Yugoslavia, 1982 - 1988), S. Prochazka (Czechoslovakia, 1988 - 1989), V. Borkovec (Czechoslovakia/Czech Republic, 1989 - 1994), M. Pöschl (Czech Republic, 1994 - hitherto).

Membership fees are the only source of funding the ESNA activities. Membership of the Society is open to European scientific or technological bodies or any individual from a European country who could assist in furthering the aims and objectives of the society.

In memory of the premature death of the long-term active ESNA Secretary Vladimír Borkovec from the Mendel University in Brno (Czech Republic), the Borkovec Travel Fund (BTF) was established which supports young and active members of ESNA in their participation in the Annual ESNA meetings/conferences. For more information about voluntary financial BTF deposits please go to the web of the upcoming ESNA Conference.

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