Addressing health challenges

The Academy is committed to improving health for everyone. Our Fellowship of the UK's leading experts selects and assesses key topics in biomedical research and health.

“The Academy leads the way in bringing key players together, allowing different sectors to identify areas of common concern and to find a way to fix problems.”

Sir David Cooksey GBE FMedSci, Founding Chairman of The Francis Crick Institute

“Science is the foundation for bettering health; Academy policy work is helping ensure the research, innovation and diversity essential to support a healthier and fairer future for all.”

Jeremy Farrar FRS FMedSci, Director of the Wellcome Trust

“The Academy can be relied upon as an authoritative and trusted source of independent expert comments to help navigate the complex questions that science seeks to address.”

Professor Dame Sally Davies DBE FRS FMedSci, former Chief Medical Officer

We believe public engagement is essential for robust policy making, ensuring that recommendations are appropriate and relevant to people's hopes and concerns. We have developed high quality public dialogue models to bring the views of the public and patients to the core of our science policy work.

Topics covered in our policy work include:

  • Enhancing the NHS-academia interface (2020). This report raises the alarm about the number of research active NHS staff who are finding it increasingly difficult to find time for research. It sets out a powerful vision to enhance the interface between academia and the NHS to make sure scientific discoveries boost the NHS and improve patient care.
  • Our data-driven future in healthcare (2018). Little is known about what the public and patients think about technologies that will rely on patient data for their development or use. We worked directly with patients and the public to create principles for the use of patient data that will help researchers and policy makers to navigate designing and regulating health technologies.
  • How can we all best use evidence? (2017) Millions of us take medicines every day and scientific research has given us more treatments than ever before. Our report scrutinised how we can all be supported to make better judgements about the benefits and harms of medicines. Subsequently, the Medical Research Council published a Charter to summarise the values that underpin their engagement with industry and the Bioindustry Association produced a new best practice guide to help bioscience companies communicate their work, both responding to our recommendations in this area. 
  • Improving the health of the public by 2040 (2016). While public health research has provided fundamental insights into human health, there is much we do not know about how to prevent and solve the many health challenges we face as a population. This report explores how to change our research environment to generate the evidence we will need in the future.
  • Animals containing human material (2011). This report called for additional oversight to ensure that innovative science using these animal models could flourish, within clearly defined ethical boundaries, and with public support. It led to the development of guidance for these experimental animals from the Home Office, Department of Health and Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.
  • Interspecies embryos (2007). This report was instrumental in influencing the Government’s decision to support this research and an invaluable source of information during debates on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. This report took less than four months to produce from start to finish; it was the first report on the topic in the world; and it was studied by bodies in the USA, Singapore, Australia and Denmark. The Academy was invited to assist the pre-legislative Scrutiny Committee for the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill and briefed Parliamentarians as it passed through Parliament.

Visit our policy projects directory for a full list.

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