Published: Friday, November 30th, 2012

Can we survive the 21st century?


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It was a real privilege this month to welcome  Professor Lord Robert Winston who visited us to deliver our inaugural Beardmore Lecture.

The Golden Jubilee is a centre of high quality clinical care, ground-breaking research and innovative ideas. By launching the Beardmore Lecture series, we are underlining our commitment to research, innovation and scientific debate.


As a national resource for the NHS in Scotland, our aim has always been to ensure that we deliver on Scotland’s health priorities, so we were excited to hear whether or not our guest lecturer believed if we truly can survive the 21st century.


One of the world’s most prominent and eminent scientists, Professor Winston challenged us to think carefully around the issues of medical research and healthcare.


As well as talking about the importance of scientific advancements, he asked us to think clearly about the impact and implications of advancement – not to conclude that we shouldn’t make scientific or healthcare advances, but that we should think through the implications as best we could and engage in open debate and discussion around them.  One of his central points was the importance of securing the future of scientific advance through   openness and public engagement. He highlighted the critical need to integrate discussion, teaching and debate on ethics for every aspect of scientific teaching and learning.  I think we can firmly support both of these aspects of his lecture.


During his lecture, Professor Winston also talked about the need to encourage and engage the scientists of tomorrow at an early stage to ensure future research continues to evolve. That is why last year we opened NHS Scotland’s newest clinical skills and research facility – by being at the forefront in this field, we will ensure that our research spans bench to bedside and provides real benefits for the treatment and health improvement of this and future generations.


We were also delighted that the distinguished physicist Dr Heather Reid OBE, affectionately known as 'Heather the Weather’ after her stint as BBC Scotland’s Chief Forecaster, was able to join us as our host for the evening. Heather’s knowledge and experience of science, coupled with her friendly and professional approach, made her the perfect person to host the debate which arose from the questions posed by the audience.


On behalf of the Board, I would like to express my thanks to Professor Winston and Dr Reid for taking the time to come along and help us launch this series of lectures which we hope will prompt debate for years to come.
We are thrilled that this first lecture in the Beardmore series was a resounding success and look forward to next year. Heather has already agreed to host it again and we’ve had lots of suggestions about who to invite. We’ll be sure to keep you posted on the plans!


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