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Introducing the MRC Investigators

by Guest Author on 8 Dec 2020

In this blog, Professor Fiona Watt, Executive Chair of the Medical Research Council (MRC), writes about the new title of “MRC Investigator” and its significance for Programme Leaders and Programme Leader Track Researchers.

I am delighted to share with you that we have recently bestowed the new title of “MRC Investigator” on Programme Leaders (PL) and Programme Leader Track (PLT) researchers at our Units and Intramural Institutes. These individuals are world-class scientists who are either strong leaders in their field already (PLs) or are making great strides towards that goal (PLTs). To support these researchers in advancing medical research, MRC provides core funding to the Intramural Institutes and University Units where they carry out their work.

Despite their exceptional talent and accomplishment, MRC PL and PLT researchers do not always receive the visibility and recognition they deserve. This is especially true within the University setting where the same title can indicate a different status depending on the location. The title “MRC Investigator” was chosen to reflect the considerable achievements of these individuals, which is on a par with those of members of other prestigious Investigator schemes, such as that of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in the USA. Furthermore, by having a title that is not already commonly used in Universities, there will be no doubt as to the level of expertise and knowledge of MRC Investigators.

Professor Fiona Watt

Professor Fiona Watt, MRC Executive Chair

MRC endeavours to do everything it can to support its researchers at all career stages. For this reason, we chose not to distinguish between levels of seniority within the title. We believe this will be an advantage to junior leaders on a Programme Leader Track, as it will clearly indicate that they have secured a highly competitive funding package. Having been in their position earlier in my career, I can empathise with the need for a researcher’s CV to stand out from the numerous applications that funders receive.

In addition to increasing their recognition among the scientific and academic community, the new title will also be a signal to the public the expert-status of MRC Investigators. The values and mission of MRC include disseminating knowledge and promoting dialogue with the public about medical research. We hope that this new title will become widely recognised and will endow confidence and trust in the information our Investigators provide.

I am very much looking forward to engaging with our MRC Investigators. Based on what they have achieved in their careers so far, I know that they will make the new title synonymous with scientific accomplishment, expertise and integrity.


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