Academy horizon-scanning report published

The Academy has published a new report, "Horizon scanning – research and innovation to transform the health of society by 2048”, the product of a series of activities involving Fellows, grant awardees and others in imagining our future health and care.

A survey of Fellows and awardees in December 2017 informed a series of workshops – held in Birmingham, Brighton, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Leeds and Manchester – that were designed to spark creative ideas.

The workshops, which considered the areas of research and innovation most likely to transform the health of society in 30 year’s time, were led by the Academy’s Regional Champions, and attended by experts from healthcare, biosciences and beyond, including journalism, digital technologies, engineering and the law.

Genomics and artificial intelligence were considered most likely by these experts to have transformative potential and accelerate the shift towards population stratification, personalised treatments, and an increasing emphasis towards preventative, as opposed to therapeutic, interventions. Greater understanding through research of the impact of environmental factors on health, and neuroscience, and a better evidence base for behavioural science were also highlighted as being potentially transformative for society’s health.

Ongoing dialogue with the public on these issues, access to data and improved data quality, better cross-disciplinary working, and health and care system reform were all considered the biggest challenges that need to be addressed if we are to realise the potential advances in medical sciences whilst maintaining public trust.

The work has already informed the Academy’s working group project on data-driven technologies, our workshop on AI and health, and forthcoming events on genome editing, and the developing brain and disease. It is also informing the Academy’s FLIER programme of future leaders who can collaborate across sectors.

The Academy thanks all those who gave up their time to participate in these activities and offered their expertise in imagining our futures 30 years from now.

Link to visual notes from the individual workshops are available to download on the side of this page. There is also a short accompanying video highlighting some of the ideas that emerged in the workshops, available below.

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