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Your Society

Published: 26 Jun 2017
Category: Your Society
By Jono Bruun

It’s quite something to think that by the end of this year we will have delivered and reported on our 2012–2017 strategy. I’m struck by just how far we as a Society have come in that time: increasing and diversifying our membership, ramping up our engagement with policymakers, and sharpening our brand and how we present ourselves to the wider world, among other achievements.

All this has been on my mind in recent weeks as we here at The Schild Plot, along with Council, prepared for and then held a Strategy Retreat in Manchester in May to begin to set out the Society’s strategic direction for the next five years. We are now in a position where we are strong and savvy enough to begin to lift our eyes above the operational and focus more on the broader vision for where we are and where we want to go next. I look forward to being able to share more information about this ongoing work with members in the coming months.

Back in the here and now, our Education, Training and Policy team have been busy communicating the Society and its members’ views via a series of consultation responses to government and other policymakers. This has included responses to the government’s Industrial Strategy green paper, the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s consultation on the second Research Excellence Framework, and the General Medical Council’s consultation on a new Medical Licensing Assessment.

This is exactly where we need to be: drawing on the wealth of expertise within our membership to position ourselves as informed and important stakeholders in the big decisions that affect medical science in all its forms.

For the same reason I was pleased that we were able, in May, to sign the Science Media Centre’s letter to the UK Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood expressing concerns about how government was applying – or not being clear enough about – “purdah” to scientists and their work during the UK General Election.

Someone who has been with us on our journey throughout the last five years, and has played a huge part in helping the Society develop in that time, is Kat Steer, our Head of Communications and Membership. I’m sad to report that Kat will be leaving us in August as she relocates out of London. In almost five years with the Society, Kat has led a number of important initiatives to improve how we interact with members and how we communicate both to them and to the wider science community, and the public. She masterminded our rebrand and new website in 2014–15, has increased our media profile, and put in place member engagement surveys and recruitment and retention strategies that now form the backbone of how we operate. In 2012 we had 3,100 members; today we have 4,200. I can think of no better illustration of Kat’s impact than that. I and all her colleagues in the office wish Kat the very best for the future.

This is also an opportunity to say a heartfelt thanks to Felicity Gavins, who is leaving her post as Pharmacology Matters Editor-in-Chief this summer after three years in the role. Felicity has done a tremendous job, modernising the magazine and overseeing its move into the blogosphere alongside its traditional format. Thanks for everything, Felicity – and welcome to our Editor-in-Chief, Margaret Cunningham, who takes over as Editor-in-Chief from 1 July!

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