As you may be aware, I am at home recovering from a spinal injury sustained in a car accident in Zimbabwe, where I was visiting one of our research units; I hope to be back after Easter. In the meanwhile, I am immensely grateful to Martin Wilkins who has stepped in as Acting Dean while I am away from College, and would also like to thank all of my colleagues for their well-wishes and their continuing support of the Faculty during this time. My enforced spell of reflection is, of course, very frustrating given the outstanding opportunities that currently stand before the Faculty, and the College as a whole. However, it has afforded me some time to reflect on how best to realise these emerging opportunities for Medicine.
In July 2018, not long after my appointment as Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, I wrote in the College Staff Briefing about the distinctive environment that medical science now enjoys at Imperial. I wrote of the extraordinary benefits of Medicine now being well-embedded within the wider ecosystem of excellent fundamental science at the College, while working translationally with our AHSC network of NHS partners. I also described the new opportunities that have been catalysed across the College by the development of our White City Campus, particularly through exploiting adjacency to the Hammersmith Campus. Since I wrote that piece, Novartis have announced their intention to relocate their UK headquarters to White City, elegantly demonstrating the ‘pulling power’ of our emerging life sciences cluster. (more…)
As you can imagine, after the College’s high profile international search I was delighted to to be interviewed and subsequently appointed as Dean for our Faculty. Having first joined St Mary’s Medical School as a Wellcome Clinical Training Fellow in 1982 it is an honour to now lead our Faculty.
Since my appointment as Acting Dean in October 2017, I have learnt much more about the work that is undertaken within Medicine and have had the opportunity to work with HoDs and Vice Deans to consider how we can effectively position ourselves as an organisation and across our campuses to best support the immense strengths of our Faculty.
For our research strategy, I am eager to build thematically where we have ambition and critical mass, recruit and support early career researchers across the Faculty with a particular focus on mentorship and career progression.
Having spent my career at Imperial focussed on research, my steepest learning has been in education. Our undergraduate School of Medicine is the landmark which defines our reputation nationally and internationally; as there will be five new medical schools next year, we need to ensure that our medical education remains excellent, attracting the highest quality of students and producing the best trained doctors.
I shall be working with the Vice Provost (Education), our Vice Dean (Education), our Faculty Education Office and departmental leads to continue to enhance and develop all our UG and PGT courses, supporting the ambitious learning and teaching strategy across the College. Meanwhile, in July I shall be glowing with pride at LKC Medicine – our joint medical school in Singapore with NTU – when the first 52 students will graduate. This most successful partnership, Imperial’s first such foray internationally, is a tribute to all of the work of Jenny Higham, Martyn Partridge, Des Johnston, Martin Lupton, Naomi Low-Beer and the teams that have supported them. I thank them all now on behalf of the Faculty.
Professor Jonathan Weber
Dean of the Faculty of Medicine
This is my first month as Acting Dean of the Faculty, following Gavin Screaton’s departure to become Head of the Division of Medical Sciences at Oxford at the end of September. After 14 very successful years at Imperial, we wish Gavin every success as he takes on his new challenge.
My first few weeks in this role have been busy (inevitably) and fascinating in equal measure; I have been briefed on all the very wide responsibilities which sit with the Dean. It has helped that three of the four Deans of Faculty at Imperial are also in their first month, and we have been learning from each other. Within the Faculty we also welcome two new members of staff to the senior management team this month:
- Dr Chris Watkins has joined us as Faculty Operating Officer from the MRC, where he was Director of Innovation, as well as having recently completed a part-time secondment as Head of Knowledge Exchange for the Francis Crick Institute.
- Dr Des Walsh has taken up post as Director of Research Strategy for the Faculty, bringing to this role a wealth of experience from his last roles as Head of Infections and Immunity and, most recently, Head of Population & Systems Medicine at the MRC.
I look forward to working with both Chris and Des and all the senior leads here to support the Faculty’s work over the coming year. (more…)