Firstly, on behalf of the membership, I would like to congratulate our chair Lucy on the birth of her first child, August. Lucy will be back in office on 30th July. In the meantime, I am providing maternity cover.
Lucy and I would also like to congratulate a number of directors who we elected or re-elected at our AGM: Alexander Schacht, Markus Elze, Chrissie Fletcher (our future vice-chair), Adam Crisp, Steve Jones, Jurgen Hummel, Kate Tsirtsonis and Paul Terrill. We would like to thank: Anna Berglind, Ray Harris, Tim Rolfe, Kate Taylor and Veronique Cadic who are leaving the board. They have given a tremendous amount of passion and commitment to moving PSI forward over the many years they have been on the board. My term on the board also comes to end on 30th July. However, I intend to continue supporting PSI, and have agreed to become the next Engagement Manager. I will be responsible for ensuring that all our committees are properly resourced and for finding new volunteers.
Lucy and I would also like to recognise the incredible work of Kate Taylor (Amgen) and the scientific committee in providing our first ever virtual conference. It was a great success, and was attended by 380 delegates. We were delighted to provide it free for members and at a bargain rate of £100 for non-members. The sessions are now available on the video-on-demand platform - if you missed it, please click here.
We also held our first ever virtual AGM on 9th June, which went very well. During the AGM, we discussed the impact of COVID-19 and the steps we have taken to mitigate the risk to our organisation. You will be pleased to hear that our finances are very healthy, and we are well placed to manage the financial impact. In 2019, we made a profit of £42k, which took our reserves to £377k (72% of our annual turnover). Whilst we incurred costs from cancelling the Barcelona conference, we received a full refund from the conference hotel. We have also rescheduled scientific meetings and training courses towards the end of the year, and are using scientific webinars to a greater degree. We are aiming to keep our financial reserves above £300k, and are therefore able to manage a larger loss than budgeted this year.
I would also like to congratulate David Lawrence (Novartis) who was presented with the Mick Godley Award at the AGM. The Mick Godley award is given to unsung heroes who contribute to our committees. David has made a significant contribution to the Scientific Committee for many years, and has led the coordination of the abstracts and poster session. He also volunteered to develop and build a local group in Canada. David will receive a free place a future conference as part of his award.
The membership also voted in favour of a minor amendment to our bye-laws. From time to time, board directors resign in the middle of their election period, and we have to appoint co-opted directors. The change makes it clear on how the co-opted director are elected and on the number of years of office for each director.
Lastly, we would like to thank Jim Saul (Covance) and his action team, whose proposal to introduce a Medical Statistician apprenticeship in UK was approved by UK Government. In the apprenticeship, students will be able to work and study for their MSc at the same time, providing a new pathway for students in the future. We introduced this due to a changes in MSc funding in UK, resulting in a decline in the number of MSc Statistical scholarships. PSI will also be sponsoring 4 MSc places in Medical Statistics at Leicester University in the 2020-21 academic year. Stay tuned for further developments.
Stay safe and well,
Nigel Howitt (Vice-Chair, PSI).