At the start of 2023, we launched our 25th anniversary programme, ‘25 and up: the Academy for the next generation’, to highlight the needs and priorities of emerging research leaders and the role we play in helping them realise their potential.
Our goal was to bring people together from our community and beyond to celebrate a milestone year and to invite them to work with us in creating an open and progressive research network with the Academy at its heart.
During the year, we launched new and enhanced existing initiatives to underline our new vision and strategy Making medical science work for everyone, with a particular focus on supporting young researchers with their ambitions.
In our 10-year strategy, we commit to broadening the range of people and disciplines engaged in biomedical and health research and supporting and recognising their talents in different ways. This includes providing innovative career funding and support that builds the capacity of teams and individuals as well as ensuring that biomedical and health researchers have clear, effective, and attractive career pathways.
Professor Dame Anne Johnson PMedSci, President of the Academy of Medical Sciences, said:
“While our 25th anniversary is an opportunity to take stock of the impact and achievements of the Academy and our community, it is also an important moment to look to our future and how we can influence the development of a research sector to improve the health of people everywhere.
“It is vital that we fully engage with the next generation of researchers to identify the challenges and opportunities they face and their aspirations for the future, and how we as an Academy could work to foster the capability of future research leaders and help them realise their ambitions.”
Simon Denegri OBE, Executive Director of the Academy of Medical Sciences, said:
“Our strategic ambition is to help create an open and progressive research sector. For this to happen, we need to invest in initiatives that will best support the diversity and depth of research talent in the UK. We look forward to bringing together our community of Fellows, grant awardees, partners and patients to support this common cause over the coming anniversary year and beyond.”
Dr Rina Dutta, King's College London; Emerging Research Leader and co-opted member of the Academy of Medical Sciences council said:
"More than simply celebrating past milestones, the 25 and up programme is incredibly forward-facing. Through their innovative career development funding and support in mentorship and leadership, the Academy is working with the talented next generation of researchers to ensure continuity of the tradition of the very highest quality research to improve health and outcomes for patients and the public."
25 and up: the Academy for the next generation – programme of activities
Our programme of anniversary events launched with the first of our ‘Spotlight sessions’ where Academy Fellows shared their expertise with each other, and our communities of emerging researcher leaders. Topics included engaging with the media, and supporting evidence-based decision making in the Scottish Government, Westminster and Whitehall.
In May, we launched our report 'Future-proofing UK Health Research’ which details key threats to UK health research and the steps needed to protect it. Among its recommendations, it emphasises the importance of placing people at the heart of the UK health research system and ensuring talented people can develop careers that span sectors. Produced by 30 experts from across the UK, including established and emerging research leaders, patients, carers and representatives from the public, private and charitable sectors, it calls for coordinated action to secure a sustainable future for research and deliver maximum health benefits for people everywhere, and we are looking at how we take this forward as an Academy.
Following the report launch, we completed in-depth interviews with 25 Emerging Research Leaders to explore their reflections on the report's findings, the role of the Academy in putting its recommendations into action and their own role in "future-proofing" UK health research. Click here to read an executive summary of these interviews.
We hosted a special 25th anniversary reception in July to welcome our new Fellows and thank our community and supporters. As well as reflecting on the Academy’s achievements since it was established in 1998, we used the event to consider the challenges and opportunities ahead for UK health research. We had the pleasure of hearing from founding Fellows, past-Presidents, patient researchers and emerging research leaders. A video of our biggest achievements to date and our hopes and ambitions for the future can be watched here:
In October, our Emerging Research Leaders Summit brought together 100 future research leaders for an open space event in Birmingham to explore a vision for UK health research in the next 25 years. Over two days nearly 90 different discussion sessions were called on topics including:
- How can we revolutionise the treatment of chronic conditions?
- How do we evaluate researchers fairly.
- Better Convalescence?
- Responsible AI and neurotechnology.
- How do we work with people from other disciplines?
- Building sustainable and equitable international collaborations.
- How can we prepare for the next pandemic?
- Funding and supporting participatory health research and co-production.
We are supporting the attendees and others to continue to self organise around the report of these discussions. We will use them to help shape our ongoing work to support researchers and influence the wider health research system through our connections with funders, institutions, policymakers and others.
Throughout the year we have been releasing a series of impact case studies and videos to give a voice to young researchers to celebrate their achievements and explore how the boundaries of science are changing. You can view these via the links below.
- Dr Amit Pujari, Improving lives through neurotechnology
- Dr Julia Wilson, The matchmaker behind scientific breakthroughs
- Dr Jackie Maybin, Taking a lead in women’s health