Academy of Medical Sciences elects new President

Professor Andrew Morris CBE FRSE FMedSci has been elected as the next President of the Academy of Medical Sciences. He will succeed Professor Dame Anne Johnson DBE PMedSci, taking up the role from 25 April 2024.

Professor Morris is Professor of Medicine and Vice Principal of Data Science at the University of Edinburgh, and since 2017 has been the inaugural Director of Health Data Research UK (HDR UK), the national institute of health data science. Prior to this, Professor Morris was Dean of Medicine at the University of Dundee and Chief Scientist at the Scottish Government Health Directorate.  

Under his leadership, HDR UK works in partnership with the NHS, industry, charities and universities to realise the potential of the UK’s wealth of health data in life-changing research. A landmark early in 2024 saw the first research study of health records for the whole population of 67 million people across all four UK nations.  

During the pandemic, Professor Morris chaired the Scottish Government COVID-19 Advisory Group, working in partnership across the UK and internationally to ensure that the best data and evidence as well as scientific and technical concepts and processes were key to understanding the evolving COVID-19 situation and potential impacts in Scotland. As Chief Scientist, he promoted Scotland as a single research site and led policy in medical bioinformatics enabling linkage of medical data with biological data and imaging data.  

On his appointment, Professor Morris said: “The Academy of Medical Sciences is the pre-eminent UK authority and a dynamic and influential force in biomedical and health research. It’s a great honour to be taking on the role of President of this influential institution at a time of great change and opportunity.  

“We are living through the most rapid technological and scientific revolution in the whole of human history. This fusion of biology with physical sciences, social sciences, and computational sciences requires a re-envisioned approach to biomedical and health research. The Academy Fellowship of outstanding scientists is uniquely positioned to seize the opportunity to lead medical science into the future.  

“It is important that the Academy becomes a trusted voice in the ethical and responsible application of artificial intelligence, digital technologies, and interdisciplinary science to address global health challenges with integrity and foresight. We need to continue to support the next generation of world-leading scientists and show how excellence in science can power improved NHS and social care services. Importantly, this work must be underpinned by a new era of inclusivity, where patients and the public work alongside the Fellowship to play an active role in shaping the future of medical science, championing equality, diversity, and inclusion at every turn.” 

Welcoming the news, current Academy President, Professor Dame Anne Johnson DBE PMedSci, said: “Andrew knows firsthand the importance of multidisciplinary collaborative science in developing policies that positively impact the health of people everywhere and is well-placed to take forward the mission of the Academy of Medical Sciences. He brings significant knowledge and experience of working at the interface between research and government, particularly through his extensive work for the Scottish government prior to, and during the COVID-19 pandemic. It gives me great pleasure to hand over the Presidency to someone of his calibre and expertise.” 

Professor Paul Stewart FMedSci, Acting President of the Academy of Medical Sciences and Chair of the Search Committee which oversaw the election process, said: “Professor Morris brings a wealth of experience to the role of President through his impactful work across the UK and internationally, achieved through collaboration with governments, industry, charities, Universities, research institutes and the NHS. His vision for the Academy is ambitious and deeply rooted in our commitment to supporting the next generation of researchers, interdisciplinary team-research and advancing science, all to improve the health of our patients and populations. I offer Professor Morris my warmest congratulations on his new position and very much look forward to supporting him over the forthcoming weeks as he takes office.”  

Professor Morris, who was elected to the Academy in 2009, is recognised internationally as a leader in the field of informatics and non-communicable diseases publishing more than 350 original papers and attracting over £200 million in grant funding.  

He was awarded a CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in the 2018 New Year’s Honour’s List, the Royal Medal of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2021 and has served and chaired numerous national and international grant committees and Governmental bodies.  

Previous Academy presidents: 

  • Professor Dame Anne Johnson FMedSci, President 2020-2024 
  • Professor Sir Robert Lechler FMedSci, President 2015-2020 
  • Professor Sir John Tooke FMedSci, President 2011-2015 
  • Professor Sir John Bell FRS HonFREng FMedSci, President 2006-2011 
  • Professor Sir Keith Peters FRS FMedSci, President 2002-2006 
  • Professor Sir Peter Lachmann FRS FMedSci, President 1998-2002 

Professor Dame Anne Johnson FMedSci stepped back from Presidential duties in October 2023. After, the Academy Council formally endorsed Professor Paul Stewart FMedSci as Acting President until a suitable successor could be appointed. 

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