We are seeking a new Chair

Details of the position of Chair follow.


Chair of Trustee Board, Medical Research Scotland (Scottish Charity No. SC014959)

Salary: Unpaid

Closing Date: 31st July 2021

Location: Board meetings generally held in Edinburgh

Time Requirements: The total time commitment required will vary throughout the year but, on average, would be the equivalent of around one day per week to include usually three formal Board meetings per year.


Medical Research Scotland (MRS), a Scottish registered charity, seeks a new Chair of its Board of Trustees.

The Trustee Board is comprised of people from a range of professional backgrounds including higher education, life sciences and investments.  The current membership can be found on our website (www.medicalresearchscotland.org.uk/about).  Our Trustees are responsible and accountable for the overall strategic leadership and direction of the charity under the co-ordination and leadership of the Chair.

The Chair is the effective line manager of MRS’s only employee, the Scientific Adviser to the Board, and is also responsible, along with the Charity Secretaries, for ensuring that new Trustees are adequately briefed on their role and responsibilities.

The Chair is responsible for agreeing and reporting on to the Board at meetings, amongst other things, no cost extensions, minor changes in direction or supervision of research, correspondence and interaction with the Charity Secretaries and the Chair of the Charity’s Audit & Investment Committee.

The Chair is the main point of contact for ad hoc public relations and marketing projects undertaken.

The Chair takes the lead role in review of existing funding streams and the creation of new ones.

MRS is committed to the principles of equality and diversity in the composition of its Board and in all the funding programmes it runs.

Organisation profile

MRS is Scotland’s largest independent charity funder of medical research.  It receives and holds endowments, donations and bequests and uses its resources to support health-related research whether aimed at understanding the basic mechanisms of disease; improving diagnosis, treatment or prevention of disease; advancing medical technology; or supporting any other research that aims to improve health and healthcare.

The charity’s focus is on the development of research careers, which it does in the following ways:

i. We offer funding to students working for a doctorate in any Scottish higher education institution or research centre. We aim to award up to 25 of these awards each year and all of our studentships have to be collaborative, a partnership between a University and a trading organisation involved in medically relevant research.  We want our students to experience both academic and commercial worlds and to do research that is focused on usefulness.

ii. We support Undergraduate Vacation Scholarships – up to 100 each year – designed to give undergraduate students a short experience of full time research in a University lab.

iii.  We work with the Daphne Jackson Trust (www.daphnejackson.org) to support people returning to science after a career break, usually three per annum.

iv. MRS has set up and is funding one-off awards dedicated to research into Covid-19.

v. MRS has set up a new funding stream, the Early Career Researcher Grants, for newly-established researchers to assist them in developing their own independent programme of research. This funding stream launched in April 2021.

vi. We engage in outreach activities to encourage secondary school students to think about careers in biomedical research.

Desired experience and skills

The overall skills requirements of the Chair include the following:

  • A good understanding of the UK charity sector, good governance, OSCR requirements, relevant legislation and statutory requirements.
  • A solid background in biomedical and life sciences.
  • Strong leadership skills.
  • An ability to contribute to and co-ordinate strategic development and decision-making.
  • An ability to consider varied and complex issues.
  • Excellent all-round communication skills.
  • Previous experience of the role of Chair of a Board of Trustees is not essential but would be useful.

Important information for applicants

  • Trustees are appointed for a term of up to four years and are eligible to serve up to a further four years after which they must retire from the Board. The Chair will be a Trustee appointed on these terms.  The Board must elect the Chair on an annual basis.
  • Board meetings are held two to three times a year (normally in Edinburgh). Trustees will also be required to contribute between meetings including sitting on ad-hoc sub committees, attending events and so on as appropriate.
  • The role is not remunerated although reasonable expenses will be paid.

Application notes

Applications by CV and covering letter to Medical Research Scotland, c/o Turcan Connell, Princes Exchange, 1 Earl Grey Street, Edinburgh, EH3 9EE.  If you would like further information about the Chair position, please contact Turcan Connell (Trust Secretaries) on [email protected].