Generous supporters of the Academy donate £20,000

Academy Fellows and supporters have responded to an appeal by donating over £20,000 since Christmas.

Following an appeal, core supporters of the Academy – including members of our Helix Group – have donated over £20,000 to strengthen the Academy’s financial position during this challenging time.

A key misconception about the Academy is that we are financially well-off and benefit from endowment income. This is not the case and many people do not realise that we are a charity reliant on external funding and donations. Each year we must raise the funds to support our work.

Our conference business at 41 Portland Place normally contributes significantly to our running costs but has been closed out of necessity for most of the past year, leaving a shortfall of over £200,000.

Despite these additional pressures, the Academy has been helping our researchers rise to the challenges of the pandemic. Recently, we celebrated the graduation of the first cohort of future leaders from our FLIER leadership programme – a project scoped thanks to independent funding, such as through the Helix Group, and now undergoing a major three year pilot generously supported by the Dennis and Mireille Gillings Foundation and the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. Dr Charlotte Summers (pictured) is one of the participants:

“Joining FLIER was like a lightbulb moment. I knew I had to go and do this. Now I’ve just been awarded £3.5 million from NIHR for a cross-sector trial of how to boost COVID patients’ recoveries and prevent them needing to be re-admitted to hospital. The scale of this project is far more ambitious than I would have attempted before FLIER. I would never have achieved any of this without the FLIER programme, and my two FLIER co-awardees Elin and Paul.

The Academy faces multiple challenges as part of the broader medical research sector. Last winter over 60% of medical charities had to cut or cancel support for early career researchers and skilled research roles. Just this March, cuts to UK R&D funding through Official Development Assistance meant the Academy was asked to cease all calls for new ODA activity supporting researchers in low and middle income countries.

One key way you can support the Academy is to join our Helix Group, by donating just £21 a month towards our work. One in ten Helix members donate even further beyond this. The donations from the Helix Group make a huge difference to the Academy.


Professor Edwin Chilvers FMedSci (pictured top at an Academy careers event) is Head of the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London. He comments:

“I am extremely proud to be a member of the Helix Group and to support the Academy. As a previous Member of Council and several of the Academy’s Committees I have seen close-up the support given to early career researchers, both clinical and non-clinical, and the impact this has.”

Another member of the Helix Group is Professor Janet Lord FMedSci, Director of the Institute for Inflammation and Ageing at the University of Birmingham (pictured right at an event for Academy grant awardees). She shared her reasons for donating:

“I am a member of the Helix Group and have donated to the Academy’s recent appeal to try and meet the shortfall in income during the pandemic. I feel it is important to support the Academy because of the important work they do in supporting and advocating for the medical sciences through workshops, report writing, lobbying and supporting our early career researchers.”

One such researcher supported through our work is neuroscientist Dr Gemma Modinos, part of our SUSTAIN programme for women in science:

“Finding the tailored space of SUSTAIN was extremely beneficial for me. It gave me a community: we inspire and empower each other.

“I was told I couldn’t apply for a promotion because I was on a research rather than an academic contract. Our SUSTAIN workshop on negotiation gave me the tools to challenge this and pursue what I thought was right. I went back to talk with my institution, I applied, I got promoted – and now there is a pathway to promotion for future people on research contracts too.

The SUSTAIN programme was piloted thanks to independent funding through sources such as the Helix Group, and Gemma is now giving back to the wider research community as elected Chair of the Young Academy of Europe.

In a year when the medical research world is facing enormous strain, support from the Helix Group to enable the Academy to continue our ground-breaking work is more important than ever. Our Executive Director Simon Denegri adds:

“The Helix Group are incredibly important to our future sustainability. We are very grateful for their practical support, which has enabled us to protect core work and scope future projects throughout the current pandemic.

“This year is critical for the Academy’s future. With a new President and a new ten year strategy in development, it is a period of great change and potential. The independent support of our donors allows the Academy to keep helping researchers rise to the challenge.”

The Academy still needs your support. To talk more about how you might be able to help the Academy, please contact our Fundraising Officer Rosie, who would be delighted to speak with you:

  • To make a donation today, please visit our Charities Aid Foundation webpage.
  • The Academy always welcomes new members to our Helix Group, who give £21 a month or £250 a year. Find out more about joining on our Helix Group webpage.
  • We recognise that your loved ones will always come first, but if the time is ever right for you to consider leaving a gift in your Will to a charity, please consider leaving a gift to the Academy of Medical Sciences.

Every gift, however large or small, will make a difference to the Academy during this challenging time.

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