To celebrate the Academy’s 20th birthday, we have put together a snapshot of 20 of our biggest impacts. To find out more about our 20th celebrations and our future plans, read this blog by our President Professor Sir Robert Lechler, and follow #AMS20 on social media.
The Academy would like to thank all our funders, partners and collaborators, without whom none of this work would be possible.
#1 Fighting for job security for scientists
“The Academy’s work has improved the careers of UK biomedical and health researchers, helping to attract and keep the best people in science. Ultimately this means higher quality research, a better understanding of human health and disease, and improvements in patient outcomes and population health.”
Professor Sir Jim Smith FRS FMedSci, Director of Science at the Wellcome Trust
Biomedical and health researchers do vital work, helping us to understand fundamental biology and supporting the development of new treatments and diagnostic tools.
In 2002, the Academy raised concerns about the negative impact of short term contracts on laboratory researchers. In 2005, the Academy undertook a detailed review of non-clinical research Fellowships; our Freedom to Succeed report called for existing schemes to be improved, and fostered higher quality non-clinical Fellowships across the sector.
Funders such as the MRC, Cancer Research UK and Wellcome responded by building the report’s recommendations into their schemes – for instance, the MRC increased the length of their Career Development Awards to five years.
The Academy later used this policy work as part of the evidence base to develop our Springboard scheme, which was designed to fill a gap in the non-clinical research career pathway. Springboard awards provide up to £100,000 and personalised career support over two years, to help newly independent biomedical scientists to launch their research careers. Springboard has supported over 87 researchers in 34 institutions with a total value of over £7.5 million.
The Academy believes more needs to be done, and will continue to work in this area.