Why you should want my role: Academy Registrar

The Academy is currently recruiting for a new Registrar, one of six core positions overseeing all our work. Current Registrar Professor Philippa Saunders FMedSci talks through why you should want her role. Academy Fellows can find out more and apply here.

What does the Registrar do?

“The job description says you’ll oversee the Fellowship election. That might sound quite dry, but there is hardly a more important role in the Academy. You set the tone and agenda for the election cycle. You are always in the room for the key meetings. You’re central in shaping the future nature of the Fellowship.

“Being Registrar brings you in contact with great people and amazing work from a whole range of fields and disciplines. And you’ve got to be one of the guiding lights of the equality, diversity and inclusion agenda at the Academy, because the Fellowship must reflect a more diverse population.

“It’s a real time for change. We’ve got a new President, a new Executive Director. It’s a superb opportunity for someone to be really influential within the Academy and shape the direction of the Fellowship going forward. There could not be a better time to become Registrar.”

What else does the Registrar do?

“I didn’t realise in all honesty that being Registrar meant I would be one of just six Officers, who are the most important decision-making group within the Academy. This means my opportunity to influence and support the Academy goes far beyond the Fellowship election cycle.

“When you’re an Officer, you steer the future direction of the Academy – which reports we should do, which projects we should support. Each month you’re in the room with people who really know what they’re talking about, you hear what’s really going on in the medical community, and you learn so much. The in-depth briefings you get each month about science policy, government thinking, the NHS, the EU, and more are superb.

“Then in turn you can use that both in your own working life and to help the Academy serve the research community. So I’ve pushed the agenda around careers for non-clinicians, the UK devolved administrations, future leaders, women in science, team science, and mentorship. If you’re passionate about the future of biomedical research, and health impacts, there’s no better place to be.”

How much work is it?

“It’s a day per week on average, with March as the busiest period. There is fantastic administrative support, and as more work moves online and less travel is needed, the time commitment will drop a little.”

What are the key skills?

“You’ve got to be a really good listener, and open to change. It’s not a job for glory, it’s not about you – it’s about the role. Though you do get a lot of job offers out of it as well!”

What if you’re not sure about applying?

“I wasn’t thinking I’d apply. It seemed very much an august and senior thing. And someone said, why don’t you apply for this? So I had a chat with person who was in the role at the time, and then I applied. And I am 100% happy for people to come and chat to me if they’re thinking the same.

“I think it’s an amazing role. It’s such an honour, and it’s been the pinnacle of my professional life. It’s been so much more than I ever thought it would be.”

Previous Registrars of the Academy are: Professor Philippa Saunders FRSE FMedSci, Professor Moira Whyte OBE FMedSci, Professor Patrick Maxwell FMedSci, Sir Patrick Vallance FRS FMedSci, and Sir Mark Walport FRS FMedSci

The Academy welcomes applications from all Fellows, from people who’ve applied or served on committees previously to those getting involved for the first time. We are committed to encouraging a wide range of nominations senior decision making roles – discover 5 things all Fellows can do to support diversity in Academy decision making.

We understand this opportunity falls at a challenging time. However this is a five year role, with a short application form and a long application period, so please do get in touch. Our President Professor Dame Anne Johnson PMedSci president@acmedsci.ac.uk and Professor Phliippa Saunders FMedSci p.saunders@ed.ac.uk both will hear in confidence expressions of interest and suggestions of others who could suit.

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