UK and Ireland National Academies have today (10 January) announced the first members of the new UK-wide Young Academy – a network of early career researchers and professionals established to help tackle local and global issues and promote meaningful change.
Sir Adrian Smith, President of the Royal Society said, “We are delighted to introduce the first members of the UK Young Academy. This is a huge achievement for them and an exciting step for the UK in the Young Academy movement.
“It is vital that the next generation of researchers and professionals take their place on the frontlines of the issues that matter most. Finding solutions to global problems – pandemics, climate change, biodiversity loss and social inequality – needs to be guided by collaborative thinking across a breadth of disciplines, life experiences and ideas.
“I look forward to seeing the first cohort take ownership of this new initiative with energy and enthusiasm as they set the foundations for the UK Young Academy.”
The UK Young Academy’s first cohort brings together members from across academia, charity organisations and the private sector, to galvanise their skills, knowledge, and experience to find innovative solutions to the challenges facing societies now and in the future. Members are from across the UK, with 13% from Scotland, 7% from Wales, 5% from Northern Ireland and 75% from across areas in England. 49% of the cohort are women, and 34% are from minority ethnic backgrounds.
The successful candidates include researchers, innovators, clinicians, professionals and entrepreneurs who have each made significant contributions to their field, while going above and beyond to make an impact outside of their main areas of work.
The first cohort of the UK Young Academy will have the opportunity to shape the strategy and focus of this new organisation, tapping into their collective knowledge and expertise to inform local and global policy discussions.
Strategic themes and objectives will be determined by members based on areas that matter to them. Discussions on their key priorities will kick off at an induction event held at the Royal Society in January 2023 and will be finalised over the coming year – members have already expressed interest in areas from climate change and sustainability to equality, diversity and inclusion, public health, education and skills, and supporting early career researchers.
The UK Young Academy has been established as an interdisciplinary collaboration with the Academy of Medical Sciences, British Academy, Learned Society of Wales, Royal Academy of Engineering, Royal Irish Academy, Royal Society of Edinburgh, and the Royal Society. It joins the global initiative of Young Academies, with the UK Young Academy becoming the 50th to join the Young Academy movement.
The call for members to the UK Young Academy in June 2022 received over 400 applicants from a variety of sectors including Life Sciences, Physical, Engineering and Computer Sciences, Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Business, Public Service and Communications. The members were chosen by a panel of 65 reviewers, including an Appointments Committee.
The successful applicants officially took up their posts on 1 January 2023, and membership runs for 5 years.