Nigel Howitt- My Last Post

Jun 10, 2019, 09:47 AM

I will be handing over the reins to Lucy Rowell in July of this year. This is therefore my last post for PSI. I have thoroughly enjoyed my two years as Chair. It has been an honor to lead such a successful and fantastic organization. I became chair after the RSS merger debate and vote. This could have been awkward, but I have been really pleased with the support, focus and engagement of each and every board member. They are a great team to work with, and I will miss them when I step down.

With the energy and engagement from our volunteers who populate the board and our committees, we have achieved many things during this period. In September 2016, during the merger debate, I set out some very simple goals. I thought it would be interesting to reflect on these:



Further improve our on-line scientific content, and make this an absolute priority for our organization

PSI Video on Demand platform was successfully launched at the PSI Conference in June 2018. It has been a great success and >150 recordings have already been loaded. These are free to access for our members. We are also working on further improvements to the platform (v2.0).

Look at opportunities to retain our new members gained through the PSI Conference

We are retaining and gaining more members. Membership increased from 883 (end of 2017) to 1074 (end of 2018).

Rotate the annual conference between the UK and mainland Europe

We have actually gone further and increased the frequency of mainland European conferences; 2018 was held in Amsterdam, 2020 will be in Barcelona and 2021 will most likely be back in Germany.

Further improve our commercial activities to support our finances

Our finances are very healthy both in terms of reserves, and surplus in 2017 & 2018. In particular, exhibiting and sponsorship at our PSI Conference has been very successful. We have also improved our recruitment platform, and I hope this leads to an increase in advertising in future years.

By the way, we are using our reserves and profits to invest further in the society, and to give our members more benefits.

Continue to offer a good program of Webinars to our members

The number of Webinars has increased to approximately 18 each year. These are provided through our Scientific Committees, Journal Club and SIGs. All Webinars are also provided on our Video on Demand Platform.

Repeat our training courses in mainland Europe (MEU)

A HTA Course was held in Sweden in April 2018 and future courses are being planned in mainland Europe.

Selected training courses are also available through Video on Demand, and more are planned.

Encourage more members from mainland Europe to join our Board and committees

Three members of the board will be from mainland Europe at our next handover meeting. Many others are represented on or committees.

Look into running an ITIT (Introduction to Industry) course in mainland Europe

The ITIT course has been expanded to the include mainland Europe and three of the six sessions are now planned to be held in mainland Europe.

Continue to be an active partner in EFSPI

We continue to be highly engaged in EFSPI, and are represented on the Council and other activities.

Look at opportunities to partner with other associations, such as the RSS.

We meet regularly with RSS to look for areas we can work together. We are now also partnering with IASCT (Indian Association for Statistics in Clinical Trials). Finally, we are working with APF to develop a Careers and Academic Committee in Germany, sharing our expertise.


Finally, I would like to thank Byron Jones, who could see the see the strengths and potential in PSI, back in the merger campaign. There is a lot to be said for maintaining ones Independence. Thank you Byron. J

I would like to thank Ray Harris (Eisai) who agreed to be Vice-Chair in my first year of office, and was a great help and support to me. Thank you Ray. J

I would also like to wish Lucy Rowell (Roche) all the success in her tenure as Chair. Lucy is a very talented leader and the future continues to look bright for PSI.


Kind regards


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