Our five favourite media appearances of 2018

The past year has seen the Academy go from strength to strength, and the story of our successful year is reflected in our media coverage.

Here is a snapshot of five favourite media appearances of 2018, as chosen by Naomi Clarke, Academy Communications Officer (Media):

  1. Professor Deborah Ashby FMedSci interviewed on Newsnight

Back in February Professor Deborah Ashby FMedSci, made her debut appearance on Newsnight, the BBC’s flagship daily news programme. Deborah was questioned about the evidence behind a new study suggesting links between cancer and processed foods, but she also managed to widen her comments to give the audience context to the way scientific research works. The interview was requested as a result of Deborah taking part in our pilot showcase event of expert women.

  1. Our policy report on global multimorbidity hits the Express front page

In April, we launched our international policy project addressing the growing problem of global multimorbidity. This created a huge splash in the news, with a package on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme which featured a patient discussing the day to day life of managing multiple health conditions and the Chair of the report, Professor Stephen MacMahon FMedSci being interviewed. As well as making it into every broadsheet, the story also took front page in the Daily Express, with a double page spread and comment piece by Stephen.

  1. The life changing impact of mentoring showcased by Nature Careers

Also in April, one of our awardees and SUSTAIN programme participants, Dr Helena Lee, was profiled in Nature. In the piece Helena candidly shares the realities and challenges a career in clinical research can throw up, highlighting how her mentors “stopped her from giving up”. You can also see Helena talking about her research at our recent AMSlive event.

  1. Letter to the Times asking the NHS to embrace research

In May, our President, Professor Sir Robert Lechler PMedSci, wrote a letter to the Times in response to the Prime Minister’s science speech on the potential of technology to transform the lives of people suffering chronic diseases. The letter pointed out that the NHS must be capable of leading the “fourth industrial revolution”, embracing research and helping patients benefit from the use of their data. These sentiments are strong messages in our recently launched report on the use of patient data in healthcare technology. This work is indicative of the reactive media work carried out by the Academy’s press office. We have been providing expert comment throughout 2018 on the tumultuous political landscape and the potential impact of Brexit on science, as well as helping to provide expert comments on relevant breaking news stories.

  1. The Guardian describes how the Zika epidemic highlights ‘invisible children’

In July, our joint Global Challenges Research Fund meeting report on childhood neurodevelopment disorders was featured in the Guardian as an exclusive. The report was the result of The UK Academy of Medical Sciences, the Brazilian Academy of Sciences and the Brazilian National Academy of Medicine joint workshop in Rio de Janeiro. The workshop brought together 40 leading researchers and policy makers from Brazil, the UK and other countries to consider the international response to the Brazilian Zika crisis.


The Academy’s press office works proactively and reactively with journalists, our Fellows and early career researchers to gain high quality media coverage. Giving researchers opportunities to talk about their work and how they balance this with life helps develop crucial communication skills, as well as informing the public about the cutting-edge medical research that the Academy represents.

We are also committed to increasing the diversity of voices in the media. Determined to help increase the number of women experts commenting in the media, we have media trained over a 100 women and provide comprehensive support to ensure this training translates to media interviews. We have also taken two groups of women Fellows and early career researchers to the heart of broadcast media, showcasing their work at the BBC and ITN. The impact of this work was recognised when the Academy communications team was awarded the Royal Society’s 2018 Athena Prize. In 2019 we will be exploring the way that we can extend this programme to increase the number of black and minority ethnic biomedical and health researchers in the media.

To speak to the Academy’s Communications Officer (Media), contact Naomi.Clarke@acmedsci.ac.uk

To learn all about how to prepare for a media interview, you can read our blog here.


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