In November 2020 the Academy launched an exciting new programme called PILLAR (Promoting Innovation, Learning, Leadership And Resilience in the research community).
The programme aims to support both our grant awardees and programme participants in a virtual setting, equipping them with the skills and knowledge that they need to navigate their career. Through live sessions, recorded content and a host of resources, all permanently available in an exclusive online space (the PILLAR portal), we engage our community and encourage conversations. This programme is a valuable addition to the funding and training our scheme participants receive.
Our AMS Community is located across the globe and, therefore, PILLAR events are predominantly virtual and, when possible, any in-person events are live streamed or recorded for the portal. An important aspect of the PILLAR programme is to support participants to network in a virtual setting.
Examples of types of events include:
- Training sessions
- Panel discussions
- Networking opportunities
- Expert talks by alumni and invited guests
"Thank you to AMS for this opportunity. We are all stretched at the moment and working remotely has removed opportunities to engage in such events, so I was really pleased to be able to join this webinar and look forward to others."
- PILLAR event participant
On Monday 23 November 2020 we officially launched the PILLAR programme with a week of virtual events. The launch week was chaired by Professor Frances Platt FMedSci and aimed to continue to provide vital support to researchers with the challenges they are facing during the COVID pandemic. From online training sessions to panel discussions, and alumni talks to keynote lectures the week was comprised of a variety of career development opportunities.
Throughout the week, emphasis was placed on the community being able to network with each other, AMS Fellows and staff. This was done through a variety of networking sessions added onto workshops and panel discussions, or through informal coffee breaks.
Across all of our events during the launch week we had 211 attendees. One of them provided the following feedback:
"The PILLAR programme last week was very good, being able to connect with other researchers and the chance to talk to funders about how they are going to take it into account. I think the Academy have done a good job at supporting awards and grant holders. It’s been a terrible year for everyone – any good news at the end of this year is welcome. From a nice and caring organisation, it’s a nice thing, and I believe that the Academy will support their researchers going forward. I feel like people have been there for you. The networking with other people and realising it’s not just you has been invaluable."
One element of the programme is the PILLAR community portal. This is an exclusive space, accessible to the Academy’s community, and is the home of career development resources, opportunities to take part in the Academy’s work, as well as details of upcoming online events.
The platform has been designed to allow scheme participants to virtually meet other members of the Academy’s community, to form collaborations and share experiences. In addition, portal users can upload a poster to display their research and link in with others in the community who have relevant expertise or interests. The Academy’s community is global, comprised of individuals from all backgrounds, sectors, industries and areas of expertise and we hope that through these features we will facilitate networking in a time when physical meetings are not possible.
"I really felt I was part of a community. I also felt it was good to meet (even if virtually) the AMS staff and I now feel it will be much easier to drop them a line if I have any query."
- PILLAR event participant
The PILLAR team can be reached via email on PILLAR@acmedsci.ac.uk
If you are an active awardee or programme participant and would like to make a suggestion for a PILLAR event or provide any feedback, please contact us.
If you are not an awardee or programme participant, but would like to be involved in any PILLAR activities, e.g. to run a virtual training session or give a talk, please reach out and we would be happy to discuss.