Thursday, 18 June 2009

A day of two halves

I spent Tuesday morning at the Human Tissue Authority (see an earlier blog about this). We were looking at the Communications Strategy – how the authority has performed and what the challenges are moving forward. It aims for transparency in everything it does and it is worth going on the HTA website (new and very good) to get a feeling for the range of activities. Every one of us may be touched by the work that the HTA regulates – literally from cradle to grave: from the donation of umbilical cord blood when a baby is born through to the coroner’s service if we die unexpectedly. And of course, if you are unfortunate enough to develop cancer (many other diseases as well) you may be asked if you will donate tissue removed for research – we hope you will.

One of the authority members, Professor James Ironside (Professor of Clinical Neuropathology at the University of Edinburgh), is leaving the authority as he is going to the Medical Research Council as Director to set up a UK Brain Banks Network. As we are currently doing the final due diligence on our national breast cancer tissue bank, I now have another source of friendly advice along the way. For more information have a look at the MRC website.

Hotfooted it back to Campaign’s induction day for our new scientists; these are the scientists who were successful in gaining funding from us in 2008. We bring them all to London, they talk to us about their research; they meet each other (and many collaborations have started this way) and we get to meet them. We also talk to them about how we raise the money and how we need them to help us in communicating science to the non-scientific world – a very important part of what we do. As always a very awe-inspiring group – having sat in on the deliberations of our Scientific Advisory Board twice a year I know only too well the many and complicated hoops they have had to jump through. (I think that metaphor has run away with me but you get the picture).

Then back to the office to work on the papers for Campaign’s trustee meeting next week.

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