Medical academic staff committee overview

The MASC (medical academic staff committee) represents all medically qualified teachers and research workers. Find out more about our meetings, membership and priorities.

Location: UK
Audience: Medical academics
Last reviewed: 1 April 2022
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2022 COMAR

This year's COMAR will be held virtually on Friday 13 May 2022 from 10am to 4.30pm.


Read more about the conference

The MASC (medical academic staff committee) represents all medically qualified teachers and research workers that hold contracts of employment (including honorary contracts) from a university, a medical school, the Medical Research Council or other non-NHS institutions engaged in medical research.

MASC considers and acts upon issues relevant to these groups of doctors. It also advocates on behalf of academic medicine generally and works with employers to ensure that there are sufficient incentives to attract doctors to (and keep them in) academic medicine.

For the latest updates on what MASC are doing, follow us on Twitter.


Our priorities

Protecting pay and conditions

Ensuring pay parity with the NHS and honorary NHS contracts that mirror the terms and conditions for NHS doctors is a key activity of MASC. We are concerned that these principles may come under threat as a result of the financial implications for universities and research funders of COVID-19. We will continue to lobby for adherence to these principles and to support our members with local threats to their pay and conditions.

Read our guidance on pay

Participation in research and related roles

We asked members of the BMA’s panel of doctors about their research experience, whether they have allocated time for research and whether they identified as an academic. The findings informed a large-scale 2019 survey to understand the factors impacting progression for research-related careers.

Read the research

Clinical academic training and career development

We welcome the launch of CATCH, the clinical academic training and careers hub. Clinical academics are key to the success of the UK’s life sciences sector and to improvements in patient care and quality of life. Clinical academics have to navigate a complex career structure and undertake too much activity in their own time. CATCH will be an invaluable resource in highlighting the opportunities and rewards a clinical academic career can bring and help individual clinicians make the best of those opportunities.

Brexit and the impact on medical research and education

All the evidence to date suggests that any form of Brexit (but especially 'no deal') will have a damaging effect on the NHS and on the UK's universities. We will seek to ensure that:

  • training and career opportunities for research-active doctors and academics are maintained or even enhanced
  • access to EU health-related research funding programmes is retained
  • the development of new or improved medicines and medical devices in the UK continues at the current rate
  • the UK’s scientific reputation and appeal for researchers is at least maintained
  • the UK’s ability to translate research into medicines, and medical devices into products, is unrestricted
  • the burden of conducting multi-centre clinical trials is minimised
  • no unnecessary barriers to collaborative work, shared expertise, facilities and datasets are created
  • access to new medicines and devices for patients in the UK is maintained.

Read more about BMA’s work on Brexit

Governance and supervision of academic trainees

Clinical governance issues for trainees - including concerns about workload planning, supervision, how best to report concerns and whistleblowing - have recently been highlighted. These issues can be compounded for university-employed academic trainees who are not always formally covered by the protections.

Read BMA's position on these concerns

Mid-career entry to academic medicine

Over the last 15 years, the number of medical academics has fallen and the academic/student ratio has worsened. This number is only going to get worse as a significant proportion of medical academics are towards the end of their careers. To meet future requirements, MASC believes doctors need more flexibility mid-career to move between clinical pathways and academia.

Read our recommendations

Pharmaceutical physicians

MASC has been responsible for the representation of pharmaceutical physicians within and by the BMA since 2011. Having taken on this responsibility, we worked with the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine and the British Association of Pharmaceutical Physicians to revise our guidance, 'The pharmaceutical physician'.

We continue to work closely with the faculty, which helps us identify a pharmaceutical physician representative to the committee.


Our people

Most members of MASC are elected by our annual conference, with separate direct elections for the representatives of Scottish and Welsh medical academics. Medical academics in Northern Ireland are represented by the chair and deputy chair of the Northern Ireland MASC.

Observers are also appointed by other BMA committees and two members are appointed by the British Dental Association committee for dental academic staff, with which MASC works closely.

