The Academy of Medical Sciences is undertaking a horizon scanning project to identify key areas of scientific research and innovation for the future.Launched
Since its formation in 1998, the Academy of Medical Sciences has sought to support excellence within a rapidly developing scientific environment. To ensure we can remain at the cutting edge of medical sciences and its related fields, the Academy is now undertaking a programme of horizon scanning.
We are asking our Fellows, grant awardees, and close collaborators to think forward to the year 2048 (50 years after the formation of the Academy) to help us speculate about the most transformative areas of scientific research and innovation, what they will be and what they will do for society.
The outputs from our horizon scanning will help to identify topics for our policy work, future scientific meetings and priorities for our next strategy. They will also inform the future plans of our partners and stakeholders, including policy makers, funder and researchers.
The horizon scanning project first involved a survey of over 600 Fellows and Academy grant awardees, to identify the most promising areas of research and innovation. The second stage of the project is a series of six half day workshops across the UK, where forward-thinking discussions between a range of participants will allow more detailed consideration of each area and its wider impacts.
For additional information about this project’s activities please see the tabs at the top of this page. Should you have any questions about the project that are not addressed on this page, please do not hesitate to contact the Secretariat.
The Academy’s Horizon Scanning Survey was developed to utilise the knowledge base of our Fellowship and active grant awardees to find the most promising areas of research and innovation. It asked participants to first identify areas of research and innovation that will transform society within 30 years, and then consider the potential wider consequences of the areas. The survey was active from Monday 27 November to Monday 4 December and was completed by over 600 participants from across the globe.
The responses from this survey have been analysed and used to shape themes for discussions at the workshops.
Please see the ‘Workshops’ tab at the top of the page for more information about the next stage of the project.
The Academy of Medical sciences is hosting a series of six half-day workshops to explore further the key areas identified in our horizon scanning survey responses. These workshops will aim to facilitate forward thinking and dynamic discussions between Fellows, early career researchers, and collaborators from beyond the medical sciences.
The Academy’s horizon scanning project has a strong focus on regional engagement of our Fellowship and collaborators across the UK. In keeping with this, the six half-day workshops are being held throughout the country, with support from our Regional Champions. The six half-day workshops will be held in:
|Edinburgh||Friday 9 February||
Patient-centric healthcare and profiling/screening for prevention
|Birmingham||Tuesday 6 March||
Genetics for personalised medicine and social consequences
|Leeds||Thursday 8 March||Linking mental and physical health for personalised therapies|
|Cambridge||Monday 12 March||The impact of ageing on mind and body, and the development of new drugs and therapies|
|Brighton||Thursday 15 March||Wild workshop: Preventing chronic disease and using artificial intelligence to assist vulnerable populations|
|Manchester||Thursday 22 March||Real-time modelling of the spread of disease|
All workshops will take place in the afternoon, and will include lunch. If you are interested in attending a workshop, please register your interest using the link at the top of the page.
For more information about individual workshops timings, themes and topics, please follow the above links. If you have any questions about the workshops, please contact Melanie Etherton (firstname.lastname@example.org/ 020 3141 3209).
Themes for the workshops have been identified using the Academy’s horizon scanning survey of over 600 Fellows and grant awardees.
The themes that emerged from the survey will be used to inform discussions at the workshops. However, we expect that through the interdisclinary discussions at the workshops, new priorities and ideas will emerge. Participants are not expected to be experts in these areas - instead we welcome the diversity of opinion people bring by approaching discussions from a range of backgrounds.
Themes as identified from horizon scanning survey:
Patient-centric healthcare and profiling/screening for prevention (Edinburgh)
Scottish people benefit from fully mapped genomes. Pharmaceutical companies develop a slew of new drugs and therapies, but new national screening initiatives aren't without controversy. Campaigners are concerned about privacy, health insurance and job prospects. Scottish people are more actively participating in their health, for instance through flu prevention. Simulations and targeted antivirals have saved tens of millions according to the UK Government.
Genetics for personalised medicine and social consequences (Birmingham)
Advances in gene sequencing and increased screening initiatives are making personalised treatments for diseases such as cancer a reality. Research has also produced a range of new techniques to alter genes and their expression for health purposes. Personalised treatments can improve survival and quality of live, but these advances are not without controversy. Campaigners are concerned about privacy, health insurance and job prospects.
Linking mental and physical health for personalised therapies (Leeds)
Mental health is affected by devices, school, work and other environments. Campaigners are concerned about the limited availability of effective mental health therapies. Mental health problems can exacerbate physical illnesses. The mind-body interface is a new frontier for personalised therapy of physical and mental health problems. Personalised treatment can increase effectiveness and adherence.
The impact of ageing on mind and body, and the development of new drugs and therapies (Cambridge)
UK life expectancy has been increasing for decades. The number of years spent in good health has not increased as dramatically. Aging has many effects on health, and is associated with degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. New drugs and therapies for are being developed for many degenerative diseases. Lifestyle choices such as diet and exercise may be vital to a healthy old age.
Preventing chronic disease and using artificial intelligence to assist vulnerable populations (Brighton)
Chronic disease such as arthritis and diabetes are increasingly prevalent in the UK and around the world. Treating and managing chronic disease is difficult, particularly in deprived populations. Artificial intelligence and machine learning have huge potential for improving health in a sustainable way, for example through wearable devices, . Questions remain about the costs and effectiveness of this new technology. Campaigners are concerned about the privacy implications of embedding artificial intelligence in our health system.
Real-time modelling of the spread of disease (Manchester)
Infectious diseases, such as flu and norovirus, affect millions of people a year in the UK. With modern travel patterns, isolated outbreaks can quickly become global epidemics. Simulations and real-time modelling using data from health records, social media and other sources can track the spread of disease for prevention and treatment. Technology companies have developed machine learning to effectively analyse data. Campaigners are concerned about privacy, health insurance and job prospects.
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