BHP Professor-Consultant announced as ‘future leader’ in Innovation, Enterprise and Research Programme

Alastair Denniston, a leading Birmingham Health Partners Professor and Consultant, has been announced as one of the first participants in The Academy of Medical Sciences’ novel Future Leaders in Innovation, Enterprise and Research (FLIER) Programme.

A Professor at the University of Birmingham and Consultant Ophthalmologist at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, Alastair is one of 17 participants from organisations across the life sciences landscape to have been selected for the first round of the prestigious FLIER leadership programme.

The FLIER Programme aims to equip emerging leaders with skills to help solve the biggest health challenges we will face, and enable them to seize opportunities afforded by new discoveries in science, technology and medicine.

Selected through a competitive process, FLIER will bring together future leaders from academia, the NHS, industry and policy organisations for a two-year, immersive and cross-sector learning experience.

Professor Denniston commented: “I am thrilled to be selected for the FLIER programme. This innovative programme will help equip me to be the most effective leader I can be, working with others across different health, academic and industry sectors to enable a program of change within the delivery of eye health in the UK.

“I am leading a programme of work to utilise the power of new technologies such as modern imaging, health informatics and artificial intelligence to help bring expert eyecare nearer to the patient, moving from the hospital to the high street.

“This is something you cannot do alone, and I am proud to be working with other leaders from across the UK to make this a reality.

“The FLIER programme will help support me as I work with patients, professionals, policy makers, and industry to develop, deliver and continuously evaluate new models of care.”

Professor Martin Humphries FMedSci, chair of the FLIER Programme development Taskforce said: “The first participants of our FLIER leadership programme exemplify what is different about this scheme.

“Drawn from fields as far apart as policy making, industry, academia and healthcare, they share a common desire to challenge the status quo and solve complex and intangible health challenges collaboratively.

“The first cohort will shape the programme as they go through it, leaving a legacy for future participants.

“We look forward to following how this innovative programme enhances the participants’ leadership and collaboration skills, and how this shapes their approach to the pressing health challenges they hope to solve in coming years.”

The FLIER Programme launch event today will bring FLIER participants together with existing leaders in biomedical and health sectors, including the UK’s Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Advisor, the Executive Chair of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the President of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, and the Medical Director of the British Heart Foundation.

Professor Dame Sally Davies DBE FRS FMedSci, Chief Medical Officer for England, who is attending the FLIER launch event said: “Developing leaders with skills to navigate multiple sectors in the biomedical ecosystem will be necessary to help tackle some of the most complex health challenges we face, such as Antimicrobial Resistance and our growing rates of obesity.

“I am looking forward to seeing the FLIER participants develop and redefine what it means to be a leader in biomedical and heath research.”

FLIER was developed with input from a steering group of experts drawn from academia, industry and the NHS, alongside award winning leadership consultants Cirrus. The development of the scheme was funded by the Dennis and Mireille Gillings Foundation and the UK Government through their Investment in Research Talent fund.

The first phase of the programme will expose participants to current national and international leaders across the wider scientific and health ecosystem, and provide face-to-face and virtual workshops, coaching and mentoring to enhance the participants’ knowledge and skills. Later this year the participants will also have the opportunity to increase their network through immersion experiences with other organisations across multiple sectors in the life sciences. In the second year of the programme the participants will undertake a collaborative work-based project, with the support of their cohort, mentor and coaches.