Coming soon: new Academy strategy to help us make the biggest difference to health

Next week, the Academy of Medical Sciences will be launching its new 10-year vision and strategy. Simon Denegri, Executive Director of the Academy of Medical Sciences, gives more details about how the strategy was developed and a sneak preview of the themes to expect.

The launch of our new strategy will be a time to renew our commitment to Fellows, researchers we support, partner organisations, patients and the public to ensure that biomedical and health research is able to reach its potential in making the biggest difference to health in the future.  

Deeply uncertain times 

We are launching our new strategy at a deeply uncertain time for science and society – from the pandemic and climate change to the continuing uncertainty over the UK’s association to Horizon Europe and the terrible conflict in Ukraine ravaging humanity. The work of researchers will be fundamental to addressing each of these challenges – often in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles of their own – as has already been shown.  

From a position of strength 

Over our relatively short 25-year history the Academy has played a critical role in improving health - including influencing policy, strengthening research careers, advocating for good regulation and innovative funding of medical science and career support. If you would like a reminder of this work please do look at our pandemic review or this project looking at some of our other big achievements since we were established.  

Listening to build a strategy fit for the future 

We took the process of building a solid evidence base for our strategy very seriously – putting the views of our Fellows, the researchers we support, our partners, patients and collaborators at the centre of all we have suggested.  

We ran an extensive strategy consultation overseen by our President and our Council during 2021 and into 2022. We began in early 2021 with our President’s virtual regional tour, and continued with surveys and workshops involving hundreds of Fellows, researchers we support, policy makers, people from organisations we collaborate with and patients who have been part of our work. It was encouraging to hear their many stories of excellent science that should be celebrated. We also heard about the huge opportunities and challenges that lie ahead and the immense value that the Academy can bring to science and the world around it.   

Evidence gathering for our strategy in numbers 

  • 350 Fellows attended our President’s virtual regional tour from the devolved nations and all regions across the UK 
  • 300 Fellows, 185 researchers we support and 65 partner organisations responded to our strategy survey 
  • 1 away day and 1 synthesis session provided further input from our Council 

 

A feeling of anticipation 

I challenge any Chief Executive not to feel an air of apprehension about embarking on an ambitious strategy during uncertain times with finite resource. But I am genuinely excited about the opportunity the new strategy will give us to bring together the unparalleled excellence of our Fellowship with new voices and break down the barriers to good science. This means everything from creating better research career trajectories, encouraging international collaboration, fostering public involvement in research, enabling more diversity in science and changing institutional cultures to be more supportive of open and progressive research. Ultimately we hope our strategy will mean research can deliver everyone better health. 

For our new strategy to help us navigate these times of great challenge and opportunity, it will:  

  • Give us a clear and flexible roadmap to navigate the coming decade 
  • Help us make the right choices about where to focus our efforts  
  • Ensure that science is focused on improving the health of everyone  
  • Provide a platform to support the creation of a research sector fit for the future  
  • Ensure we are an agile, innovative, value-driven Academy with a difference  
  • Bring greater diversity in science including the involvement of patient voice   

Measuring success 

In addition, for the first time ever, our strategy includes broad statements on how we will measure our success as well as identifying key commitments under each strategic priority that we will be aiming to meet over the next 10 years. Over the coming months the key task for myself, and our leadership team of Directors and Heads working with their teams, will be to develop specific milestones and performance indicators by which our Fellowship and supporters can assess our progress in achieving our vision. We will say more about these at our Annual Fellows meeting in December.   

Thank you to all who have helped us get here 

You will of course hear more from our President when we launch our strategy later in June. Ahead of this I wanted to take the opportunity to thank all those involved in its development – Fellows, researchers, policy makers, partners and the public. I’m grateful also to our funders without whom we could not do this work and whose insight and thoughts were immensely valuable during the consultation exercise. We are looking forward to delivering on our strategy with their help.  

In conclusion 

As we head towards our 25th anniversary in 2023, I hope that our new strategy will also be seen as an invitation to new partners who share our values, from across the sector and beyond, to work with us in creating an open and progressive research community with the Academy at its heart; an Academy with a difference, making a difference.   

To find out how to support the work of the Academy, please see our support us page. 

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