As with so much in life, you will get out of Young Academy membership what you put in. For me, the major benefit has been the opportunity to connect and work with a diverse range of individuals from a wide range of professional backgrounds, all of whom are unified by the same goal of trying to make a meaningful difference to society.
The Charter for Responsible Debate developed by the Young Academy of Scotland is one of the projects that stands out for me as being of significant impact. Bringing together a wide variety of perspectives, it sets out a framework for promoting ways of discussing controversial topics in a constructive fashion that helps to recognise common ground and achieve common cause.
Professionally, the Young Academy has helped me to network with a broad group of other members and broadened my horizons in ways that would not have been possible in my day job as clinical academic and consultant psychiatrist at the Patrick Wild Centre in Edinburgh. Connecting with other Young Academy members – people who I would never have met in ordinary circumstances outside the Young Academy, has allowed me to forge some meaningful relationships. I can see these connections and friendships enduring.
On a personal level, through contact with members of our At Risk Academic Refugees programme, the Young Academy of Scotland has helped me to connect more meaningfully with international issues of migration and issues affecting refugees. This is now an interest that I hope I can develop further in the future.