Helping us shape the search for our next President

Our Search Committee lead Professor Paul Stewart FMedSci explains his role in the search for the Academy’s next President, and how you can help.

The Academy is looking for a new President to lead us for the next four years. The role is open to all Fellows of the Academy and is crucial to help us continue to achieve our mission of advancing medical science for the benefit of society.

Undoubtedly they will need to be an exceptional strategic leader to help us nurture the next generation of biomedical and health researchers, and to help us influence policy in the UK and globally.

Researchers’ thoughts needed

I am leading the committee that is responsible for the selection – and I know we all feel the weight of responsibility to get someone who will do a fantastic job.

We do not yet know who that person will be.

We know they will come from within our 1286 strong Fellowship. We know they will bring a vision of how the Academy can feed into tomorrow’s major science and health challenges and where our priorities should lie. We know they will bring leadership and strategic expertise, the ability to work in partnership at the most senior levels of Government and with colleagues across the sector, and be comfortable as the public face of the Academy.

But there will be other qualities they need to lead our work that we may not yet have defined – and to this end I am looking for input across the entire Fellowship and beyond to help us shape our search.

Get in touch

I am particularly keen to hear from researchers early in their career about what attributes they believe the next Academy president will need. You are the future of research and we need to build an Academy that will continue to support you in achieving your potential and help you solve the big challenges we face. We would also welcome your views on how early career researchers could become a greater part of Academy work. Your views on what is important will feed into our search and interviews with potential candidates.

It could be that you have views on the values, skills or ethos you think our next President should hold, or particular experience that you think is necessary. Or you may have views on what topics you think should be priority for the new President to tackle. We are keen to get a diverse range of views on this topic, so please do get in touch by email:

Inspirational leaders

We also want to encourage you to look around and consider which leaders inspire you and whether they could be our next President. These people may not ‘look like’ an Academy president – so I want to stress that there are no barriers to us all thinking more diversely and widely about who could take on the role. Words of encouragement from colleagues at all levels could be what is needed for someone to consider putting themselves forward.

Suggestions and expressions of interest are welcome from people working in any area and should be sent to me in confidence. Fellows wishing to discuss the role further are encouraged to contact me at the earliest opportunity.

The deadline for completed nominations is 30 April 2020. I encourage interested people to contact me at the earliest opportunity to allow time to complete the nomination process.

The appeal of the role

There is an exciting ‘in tray’, of issues at the forefront of what matters most in science today, waiting for our next President. This will involve both overcoming barriers to research as well as seizing opportunities.

Perhaps top of the list, our next President will need to help us make medical science more inclusive and diverse, and for the Academy to address concerns about research culture raised in the recent Wellcome Trust report.

The UK research community also needs to redefine its relationship with Europe and other International partners, there are still numerous barriers to high quality research, and our society is facing many pressing health challenges from obesity to the recent novel coronavirus outbreak. At the same time our universities and NHS could be described as being overstretched and financially challenged – which no doubt has a huge impact on medical science. We need someone who can help the Academy, our Fellows and the researchers we support overcome these issues.

There are also great opportunities. We have a government who is committed to supporting research and funding science and innovation and a community that is playing an active role in delivering upon the Life Sciences Industry strategy. We are also at an incredibly interesting time scientifically with advances in genetics, artificial intelligence and its convergence with health technologies that promise to revolutionise health.

Taking on the challenge

With the right leadership the Academy will continue to advance medical science to make a difference to the public, patients and the wider society – my question to you is, can you help us do this?

The Academy is seeking a new President. The deadline for nominations is 30 April 2020. Visit the announcement page for full details and download the documents on the side of this page for more information.

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