The British Science Association (BSA) has today, Wednesday 26 August 2020, announced that Professor the Lord Ara Darzi of Denham will take up Presidency of the Association from September 2020.

Professor Darzi is Director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London. He also holds the Paul Hamlyn Chair of Surgery at Imperial College London, and the Institute of Cancer Research and is Executive Chair of the World Innovation Summit for Health in Qatar. He is a Consultant Surgeon at Imperial College Hospital NHS Trust and the Royal Marsden NHS Trust.

A champion of innovation and convergence science, Professor Darzi is renowned for pioneering minimally invasive robot-assisted surgery. He has previously held the role of the parliamentary under-secretary of state for health and is a leading figure in global health policy.

Professor Darzi said: “I was pleased to be asked to take up the Presidency of the British Science Association at a time when healthcare and scientific innovation is at the forefront of the public, media and political agenda. The BSA plays an important role both in engaging under-served audiences and in convening leaders, policy makers and opinion formers across sectors to take ownership of discussions on science that have an impact on people and society.

“I look forward to working with them this coming year to take forward discussions about how we reduce inequalities in healthcare and in access to research and public engagement.”

Katherine Mathieson, Chief Executive of the British Science Association, said: “We are honoured to be welcoming Professor Darzi as our next President. He has been at the forefront of innovation, not just in healthcare and surgical advances, but in health policy and systems too. He has an interest and expertise in reducing inequalities and on critical public engagement issues such as privacy, ethics and security.

“The issue of health inequalities has been brought into sharp focus by the Coronavirus pandemic; and we recognise that the science sector is inequitable, like the society it is part of.  These dual issues will be key drivers for the BSA in the coming months and years, and we are extremely privileged to have Professor Darzi as our President as we look to develop the BSA’s strategy for 2021 and beyond.”

Professor Darzi will take up the year-long honorary role on 01 September, taking over from Professor Alice Roberts, and will give a virtual Presidential address later in the month. This will take the form of an ‘in conversation with’ hosted by journalist, writer and broadcaster, Samira Ahmed, and will be broadcast on the BSA’s YouTube Channel on Friday 18 September 2020 at 11.00am.

The discussion will cover the COVID-19 pandemic; what has gone well and what could be improved; and the implications for scientists, policy makers and the public for the future. It will also explore Lord Darzi’s experience at the interface between science and politics/policy, and his interest in convergence science – integrating knowledge from different scientific disciplines to enable scientists to work together in completely new ways aimed at speeding up scientific discovery e.g. for areas such as cancer.  

Further information about the broadcast will be available in due course.