Doctors working in academic medicine undertake a combination of teaching (medical and other healthcare students), research and clinical care. All of these are vital functions for the NHS, for healthcare in general and for the UK economy.
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.
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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.
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. Any deal should 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.
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
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.
Academics employed by the MRC (Medical Research Council)
A number of medical academics are employed by or contracted to the MRC. The BMA is one of a group of trade unions that negotiates with the council on terms and conditions of service and is involved in the discussions around the transfer of the research councils to UK Research and Innovation. If you have any concerns please e-mail us [email protected].
Most members of MASC are elected by our annual conference, with separate direct elections for the representatives of Welsh medical academics.
Observers are also appointed by other BMA committees and relevant external organisations, such as the Conference of Postgraduate Medical Education Deans (CoPMED), the National Association of Clinical Tutors (NACT) and the Academy of Medical Educators (AME).
Mary Anne Burrow
- Northern Ireland medical academic staff committee (NIMASC)
- Joint academic trainees subcommittee (JATS)
- Women in academic medicine (WAM)
Scottish medical academic staff: It has recently been decided that the interests of medical academics in Scotland would be best served by the UK MASC. How this will be done is still to be decided but it is likely to involve direct elections to the committee along the lines of those in Wales.
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 representatives for 2019-20 are Angharad Davies and Majd Protty. There is also an informal e-group with which MASC consults. Please email [email protected] if you’d like to be part of it.
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.
There are currently no scheduled meetings.
For more information, email [email protected].
COMAR (the conference of medical academic representatives) 2020 will take place on Friday 15 May 2020 at BMA House with some workshops also planned for the afternoon of 14 May. More information will be available nearer the time.
Watch the highlights from COMAR 2019, which took place on Friday 29 March 2019.
Get in touch
If you are interested in finding out more about the work of MASC please contact [email protected].