I was delighted to be appointed last year as the centre’s inaugural director; and I took up my position at the beginning of this year. I am now working closely with the HDR UK Central Team in London and starting to build a small team to work directly with me on engaging with multiple stakeholders across the UK, setting priorities, and developing and implementing the centre’s strategy. Probably the most important appointment that I’ll make for some years is that of a Director of Operations – the job advert is currently live on HDR UK’s website and represents a fabulous opportunity for an ambitious, motivated person to help translate my vision for the centre into real delivery.

My new role will take up almost all of my time, as there is lots to do. Hence, over the last few months I have been busy removing and placing on new heads the various hats I was wearing before this new appointment. I am very pleased that my previous position as Chief Scientist for UK Biobank is now in the expert hands of my friend and colleague, Prof Naomi Allen at the University of Oxford. Planning for the future leadership of the HDR UK substantive site in Scotland, which I have directed since HDR UK was established in 2018, has been another challenge. Luckily, our Associate Directors are already actively engaged in managing activity across the site and one, Prof Dave Robertson, an Edinburgh-based computer scientist who might describe himself as one of the UK’s AI dinosaurs, is now co-leading HDR UK Scotland pending the appointment of a new permanent Director. Most importantly, HDR UK Scotland is fortunate in having a hugely talented Programme Manager, Dr Lucy McCloughan, who is more than capable of keeping the show on the road over the next few months.

Cardiovascular disease affects the lives of over seven million people in the UK. Despite major progress over the last two decades, it remains one of the largest causes of death and disability UK- and worldwide. Behind the statistics are the devastating effects that heart attacks, strokes, dementia and other diseases of the circulation can have on the lives of patients and their families, friends and carers. The BHF Centre’s vision is to work with partners to enable better, faster, more efficient, cost-effective, data-driven research and innovation at UK-wide scale that will benefit the public’s cardiovascular health and improve outcomes for patients (in the UK and worldwide) with diseases of the heart and circulatory system. It provides the UK with an unprecedented opportunity to use data for research that will deliver strategies for prevention, innovative new therapies and medical breakthroughs that will ultimately improve the lives of people affected by heart attacks, angina, cardiac rhythm disturbances, strokes, peripheral vascular diseases, vascular dementia and other cardiovascular disorders.

I look forward to developing the centre’s strategy to address these major challenges and bring benefits to patients and the public, here in the UK and worldwide. Please do get in touch if you would like to be involved.