The Academy of Medical Sciences is a registered charity and company limited by guarantee. The company was incorporated on 2 March 1998. The Academy is governed by its Memorandum and Articles of Association. The Council members, who are the Trustees of the Academy, are directors under company law.
The Academy is one of the five National Academies of the UK, alongside the Royal Society, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the British Academy and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. The Academy elects Fellows on the basis of sustained and outstanding contributions to the breadth of medical research, including biomedical, clinical and population sciences, as well as veterinary medicine, dentistry, nursing, medical law, health economics and bioethics. Fellows of the Academy are elected for life and designate themselves with the suffix ‘FMedSci’. 46 new Fellows were elected in 2012-13 from a pool of over 350 candidates through a rigorous process of peer review, scrutiny from seven Sectional Committees and final election by Council in April. New Fellows are admitted to the Academy at a ceremony in June.
The Academy is governed by a Council of 29 Fellows, who meet five times per year. Members of Council are elected from the Fellowship, with nominees confirmed by a ballot of the Fellowship. Council may, from time to time, co-opt additional Fellows to provide a balance of expertise. Fellows elected to Council are amongst the UK’s leading medical scientists and hold senior positions in medical schools, universities, research institutes, industry and the civil service; they are well qualified to provide the Academy with the necessary guidance and leadership to achieve its objectives. New Council members are provided with information relating to their responsibilities as trustees of the charity and are invited to join newly elected Fellows at an Academy induction seminar, held during the annual Admission Ceremony in June. Fellows elected to Council hold office for three years before retiring at the Annual General Meeting in November.
The Council includes six Honorary Officers: President, Vice-President (Clinical), Vice-President (Non-clinical), Treasurer, Registrar and Foreign Secretary. The Honorary Officers are elected by Council from nominations received from the Fellowship; they hold office for five years, with one (or two) of the six retiring each year.
The Honorary Officers and Council set the strategic direction of the Academy and oversee the work of the secretariat. Academy activities are selected by Council for the contribution they make towards the Academy’s strategic goals, and are informed by the independent opinion, experience and expertise of the Fellowship. Council is advised by several committees, including the group of Honorary Officers, who meet seven times per year. The Finance Committee meets three times a year and reports directly to Council; it reviews the audited financial statements and recommends their approval to Council, reviews the management of the Academy’s assets, reviews reports from the external auditors and oversees the implementation of any recommendations thereafter.
The Academy is grateful for the valuable contribution to its work that is made voluntarily by both Fellows and non-Fellows. Fellows and external advisers serve the Academy without compensation in a range of activities: as Officers, Council members and committee members, as members of working groups, as speakers and participants in symposia, as providers of evidence for Academy studies, as peer reviewers for grant applications, as mentors to medical trainees, and in many more ways. Fellows also act as Academy representatives on many external bodies.
The Finance Committee advises Council and the Honorary Officers on the risks to which the Academy is exposed. It does this by regularly reviewing all elements of Academy business to ensure that potential risks are identified and processes implemented to mitigate those risks. The key strategic risks of the Academy are the risk to its reputation and its need for continued earned income.
Management and staffing
The Executive Director is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Academy and its activities, and is supported by a Senior Management Team of three Directors responsible for Finance and Resource, Grants and Careers, and Medical Science Policy. The Executive Director leads a permanent staff of 22.
Council has discussed the implications of the provisions of the Charities Act 2011, which states that all charities must demonstrate that they are established for public benefit and have had due regard to the public benefit guidance issued by the Charity Commission. Council is confident that activities planned under the six priority programmes fulfil the Academy’s aims to ensure that advances in medical science are translated into healthcare benefits to the public.
The Academy’s targeted research funding schemes are offered to a range of aspiring medical researchers. Each of the schemes operate specific eligibility and funding criteria, but all schemes are aimed at supporting those who demonstrate significant potential. The schemes are widely publicised and a robust selection process is operated; final appointments are made by an expert panel, which may draw on peer reviews by Academy Fellows. Grant holders are required to submit progress reports, which are reviewed