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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
Most members of MASC are elected by our annual conference, with separate direct elections for the representatives of Scottish and 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
Take part in one of our free courses designed to give you the right skills to:
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- 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 us 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 representatives for 2020-21 are Angharad Davies and Majd Protty. There is also an informal e-group with which MASC consults. To take part, email us.
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.
- No meetings currently scheduled.
All meetings take place either virtually or at:
For more information, email [email protected].
The 2021 COMAR (conference of medical academic representatives) took place on Thursday 20 and Friday 21 May 2021.
2021 COMAR highlights
- Two panel discussions focused on ‘What went well for academic medicine in the pandemic and what next?’.
- Key speakers at the first session were: Prof Ravi Gupta, Prof Calum Semple and Dr David Strain.
- The second session featured Prof Kamlesh Khunti, Prof Sharon Peacock and the academic vice president of the RCP, Prof Cheng-Hock Toh.
- Representatives discussed a wide range of topics from research funding to safety and wellbeing at work.
- Due to technical issues, there is no recording of the conference available.
How to join MASC
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:
- 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.
- 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 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.
National elections 2021 to 2022
MASC is holding elections for the following seats for a one-session term:
- one medical academic employed in Scotland
- one academic trainee employed in Scotland.
To stand or vote in this election, you must:
- be a doctor who meets the criteria above
- have a BMA online account.
Nominations and casting your vote
- Nominations - from 12pm on Monday 19 July 2021 to 12pm on Monday 2 August 2021.
- Ballot - from 1pm on Tuesday 3 August 2021 to 12pm on Tuesday 17 August 2021.
Read our guide on how to use our online system for elections.
Results will be announced from Wednesday 18 August 2021 on the election portal.
If you have any questions about these elections, please email us.
Get in touch
If you are interested in finding out more about the work of MASC please contact [email protected].