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Message from the President: Pharmacology education and employment landscape report

Published: 12 Sep 2017 in Society news

Written by: David Webb, President, British Pharmacological Society

You may have heard about the Society’s Focus on Pharmacology programme, which aims to provide a better understanding of the current state of pharmacology teaching in the UK, while taking a broader look at the value of the discipline to the health and wealth of the nation. I’m delighted to let you know about some of the latest updates and outputs of that project, which are being launched today.

Firstly, the Society is releasing a report into the education and employment landscape for pharmacology in the UK, and I would encourage all our members to take a look. The report, which is accompanied by a summary blog by our education and policy leadership, has been commissioned from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), and makes for compelling reading. It indicates that pharmacology as an academic subject is growing, places are competitive and employment destinations are diverse. While the majority of careers are related to the life sciences as might be expected, our research demonstrates that a substantial number of pharmacology graduates find work in other sectors.

This research is a step in the right direction for the Society. We want to first understand the complex education and employment environment, so we can better serve an ever wider community of pharmacologists and clinical pharmacologists. This report gives us a snapshot of that environment, and offers us the chance to hone our resources to meet the needs that have been identified.

That’s why, alongside the report itself, we’re giving you a taster of our future careers resources by launching case studies and views from the Young Pharmacologists Advisory Group. That piece of work will be developed further in October 2017, which many of us will already have in our diaries as the first Clinical Pharmacology Month. This initiative aims primarily to raise the profile of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, but also aims to provide careers support for medical students and trainees.

Together, these projects signal the Society’s commitment to careers and professional development now and into the future as we develop our next five year strategy. All of this work and more will be highlighted at our annual meeting, Pharmacology 2017, where we look forward to hearing more from all our members about the support you need from us.

Another important aspect of the Society’s life is to reward excellence in pharmacology and therapeutics. With that in mind I am delighted to announce the award of 3 key prizes to some very deserving scientists and clinicians. Firstly, the Vogt Prize, which recognises excellence in postgraduate studies, has been awarded to Bastiaan Vliegenthart, PhD student (University of Edinburgh) and Peiran Yang, PhD student (University of Cambridge). The Schacter Award, which supports postgraduate members travelling to another institute to learn new techniques, has been awarded to Amazon Austin, PhD student (King’s College, London) and Patricia Centeno, PhD student (University of Manchester). Finally, the inaugural Dunlop Prize Lectureship has been awarded to Neeraj Dhaun, MD PhD (University of Edinburgh). I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all of our winners, and to encourage our wide and diverse membership to submit applications for prizes and awards in future.