Your Society: Talking about the next generation

Published: 25 May 2022
Category: Your Society

In my last blog, I spoke of the joys of spring (in the Northern hemisphere!) and my hope for a vibrant year. Well, I’m pleased to say that so far, 2022 at the Society is proving to be just that, and so I’m delighted to start this month’s blog by highlighting the creation of the new Sir Colin Dollery Clinical Pharmacology Training Award.

Sir Colin, an Honorary Fellow of the Society who passed away in 2020, was a pioneer of Clinical Pharmacology, and this award is aimed at supporting the future of the discipline by encouraging medical students to pursue it as a specialty. By honouring Sir Colin with this training award, we recognise his own commitment to the next generation, and help pave the way for clinical pharmacologists of the future - a key pillar of our strategy for the next three years. We are over the moon to be able to offer this bursary of £6,000 to three medical students in their third or fourth year of study. The closing date for 2022 is Sunday, 12 June, so if this is of interest, we encourage you to apply as soon as possible, or to share news of this award with the medical students in your network.

On the topic of funding for those early on in their careers, I am pleased to announce that we have just launched a fundraiser to support early career researchers (ECRs) who wish to take part in next year’s World Congress of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology (WCP2023). The Congress, which we are hosting in Glasgow, has a long-standing history of providing ECRs with a platform to present and discuss their research, learn about the latest advances in their fields, celebrate their achievements, and network with their peers. If you can, I encourage you to donate to this fund to help support our next generation of pharmacologists attend and participate in WCP2023.

Now, on to the latest issue of Pharmacology Matters, published earlier this month. It features a number of articles written by, or for, our early career colleagues, such as an interview with the AJ Clark Studentship award winner and a piece by Dr James Curneen about his early career researchers journey and interactions with the Society. The publication, which also includes the winning and runner up articles from our Junior Science Writers Competition and an update from our Early Career Advisory Group, is an interesting and informative must-read for all our members, and I’d like to thank our inspirational Editorial Board who have worked extremely hard to produce this issue. You can read the latest issue now.

Our events team has also been active in the past few weeks, hosting a fantastic series of three BPS Live webinars, focused on addressing the drug discovery process of rapid-acting antidepressants both pre-clinically and clinically. The series, aimed at new drug developers developing their expertise as well as those already established in the field, was made possible thanks to our partnership with Transpharmation, a global Neuroscience-specialised Contract Research Organisation (CRO). This type of commercial collaboration has proved to be a fantastic way for organisations to demonstrate their commitment to promoting and advancing pharmacology - which also happens to be another of the Society’s strategic aims. We offer a wide range of partnership opportunities and would love to partner with other organisations that share our goals, so please do get in touch with the team about partnering with us to build your brand and elevate your voice.  

While I am a huge supporter of webinars, and discussions, and events, in the digital space, on a personal note, I’ve been really enjoying the chance to reconnect with people in person this spring. It was such a joy to visit the Medical Pharmacology team at Swansea University, and to attend the Royal Society of Biology AGM, as a representative of the Society, where I met with many of our sister societies. I’m sure those of you who’ve attended the Society’s in-person events recently, such as the recent Educators Networking Meeting, would agree that sharing ideas face-to-face is refreshing after such a long time collaborating virtually. If you haven’t been to any in-person events yet, then we look forward to seeing you at our future sessions, whether that be the President's Lecture in June, our joint meeting with ELRIG in July, New Modalities in Pharmacology and Drug Discovery (including the workshop on PROTACs), or our annual flagship meeting, Pharmacology 2022, which is back with a bang in -person this September in Liverpool.

However we connect in the coming weeks and months, whether that be digitally, in person, or even with the old fashioned telephone, rest assured that the team and I are always here to help you, our members. You are at the heart of everything we do, and our progress together this spring is testament to our joint commitment and collaboration. Here’s to the rest of 2022.

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Rachel Lambert-Forsyth

Rachel is Chief Executive of the BPS and responsible for delivering the vision, mission and strategy of the British Pharmacological Society, and its subsidiary companies. Rachel is also Managing Director of BPS Assessment Ltd.