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Published: 27 Mar 2019
Category: Your Society
By Jono Bruun

I hope many of you reading this were among the 1,200 people who joined us in December for Pharmacology 2018, our annual meeting. Thanks to everyone who attended, presented, and helped us organise such a successful and enjoyable event.

If you visited our stand, you may well have ended up chatting with our staff about how the Society can better engage with members, and how we can support members to engage with their colleagues and students back in their own departments or labs. We were canvassing opinion about how we can improve on our existing Affinity Groups as networks for members with common interests. We wanted to get to the bottom of what was important to members when it comes to networking with their peers, and what we could provide that we perhaps don’t currently. I look forward to updating you on our plans soon.

Could you be a pharmacology Ambassador?

We were also promoting and talking to attendees about our Ambassadors Scheme. We launched the scheme formally last summer after a year-long pilot, and I am pleased to say that since then plenty of members have volunteered to become ambassadors to champion pharmacology in their institution. Take a look at our website to find out where we have ambassadors so far – and if you don’t see your own institution or even part of the country there, why not fix that by becoming one yourself?

The ultimate goal of the Ambassadors Scheme and all the other strands of what we call “engagement” is for the Society to become more present in members’ departments, labs and day-to-day work. It is always a thrill to see the value our members place on getting together at the annual meeting (and on a smaller scale at other meetings and events throughout the year). I know that it can be especially rewarding for members who may be the only pharmacologist in their lab.

The vision of the Ambassadors Scheme is to have a Society Ambassador active in every university department in the UK (and, in time, beyond) where pharmacology is taught. We want to support these members to run their own engagement and outreach events by supplying resources, funding, advice – whatever we can.

This should help us deliver on the goals set out in our five-year strategy to “lead the formation of valuable networks that reflect our position at the heart of the global pharmacology community”, and to “be inclusive in all we do”.

I can’t discuss the Ambassadors Scheme without paying tribute to Teesha Bhuruth, who recently left us as Engagement Manager to take an exciting next step in her career at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Teesha set up and steered the scheme from day one. I don’t feel I am exaggerating when I say it would not have happened without her personal enthusiasm and dedication. Many of you will have met or at least been in contact with Teesha during her three years with the Society, so will know the qualities she brought to the role. As far as ambassadors go, we never had a better one.

Pharmacology on the move

Finally, as you will have seen, at Pharmacology 2018 we announced that from this year we are moving our annual meeting outside London – first stop Edinburgh. When I made the announcement at our AGM I said that we want to meet our members where they are. Of course we have large numbers of members in the south east of England, so this change is going to mean travel for them. But we feel that it is only fair to now start taking our meeting to some major venues in and around the UK, all of which will have excellent national and international transport links, after so many years in London.

I hope the message is clear – from the Ambassador programme to our decision to hold our annual congress all over the UK, we are determined to support our members in their places of work, widen participation in the Society and encourage new interactions with pharmacology from those who might otherwise be absent from our community.

If we can do that, the ultimate prize is a vibrant membership of individuals and groups who feel more involved, more willing to contribute, and more able to benefit from the Society in their daily working lives.

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Published: 27 Mar 2019
Category: Your Society
By Jono Bruun

About the author

Jono Brüün

Jono joined the Society in 2009 as Head and then Director of Communications. He became CEO in June 2012 and is responsible for delivering the Society’s five-year strategic plan across seven main areas of development, including its plan to diversify revenue. As CEO, Jono has overall responsibility for strategic and financial management, business development, human resources, policy development, governance and the oversight of projects that are designed to support the UK and international pharmacology community.

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