The Fields Institute Turns Twenty-Five 170725 Final book with covers - Page 77

From Seedling to Maturity 55 At the outset, Board meetings tended to wrestle more with stakeholder rights than with the future of the Institute. Gradually, the Directorate and the non-affiliated Board members were able to develop the sense that all members, no matter where they came from, served on the Board in order to advance the Institute as an Institute. The focus of the Board shifted from stakeholder desires to the Institute’s needs. Governance for the Future The Institute places most normal governance issues in the hands of its Board of Directors. The broad issues of shaping the nature of the business would normally also rest in the hands of the Board of Directors. In the case of the Fields Institute, however, these issues are properly placed in the lap of the Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP), an arrangement that has worked exceedingly well. I would recommend that the Board of Directors and the Scientific Advisory Panel continue to fulfill their roles as they have done, but that there also be periodic joint discussion so that each entity has a better understanding of all the issues facing the Institute. Providing Long-Term Services through Short-Term Funding The Institute commits to providing specific services four or five years into the future, while its funding sources are typically defined for periods of not more than two or three years. With respect to operations, this arrangement means the Institute needs to plan for activity and make commitments three or four years into the future without knowing if funding will be there. Management must always allow for the distinct possibility that funding sources might be curtailed or eliminated.