Looking ahead to the World Congress of Basic & Clinical Pharmacology 2023

As President of the World Congress of Basic & Clinical Pharmacology 2023 (WCP2023), I am excited to welcome delegates from across the globe to Glasgow, Scotland on 2-7 July 2023. We have recently opened registration (early-bird deadline 17 March 2023) and completed our first round of abstract submission (with over 1,000 in the bank!). This indicates that the global pharmacology community want to meet and are enthusiastic to join our congress – giving us confidence that we will be hosting a vibrant meeting in summer 2023.

It is an honour for the British Pharmacological Society (BPS) to be leading on the World Congress in 2023. This meeting is at the heart of the pharmacological calendar and offers a fantastic opportunity to spend almost an entire week meeting with friends, colleagues and potential collaborators and learning about cutting-edge pharmacological research. This congress only takes place on a four-yearly cycle (five in this instance) – and is a scientific and networking event that you shouldn’t miss.

I know this to be true from my own experience at previous World Congresses, having attended the wonderful meetings in Beijing, Copenhagen, Cape Town and Kyoto, and found these global events to provide an opportunity to have fun, enjoy local culture, gain ideas for research and build new collaborations. Online meetings have been a lifeline during COVID, but there is no substitute for a face-to-face meeting.

Now, as President of the World Congress, working closely with Professor Amrita Ahluwalia, Secretary General for WCP2023, and the excellent BPS team, I appreciate having the opportunity to shape the meeting, putting together what I hope you will see is a very strong scientific and social programme, and ensuring this meeting can be enjoyed by as many delegates as possible.

How we’ve developed WCP2023

Our core aim for WCP2023 is to spotlight the best research in pharmacology, through a combination of keynote talks and a wide range of symposia and workshops covering the whole spectrum of pharmacology. We are also planning that the meeting is a broadly collaborative venture, involving academia and industry, supporting diversity and inclusion, and highlighting the latest discoveries and innovative research, as well as new developments in education.

However, the Congress is much more than that. A major focus is on Early Career Researchers (ECRs), for whom we are doing all we can to make the meeting accessible, affordable, and inclusive – including mentoring sessions and a series of events specifically focused on the needs of, and challenges faced by, ECRs. We want to give everyone a chance to present their research through poster viewings and oral communication sessions and create significant opportunities for networking.

For Amrita and I, this project has been a major focus and responsibility since 2014, when the Society was awarded the Congress by colleagues from IUPHAR-affiliated societies. We have aimed to build on previous Congresses, working closely with IUPHAR, and look forward to hosting a vibrant face-to-face post-COVID meeting in 2023. We have built a strong team within BPS, and we are now in a good place to deliver on our original promise.

Coming to Glasgow was an early decision. It has an amazing state-of-the-art conference centre that regularly wins UK awards, the Scottish Event Centre on the River Clyde. It is arguably the best in the UK, and closely associated with great restaurants and a wide range of hotels.

How you can join us

This six-day programme is best experienced in full, and we would encourage you to purchase a full event ticket to make the most of everything the Congress has to offer. Ticket prices can be found on the WCP2023 website – we have reduced fees for those who register early, as well as for ECRs and IUPHAR society colleagues. Day tickets are also available.

Registration includes access to the scientific programme, free on-site lunches and refreshments, and much of the social programme for the days you book for.

To support those submitting abstracts, many IUPHAR member societies, including the British Pharmacological Society and the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET), have travel bursaries available to their members. If you live in a lower-income country, you may also be eligible to apply for the WCP2023 Travel Bursary worth up to £750. To support participation from ECRs, I would encourage you to make donations to our ECR fund and buy our congress T-shirt which is available when you register.

Pictured: Professor David Webb and Professor Amrita Ahluwalia in the new WCP t-shirts, which are available to purchase with registration.

For those who require accommodation, we have secured discounted hotel rates, which are open until May 2023.

Highlights from the programme

I am very proud of our scientific programme, which boasts plenaries, symposia, and sessions covering the full range of pharmacology.  I would personally like to highlight six key individuals involved in the programme: first, Garret Fitzgerald, from Ireland and the US, from whom I have had much good advice and encouragement over the years, who has a clear vision for translational medicine and has kindly agreed to open the meeting; second, Dame Sally Davies, from the UK, who has done so much to address the crisis of antimicrobial resistance; third, a long-time Japanese/US colleague, Masashi Yanagisawa, a clinical scientist who discovered and developed both the endothelin and orexin pathways as druggable targets; fourth, Michael Sofia from the US, whom I heard recently speaking in Edinburgh about the long road to discovery of a drug to cure hepatitis C, with huge impact on global health; and finally my long-time UK colleague, Sir Patrick Vallance, who will draw on experience in working at the highest levels in academia, industry and government (during COVID) and has kindly agreed to close the meeting. Finally, and of critical importance has been working with my friend and close colleague, Amrita Ahluwalia in putting together our programme, who has been cheerful and very hardworking, despite her academic commitments and her work as Editor-in-Chief of the British Journal of Pharmacology.

Have a look at the full list of keynote speakers – every one is a world leader in their field!

The perfect place to network

One of my favourite things about returning to in-person meetings this year was the social, interactive element. It was fantastic to get together with friends and colleagues, many of whom I hadn’t seen since before the pandemic.

With that in mind, we’ve put together a social programme designed to encourage those important conversations and new collaborations, while also having an opportunity to celebrate Scotland’s rich cultural history.

As well as the academic programme, full ticket holders will gain access to the opening and closing ceremonies, a welcome reception, and the IUPHAR general assembly and reception.

You can also upgrade your experience by purchasing tickets to the Ceilidh Evening at Platform and/or the Congress Dinner at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum (its art will be accessible to view). I would highly recommend these eventsnot just for the social component, but also to take in two of Glasgow’s most interesting venues.

While in Glasgow…

There is so much to see in Glasgow and the surrounding area. Whether you want to take a morning walk and marvel at the architecture or enjoy the nightlife, there is something here for you. Turn any corner, and you’ll find music, fashion, museums, and friendly locals.

I worked and lived in Glasgow myself some years ago and now live in Edinburgh. Scotland is a brilliant country, with a very strong cultural identity, wonderful lochs (Loch Lomond is close, Loch Ness a little further), mountains and islands. It is also the birthplace of golf (The Old Course at St Andrews is a pilgrimage for many) and malt whisky. And, of course, its capital city – Edinburgh – is only an hour away, with amazing historic churches and castles, and an Old/New Town that are a World Heritage site.

A Congress for our community

We want our entire pharmacology community to have the opportunity to join us at WCP2023, and to have an outstanding time while they are with us.

If you have any feedback or advice on ways in which we can achieve this, we would love to hear it, and encourage you to get in touch.

The World Congress of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology will take place in Glasgow, Scotland on 2-7 July 2023. Early bird registration is open until 17 March 2023, and early career researchers have until 12 June 2023 to take advantage of their discounted rates.


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Published: 15 Dec 2022

About the author

Professor David Webb CBE MD DSc FRSE FMedSci
President, WCP2023

David is a retired physician, but still active as a researcher in pharmacology based at the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Cardiovascular Science, which he established in 1998. His research focuses on the pathophysiology of hypertension, renal disease and the structure and function of blood vessels, with a major focus on translational/mechanistic/proof-of-concept studies. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and Academy of Medical Sciences, past President of the British Pharmacological Society, and President of IUPHAR’s World Congress of Pharmacology to be held at the SEC in Glasgow from 2 to 7 July 2023.

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