We are delighted to announce the election of Professor Ben Goldacre MBE to Jesus College as the first Bennett Professor of Evidence-Based Medicine. The affiliation of this new Statutory Chair to the College is part of an endowment made possible thanks to the generosity of philanthropist Peter Bennett and his wife Desiree. Peter, a Cambridge graduate (Churchill College, 1975), is the founding benefactor of The Peter Bennett Foundation, which works to support academic endeavours to effect systemic change in the global community.
In 2021, the Foundation announced the creation of the new Bennett Institute for Applied Data Science at the University of Oxford. The Institute, based at the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, to bring together academics from a range of disciplines, including clinicians, software engineers, policy experts and statisticians, to develop and implement new methods and tools to make data and evidence more impactful in the world, improving the lives of patients and citizens, enhancing and expanding the work that has been undertaken to date by the DataLab.
Professor Goldacre, who is Director of the Bennett Institute, will provide academic leadership in the field of data science, helping to unite and focus efforts in this rapidly-changing field across University departments and divisions. The endowment, funded by the Bennetts in collaboration with Jesus College, also enables a series of four consecutive Junior Research Fellowships (across academic disciplines) to complement and support his work to further research in to the better use of data, evidence and digital tools in healthcare and policy, and optimise the impact of interventions to achieve improved outcomes.
Professor Goldacre is a doctor, academic, best-selling author, broadcaster and campaigner. He trained in medicine at the University of Oxford (Magdalen College) and University College London, in psychiatry at the Maudsley Hospital, and in Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. His academic and policy work is in informatics, epidemiology and evidence-based medicine, where he works on various problems including variation in care, better uses of routinely collected electronic health data, evidence-based social policy, access to clinical trial data, efficient trial design, and retracted papers.
In April 2022, he published an independent report – Better, broader, safer: using health data for research and analysis – on how the efficient and safe use of health data in the NHS for research and analysis can benefit patients and the healthcare sector. The findings of the report have helped to shape the Government’s new Health and Social Care Data Strategy, to be published later this year, which will set out a vision to make better use of data to save lives.
Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt FRS FREng FBCS, Jesus College Principal, said, “We are delighted to welcome Ben to the Jesus College Fellowship, and excited for the innovative interdisciplinary research opportunities that this important strategic collaboration between the College and University will create. Ben is an exceptional academic researcher and leader in the field of data science. His ongoing contribution to research and public policy in this area is key to maximising the potential of large health datasets to benefit people both in the UK and globally. We are extremely grateful to Peter and Desiree Bennett for the endowment that has made this possible, and for the creation of the Bennett Junior Research Fellowship to support Ben’s work and enhance our interdisciplinary research in applied data science.”
For more information on Professor Goldacre’s role, go to https://www.bennett.ox.ac.uk/about-us/ben-goldacre/