David Strain

Co-deputy chairs:
Rajat Gupta
David Katz
Marcia Schofield



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Develop your skills as a committee member

Take part in one of our free courses designed to give you the right skills to:

  • break down equality and inclusion bias (CPD-accredited)
  • value difference and inclusivity
  • live our BMA behaviour principles.
Find out more

Associated committees

  • Northern Ireland medical academic staff committee (NIMASC)
  • Joint academic trainees subcommittee (JATS)
  • Women in academic medicine (WAM)
  • Scottish medical academic staff: Medical academics in Scotland are represented by the UKMASC. Two representatives to UKMASC are elected each summer, with the first representative also being on the executive. There is also an informal e-group with which MASC consults. Please email [email protected] if you’d like to be part of it. 

  • Welsh medical academic staff: Medical academics in Wales are represented by the UK MASC. There are direct elections each summer for the two representatives to the committee, with the first representative also being on the executive. The representative for 2021-22 are Martyn Bracewell and Sunil Dolwani. There is also an informal e-group with which MASC consults. To take part, please email [email protected].


Our meetings

The committee meets four times a year and elects a small executive to take forward issues between committee meetings. These meetings are open to committee members only.

Meeting dates:

  • Friday 17 December 2021, 10.30am-4pm
  • Friday 18 March 2022, 10.30am-4pm


Meeting dates:

  • Friday 4 February 2022, 10.30am - 4pm
  • Thursday 5 May 10.30am - 4pm

All meetings take place either virtually or at: 

BMA House
Tavistock Square

For more information, email [email protected].



The 2022 COMAR (conference of medical academic representatives) will be held virtually on Friday 13 May 2022 from 10am to 4.30pm. 

The conference is a great opportunity to network with other medical academics and hear from expert speakers.

This year, speakers will include:

  • Amitava Banerjee, professor of clinical data science at UCL 
  • Ondine Sherwood, founder of Long Covid SOS, who will be speaking about the patient experience and better patient engagement.

More speakers will be announced shortly.

2021 COMAR highlights

The 2021 COMAR took place on Thursday 20 and Friday 21 May 2021.

Two-panel discussions focused on ‘What went well for academic medicine in the pandemic and what next?’.

Key speakers were:

  • Prof Ravi Gupta on 'Mobilising academic medicine during the COVID-19 pandemic – experience from Cambridge'
  • Prof Calum Semple on 'The reality of running studies in outbreaks and the ISARIC WHO clinical characterisation protocol'
  • Dr David Strain on 'Long COVID – the gift that keeps on giving'
  • Prof Kamlesh Khunti speaking on 'The impact of COVID-19 on ethnic minority communities'
  • Prof Sharon Peacock on 'How the COVID-19 genomics UK consortium and SARS-CoV-2 co-evolved
  • Prof Cheng-Hock Toh on 'Blood in COVID-19'.

Read a short report of COMAR 2021 in this edition of the BMA e-newsletter.

How to join

There are many advantages to becoming involved in our committees. You can actively influence BMA policy-making and negotiations, represent your colleagues' voices and develop your leadership skills. 

Each committee has a few routes to becoming an elected member. In the case of MASC, these are: 

COMAR elections
  • Seats/term - every year, elections for 16 seats on MASC take place at the annual conference for medical academics for a one-session term. 
  • Timeline - these elections take place after the conference, which is usually held in May.
  • Eligibility - all registered COMAR representatives are eligible to stand and vote in this election.
National elections
  • Seats/term - every year, elections for four seats on MASC, with four seats for Scotland and two for Wales, take place for a one-session term. 
  • Timeline - elections usually take place in July/July. 
  • Eligibility - all medical academics who are BMA members and based in Scotland and Wales are eligible to stand and vote in this election.

The election section below is kept up to date with details about any running elections, so make sure you keep checking it throughout the year.  



Elections to MASC are now closed. 


Get in touch

If you are interested in finding out more about the work of MASC please contact [email protected].