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The Heads of University Biosciences (HUBS) met at the House of Commons on 29th February to unveil its new strategy for 2024 to members of the Higher Education (HE) community.

Heads of University Biosciences panel and Dr Kat Arney standing side by side in front of HUBS banner

HUBS is a special interest group of the Royal Society of Biology, comprised of bioscience departments, represented by their heads of department from over 70 universities from across the UK. HUBS acts as a forum for heads of university departments and subject leads to discuss national issues on the provision of research and teaching in the biological sciences.

The event was an opportunity for leaders of university biosciences across the UK – from Glasgow to London, and Aberystwyth to Newcastle – to meet and discuss the future of HE.

The Viscount Stansgate, Dr Stephen Benn FRSB, opened the evening and articulated that HUBS has a duty to be a leading voice in the field of biosciences, and that whilst “chemistry was the science of the 19th century and physics of the 20th century, biology is the science of the 21st century”.

The event provided an invaluable opportunity for HUBS members to network in-person, share ideas, and aimed to recruit new member institutions. The passion and shared determination to support and improve the biosciences HE landscape throughout the room was evident.

Guest speaker Dr Kat Arney – author, science communicator, and founder and Chief Creative Officer of First Create The Media – gave an engaging talk outlining her career to date, beginning as a lab researcher, to working in the field of science communication. She noted that it is imperative the bioscience community focuses on guiding the students and researchers of today, and the importance of diversifying the workplace to have a mix of minds and work approaches. Through HUBS there is the opportunity and appetite to do exactly this to support existing bioscientists, and to foster the generations to come.

HUBS chair Professor Janey Henderson CBiol CSciTeach FRSB outlined the launch of the new strategy. It will endeavour to make HUBS the leading voice for bioscience HE providers and be a source of informed comments on policy consultations that affect HE providers. The strategy will support members and the wider community by providing networking opportunities and addressing the challenges of an evolving HE landscape.

Aligning with the overall objectives, the new strategy will provide a forum to collaborate, network, and discuss current issues in bioscience research; support the development of current and future leaders of biosciences; and provide expertise to support the delivery of biosciences. This will happen through the dissemination of resources and opportunities to support Early Career Lecturers; regular HUBS meetings; being a source of information on national and relevant international political agendas in HE to support the formulation of institutional strategies; and continuing to strengthen the relationship between HUBS, RSB Member Organisations, learned societies, and other key stakeholders in the biosciences.

This event was sponsored by LearnSci.

Registration is open for the annual HUBS conference on Future Priorities for Biological Sciences in Higher Education (HUBS 2024). The event is from 29th-30th April at the Wellcome Collection, London.