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Your Society

Published: 09 Apr 2018
Category: Your Society
By Jono Bruun

I want to take this opportunity to share a few thoughts about the Society’s new five-year strategy.

New strategy, new focus

If you haven’t had a chance to read our new  strategy yet I would urge you to do so – as with all our work, our members were at the forefront of our minds as we developed it. I would particularly like to draw out a couple of new aspects of what we want to achieve over the next few years, and how we want to go about it.

Firstly, it is no accident that the very first objective we set out in the strategy is “To remove barriers to participation and success, while welcoming equality and celebrating diversity, and being inclusive in all we do”. I would like to think that this has always been one of our underpinning values as a Society, but in thinking about the new strategy we recognised that it is far too important not to be explicit about. One of the wonderful things about our membership is that as it grows, it continues to become more and more diverse. We want not only to welcome that but to champion it.

Another pre-existing but now, I hope, more powerfully articulated objective for the Society is “To deliver clear, relevant and accessible advice to policy makers”. Over the past year or two we have invested more effort and resources in our policy work than ever before. This has already enabled us to get seats at the table and our voices heard in debates where we may have struggled to have an impact before. 

To give just one recent example, Anna Zecharia, our Director of Policy and Public Affairs, was recently invited to represent the Society at the Commons Science and Technology Committee’s Brexit Science and Innovation summit. Being able to participate in high-level forums like this allows us to follow through on the promise we made to members after the June 2016 referendum, which was that we would ensure the voice of pharmacology and clinical pharmacology is heard on this most important and complex of issues.

I’d also like to expand on our stated intention to “develop sustainable, ethical new sources of revenue and ensure more of the Society’s activities are self-sustaining”. First and foremost this means continuing to develop develop the British Pharmacological Society Assessment Ltd (BPSA), the subsidiary company we spun out of the Society in 2017 to explore revenue-generating opportunities for our prescribing skills platform (delivered in the UK since 2014 as the Prescribing Safety Assessment, in partnership with the Medical Schools Council).

2018 is going to be a big year for BPSA, we will be pursuing opportunities to introduce our prescribing assessment and skills offer around the world.

Staff news

This step-change at BPSA leads me neatly into welcoming Angus Metcalfe to the Society. Angus joined us in February, taking on the brand new role of Sales Director for BPSA. He brings with him a wealth of top-level commercial experience in scientific, technical and medical publishing, elearning and securing global commercial deals. 

February also saw the departure of our Head of Meetings & Events, Susanne Schweda, after three years as a much valued member of the team at the Schild Plot; and the arrival of her successor, Lindsay McClenaghan, who joins us after several years at the British Society for Rheumatology.

By the time you read this we will also have said goodbye and good luck to Alison Bate, who has been with us since August 2017, first as an intern and latterly as interim Education, Training and Policy Officer. I’d also like to welcome her successor in that role, Abigail Harris, who joins us fresh from completing an internship at the Royal Society and a PhD in genetics at the University of Oxford.

I should finish by acknowledging how much I have been enjoying working with Steve Hill and Munir Pirmohamed in their new roles as President and President-Elect, respectively. 

Steve and Munir have both made significant contributions to the Society over a number of years; notably Steve as President-Elect for the past two years, and Munir as Vice-President Clinical for the past six. They have been important contributors to developing our new strategy, and I’m greatly looking forward to working with them to put it into action this year and beyond.

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