President's Message: Starting my term as President

Published: 22 Feb 2024
By Professor Sir Mark Caulfield

I began my two-year term as President on 1 January 2024, and would like to start my first blog by thanking Professor Clive Page, who was an excellent President of the BPS in challenging times. I also welcome our excellent new Trustees Mike Spedding (Industry) and Jim Ritter (Clinical), and our newly elected Vice Presidents, Mark Evans (Meetings) and Pasquale Maffia (Engagement). Finally, I want to give a warm welcome to our new President Elect, Cherry Wainwright, who we also should thank for her term as Vice President (Meetings). I would also like to thank Sarah for her work as Vice President (Engagement), Steve Rees as our Trustee (Industry) and Rachel Quinn as our Trustee (Policy) for their support of the BPS.

During my presidency, I am going to focus on the following key areas for the British Pharmacological Society:

  1. Enhancing our membership and the Early Career community by building on the BPS reputation for being the home of a vibrant young scientific community, where people can find their feet in therapeutic innovation, whether they call themselves pharmacologists or not. I will try to expand the AJ Clark PhD Studentship programme, with an aim to award more studentships by securing external funds. The Society’s decision a few years ago to go back to funding the whole studentship has stimulated wider university proposals, and we want to be able to offer this valuable opportunity to as many people as we can.
  2. Our meetings are cherished and I really want Pharmacology 2024 in Harrogate (save the date!) to build on the huge success of the World Congress of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology 2023 (WCP2023) in Glasgow (with my deepest thanks to David Webb, Amrita Ahluwalia, Cherry and the BPS team). Registration will open soon, so please start planning your attendance and get ready for a great annual conference. We will also be organising more Focus Meetings too, based in universities or other affordable locations with the support of our members.
  3. The BPS will celebrate 50 years of the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology on 23 April 2024 at the John Vane Science Centre in Charterhouse Square, London combining a National Clinical Pharmacology Training Day with a symposium celebrating the past, present and future of clinical pharmacology, followed by a networking reception. 
  4. Getting Pharmacogenomics into the NHS must be a key priority for the BPS, building on the excellent Personalised Prescribing report we produced with the Royal College of Physicians.
  5. Ensuring the secure future of the UK Prescribing Safety Assessment by continuing to promote the benefits of having a workforce with a consistent, standardised level of knowledge surrounding the safe and effective use of medicines.
  6. Partnering with other societies and industry remains a priority to extend our reach and bring new scientific perspectives to our members and the wider scientific community.

Our Council, with the BPS officers, will need to keep a close eye on the Society’s finances as income from our journals has been impacted by open access, and industrial sponsorship is very limited. We may need to ask members to contribute more than we have done historically, but it seems post pandemic many learned societies are going through similarly tricky challenges. I hope you will help us in the coming years to sustain the BPS, and to help us continue to provide opportunities for pharmacologists at all career levels.

Finally, I would like to see members more closely involved in propelling BPS projects forward. We encourage you to support our work by contributing your expertise, connecting us to other pharmacologists and supporting our efforts to promote our work. If you would like to learn more about how to get involved in our work, please get in touch. Please also contact us if you have news to share or have an idea you would like to explore.

I look forward to working with you to take this wonderful society to a new level!

President of the British Pharmacological Society


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About the author

Professor Sir Mark Caulfield

Professor Sir Mark Caulfield is President of the British Pharmacological Society. He is Professor of Clinical Pharmacology at Queen Mary University of London and the CEO of Barts Life Sciences, a research and innovation partnership between Queen Mary University of London and Barts Health NHS Trust. He is also Vice Principal for Health for Queen Mary’s Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry.

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