Professor Helen McShane, from the Jenner Institute, has been elected as a member of Oxford University Council and will represent the divisions of Medical Sciences (MedSci) and Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences (MPLS) until Michaelmas Term 2018.
Council is the University's executive governing body. It is responsible, under the Statutes, for 'the advancement of the University's objects, for its administration, and for the management of its finances and property'. The remit includes academic policy and the strategic direction of the University and this prestigious post will put an NDM Principle Investigator at the centre of University policy-making.
“It’s a privilege to be elected to Council and I’m excited about serving the University in this important role", said Professor McShane.
“For the last 13 years I have led a research group in the University, currently consisting of 20 people, combining basic immunology and the development of new vaccines against tuberculosis. This has translated basic science to address a major global public health problem. For this research I initiated and maintained international collaborations in Europe, the US, and Africa. From 2008 I led a consortium of funders, universities and industry, which tested one of our new vaccines in a trial of 3000 South African infants, with a budget of US$30m.
I would hope that the skills I have developed in leading such collaborations: an ability to engage with ethical, financial and regulatory issues and frameworks, the judgement to identify where trade-offs are needed, and the ability to focus the skills of many disciplines and partner organisations on a common goal, would also be helpful for the work of Council.
Balancing the strengths of a University where pooling skills and resources may achieve the greatest research impact, with maintaining the strengths of independent Colleges and disciplines, is essential. Maintaining excellence in teaching whilst being one of the world's leading research universities is a balance Council has to help optimise. A Fellow of Harris Manchester College, I lecture and supervise undergraduates, MSc students and DPhil students and am a consultant HIV physician.
I am committed to the principles of transparency of process, fairness and consistency. I will be delighted to have the privilege of serving the wider collegiate University by sitting on Council.”