Professor Ashby has accepted appointment as Dean of the Faculty of Medicine for a period of five years, effective from 1 January 2024.
Professor Ashby has been the Interim Dean since 1 August 2023, following Professor Jonathan Weber’s retirement as Dean.
A former President of the Royal Statistical Society, she has received many accolades for her work, including a 2009 OBE for services to medicine and Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2012.
“It's such an honour and privilege... I leapt at the opportunity.” Prof Deborah Ashby Dean of the Faculty of Medicine
Prior to her appointment as Interim Dean, Professor Ashby was Director of Imperial’s School of Public Health. Since joining Imperial in 2008, she has held a number of other leadership positions, including Founding Co-Director of the Imperial Clinical Trials Unit. She is a Chartered Statistician and her research interests are in clinical trials, risk-benefit decision making for medicines, and the utility of Bayesian approaches in these areas.
Reporting to Imperial’s Provost, the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine is responsible for all aspects of the Faculty’s strategy, operations and finances. As Dean, Professor Ashby will also be a member of Imperial’s Council and its University Management Board.
Reacting to her appointment, Professor Ashby said: “It's such an honour and privilege, and I've really enjoyed myself during my time as Interim Dean. So, when the option came to take on the role on a substantive basis of five years, I leapt at the opportunity.”
Professor Ian Walmsley, Imperial Provost, said: “Professor Ashby has already shown outstanding leadership of the Faculty as Interim Dean for the last five months. This follows an exceptional term as Director of our School of Public Health, where she led the department to be a major global player in the COVID-19 pandemic response.
“Her appointment heralds an exciting year ahead for Imperial, and I look forward to working with Professor Ashby as she leads the Faculty of Medicine into its next chapter.”
Professor Ashby also shared her thoughts on what makes Imperial special, as well as what the Faculty of Medicine community can expect from her as Dean.
“My time as Dean has begun with an exciting and productive trip to Singapore, where Imperial launched its first overseas research and innovation centre. This initiative, which will see Imperial scientists working with industry, government, university, and third-sector partners, is an exemplar of what our organisation is all about.
“I come from a public health background which is intrinsically interdisciplinary and, as a statistician, I've worked with clinicians and every kind of medical and social scientist throughout my career. I think that's how we really leverage our USPs: by talking, collaborating across disciplines, and coming together in our fantastic facilities—like those at White City— in a way that few other universities are so well-equipped to do.
“We are lucky to have some of the world's finest minds and are a hugely well-connected community. This allows us to operate in any and every sphere to answer difficult questions and create positive impact for people, populations, and society.
“Alongside that, teaching is of course vital to who we are. We've recently launched The Pears Cumbria School of Medicine with the University of Cumbria, adding to our outstanding undergraduate medical school in London, and collaboration with Nanyang Technological University in Singapore—LKCMedicine. I'm really committed to continued development of our educational provision because we have so much to offer, and I really want to ensure that Imperial continues to be the place of choice for future leaders in medical sciences.
“We’ve also got a lot of very bright young people across our Faculty of Medicine, who are very capable of developing into leaders in their fields. It’s key that we foster the best culture and environment to support them to have fantastic careers here, and ensure Imperial is attractive and welcoming to the most diverse range of brilliant people.
“I love my job; I live and breathe it. But it's also absolutely vital to have a good work-life balance and a sense of perspective. For me, that involves spending quality time with friends and family and particularly my grandchildren, which is a joy and a delight.”
“I think that it's important to lead by example: acknowledging that we have to work really hard to reap great rewards, but that it’s essential to look after yourself, to make sure you are recuperating, and that you're in a good place to keep doing excellent work.”
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