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Bringing pharmacology to life: updates to the Ambassadors scheme

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Published: 24 Mar 2021
By Sorrel Bunting

In 2016, the Society’s Engagement Committee (then known as the Policy and Public Engagement Committee) set up a pilot scheme with the aim to promote the Society and pharmacology to diverse audiences around the world. From this pilot, the Ambassadors scheme was launched officially in 2018, and with Ambassadors based in Australia, Germany, Ireland, Malaysia, Nigeria, Turkey, Uganda and the UK, the global scheme is going from strength to strength!

The Ambassadors scheme is an important part of the Society’s engagement with current and future members, helping to raise awareness of the important global impacts of pharmacology.

Are you interested in inspiring the next generation of pharmacologists? Helping fellow pharmacologists to make the most of exciting opportunities to progress in pharmacology? Raising awareness of the Society and the benefits of joining our global community? Or championing pharmacology research around the world? Then the Ambassadors scheme could be for you! Read on to find out more about the recent updates to the Ambassadors scheme and how you can get involved.

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What is an Ambassador?

Society Ambassadors raise awareness of pharmacology by sharing their science, helping different audiences to access and engage with pharmacology research, and representing the Society around the world.​

What is the role of an Ambassador?

  1. to connect the whole pharmacology community with the Society and to the support we offer to pharmacologists around the world

  2. to engage diverse public audiences with pharmacology ​

Our Ambassadors are encouraged to interpret this broad remit in their own ways. We deliberately keep the types of activities Ambassadors can undertake open, to make the most of their unique contexts, local opportunities, networks, personal experiences, and interests. For example, Ambassadors might work with community and school groups to showcase exciting potential careers in pharmacology. At other times, Ambassadors might create opportunities for current pharmacologists to access support and guidance from the Society and the global pharmacology community. For Ambassadors carrying out activities that engage the public with pharmacology research, the audience can range from patients, community and school groups, to key stakeholders like policy makers. ​

Meet the Ambassador team!

There are currently 19 Ambassadors and three Ambassador Coordinators working with the Society. With Ambassadors across the UK and around the world, take a look and explore whether there is an Ambassador local to you.

If there is not an Ambassador in your area, would you consider becoming an Ambassador for your local pharmacology network? You can find out more about becoming an Ambassador here.

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What support can you access as an Ambassador?

As the Ambassador programme began to grow and new Ambassadors were recruited from around the world, we recognised a need to provide new ways for the network to come together and access support to help them engage with different audiences. So, in 2020 the Engagement Committee worked with the Ambassador Coordinators to update and develop new resources for the Ambassadors, including new web pages, digital and print resources. These resources aim to help each Ambassador effectively engage with their audiences, develop key skills and make the most of opportunities for development.

In addition to their fellow Ambassadors and Ambassador Coordinators, the Ambassadors also have the support of the Society’s Engagement Committee and the Engagement Manager, Sorrel Bunting. This support covers discussing ideas and making the most of opportunities, through to support with skill development and questions around topics like safeguarding.

Ambassador support includes:

  • Networking: Ambassadors come together for regular virtual meetings to discuss different topics, share their plans and progress, and build collaborations. They also have access to the online Community and a dedicated Ambassadors Network as a space to come together, share ideas and build connections. When it is possible, we are looking forward to bringing many of our Ambassadors together in person again too!

  • Collaboration: The Society has three dedicated Ambassador Coordinators: Aisah Aubdool, Anja Mueller and Steve Tucker (pictured). They each work with a group of Ambassadors to provide support and guidance and to encourage collaboration. Recently, a group of Ambassadors collaborated to run a successful virtual event exploring ‘Teaching and Learning of Pharmacology during COVID 19: Students’ Perspective’. With over 200 students and academics joining the session from Australia, Malaysia, Myanmar and the UK, it was a truly international collaboration!

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  • Funding: In addition to the Society’s Engagement Grants, which are open to all members, Ambassadors are able to apply for Ambassadors Grants to provide additional funding to support their activities. Ambassadors are also encouraged to apply for Engagement Training Bursaries to support them in developing important skills to help them to connect and engage effectively with different groups and audiences.

  • Resources: The Society has been updating and collating a number of resources to help the Ambassadors and wider membership community to engage effectively with different audiences, from younger children through to the pharmacology community world-wide. You’ll find careers-related resources tailored by age or career stage, resources to engage different public audiences, and an array of information on membership and the Society. If you are interested in finding out more about any of these resources, or would like to explore creating a resource with the Society, please get in touch.

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    Our Ambassadors and Society team have created a number of resources, activities, and events for different audiences and groups, including pharmacology quizzes, hands on medicine makers activities, and exciting events! Visit bps.ac.uk/ambassadors to explore all of the Ambassador activity!

    Our Ambassadors explore activities and engage with incredibly diverse audiences around the world, helping to inspire future pharmacologists, connect the community world-wide and spark excitement about pharmacology research. We are very proud of their achievements so far and look forward to seeing the scheme continue to grow over the coming years.

    Interested in getting involved?

    You can find out more about the Ambassadors scheme by visiting bps.ac.uk/ambassadors, here you’ll find information on the application process, the types of activities Ambassadors are involved in around the world, and much more.

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Published: 24 Mar 2021
By Sorrel Bunting

About the author

Sorrel Bunting

https://www.bps.ac.uk/getmedia/664834c6-0139-472c-adea-50df5178704e/Sorrel-Bunting.jpg.aspx?width=503&height=334

Sorrel is the Engagement Manager at the British Pharmacological Society, having joined the team in 2019. Following the completion of her PhD in Cell Signalling and Cancer Cell Biology at King’s College London, Sorrel’s career has focussed on engaging diverse audiences with science and health. Her current role at the British Pharmacological Society encompasses both public engagement and membership engagement activities. You can get in touch with Sorrel by emailing getinvolved@bps.ac.uk.

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