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
Updated: Friday 16 February 2024
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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 and of pay restoration in the NHS. 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

Read our guidance on contracts

Read our industrial action guidance for consultant clinical academics

Junior doctors industrial action – strike cover guidance

The guidance on providing cover for striking junior doctor colleagues prepared for the UK Consultants Committee applies equally to consultant clinical academics employed in the NHS on an honorary contract. The honorary contract and Schedule 23 of the 2003 consultant contract make clear that consultant clinical academics are subject to the same relevant provisions as their NHS consultant colleagues in respect of covering for absent colleagues, job planning, additional programmed activities, and working in premium time and on-call. If your NHS employer seeks your agreement to provide cover for absent junior doctor colleagues, they may also need to seek the agreement of your university/HEI employer if this departs from your usual job planned activity.

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.

Changes to UKFPO Applications for Specialised Foundation Programme (SFP)

Following the review into the foundation programme allocation system that took place last year, we are extremely disappointed by UKFPO’s announcement on 14th February 2024 from the UK health bodies, that all applications for SFP are to be brought within the Preference Information Allocation (PIA) system from 2025.   

We fundamentally disagree with the decision by the UK Health bodies and will fight by resisting this change in any way that we can going forwards. 

Read the full statement from the BMA medical students committee and the medical academic staff 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.

Dr William David Strain

Co deputy chairs:
Mr Jonathan Gibb
Professor Rajat Gupta
Dr Anil Kumar Jain
Dr Marcia Sardy Schofield
This is a voting position


Updated list tbc

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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. Four 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 2023-24 are Martyn Bracewell and Michael Rees. 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 22 September 2023  10.30 – 16.00  BMA House
  • Friday 15 December 2023  10.30 – 16.00  Virtual
  • Friday 15 March 2024  10.30 – 16.00  Virtual
  • Friday 12 July 2024  10.30 – 16.00  Likely in person


Meeting dates:

  • Friday 24 November 2023 10.30 – 16.00
  • Friday 9 February 2024 10.30 - 16.00
  • Thursday 16 May 2024 12.00 – 18.00

All meetings take place either virtually or at: 

BMA House
Tavistock Square

For more information, email [email protected].

Conferences and webinars

Medical academics conference 2024

The 2024 Medical Academics’ Conference will take place at BMA House in London and online on Friday 17 May 2024.

Medical academics conference 2023

  • Friday 12 May 2023

The theme of the 2023 conference was Developing and maintaining a passion for research and education. In the run-up to the Conference there was a series of webinars considering different aspects of the theme:

  • 8 February - Developing and maintaining a passion for research
  • 1 March – Women in Academic Medicine (WAM) webinar for international women’s day
    March/April - Developing and maintaining a passion for education
  • 2 February the Joint Academic Trainees Subcommittee is also hosting a webinar on Academic Trainees and Industrial Action

For more information on all these event e-mail [email protected]

COMAR 2022

The 2022 COMAR (conference of medical academic representatives) was held virtually on Friday 13 May 2022. 

The meeting was chaired by Michael Rees, supported by deputy chair Peter Dangerfield, with the theme 'What next for academic medicine?'.

The Chair of Conference for 2023 is Professor David Katz.

Download the MASC Report to COMAR

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.


Election to MASC is closed.

Get in touch

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

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