‘JVT’ to become Senior Strategy Adviser in Medicine for the University

February 21st, 2023

Professor Sir Jonathan Van-Tam will step aside as Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences as he reaches the conclusion of his interim appointment in Spring 2023 and take on a new part-time role as Senior Strategy Adviser in Medicine for the University.

The new role will enable ‘JVT’, as he is affectionately known, to continue to support and maintain the momentum on improvements for the School of Medicine, advise the Vice Chancellor and Executive Board about the strategic future of medicine in the University, and continue to represent the University’s interests in medicine and healthcare more broadly, whilst enabling him to construct a portfolio approach to the latter part of his career which encompasses his many external interests and appointments.

A global search will now commence for a substantive Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences. Professor Clive Roberts, currently Head of the School of Life Sciences, will lead the faculty on an interim basis in the meantime, whilst Professor Susan Anderson will become interim Head of School.

A new advisory group chaired by Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Jane Norman will support JVT, School of Medicine Dean Professor Claire Stewart and colleagues in continuing to deliver the programme to improve its leadership, culture, research and the student experience.

During his period as Pro-Vice-Chancellor, JVT has led significant changes, particularly in the School of Medicine, to transform its leadership and improve culture, appointing Professor Claire Stewart as the new Dean and Head of the School of Medicine, Professor Claire Sharpe as Dean of Medical Education, and Jonathan Lamley as Head of Medical School Operations. He has also appointed Professor Ben Ollivere as the new Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research Knowledge and Exchange following Richard Eames’ departure to Nottingham Trent University.

JVT has also overseen the final stages of securing the landmark Memorandum of Understanding with Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust which will improve healthcare practices and outcomes for people living in the city and county as well as opportunities for further collaboration in relation to student education and training, research and innovation, people and infrastructure across the two organisations.

Looking back on his achievements and ahead to his new role, Professor Van Tam said:

“I have been a member of the University of Nottingham community for most of my adult life and it was a privilege to return from government to the role of interim Pro-Vice-Chancellor where a big task lay ahead – to re-establish momentum and direction across the Faculty and in particular to lead the School of Medicine in turning a corner.

“The last ten months have been a true whirlwind of activity and the mission given to me was to be the catalyst for many of these changes. I am genuinely confident that a new leadership team is now assembling, with the right sense of values and purpose, real focus, and a true grasp of the mission. It feels like we can go from here, slowly but surely, to a position of regained strength and prominence, rebuilding morale, wellbeing, and culture as we do so.

“When I returned to Nottingham, it was agreed that my role would be interim one and that it would be possible to review the lie of the land in early-to-mid 2023. The truth of the matter is that I’m not ready to leave, but I will be eligible for my NHS pension in less than 12 months and this mission of ours is a marathon not a sprint that will need fresh legs for some time to come.

“I have a lot more to give but in a slightly different way, in contributing experience from a lifetime’s work that has taken me to the NHS, the Public Health Laboratory Service, the Health Protection Agency, Public Health England, and the World Health Organisation; the pharmaceutical and vaccine industries; and of course deep exposure to central Government.

“Becoming Senior Strategy Adviser in Medicine for the University will allow me to continue my contribution here whilst constructing a portfolio-based career which takes in many of my current external interests and appointments.

“Being an academic at the University of Nottingham has been the backbone of my career for so long. It has been a privilege and a pleasure from Day One. The people I’ve worked with over the years have been truly fabulous as colleagues and friends. To this day, I’m so proud of being a Nottingham-trained healthcare professional. I now look forward to serving you and working alongside you in a different way in the future.”

Vice-Chancellor Professor Shearer West thanked Jonathan for his service as Pro-Vice-Chancellor and looked forward to his new role, saying:

“I am deeply impressed with the work that Jonathan has delivered as interim Pro-Vice-Chancellor, not least for the School of Medicine, and I am delighted that the University is retaining his services in his new strategic advisory role. Jonathan’s positive impact on the Faculty for Medicine and Health Sciences has been immense and this new role will enable him to provide continuity for the leadership and reforms he has set down for the School of Medicine.

“Jonathan’s connections and influence in government, the National Health Service and the medicine and healthcare industries will continue to prove invaluable to the University’s significant and growing interests in these areas and I look forward to continuing to work with him closely.

“A global search will now commence to identify Jonathan’s substantive successor as Pro-Vice-Chancellor, and I am grateful to Professor Clive Roberts who will lead the Faculty in the meantime. The new advisory group chaired by Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Jane Norman will support him and colleagues across the School of Medicine in continuing his reforms to improve leadership, culture, research and the student experience in Medicine.”

A specialist in influenza, including its epidemiology, transmission, vaccinology and pandemic preparedness, Professor Van-Tam was Professor of Health Protection in the Faculty’s School of Medicine prior to his government secondment as DCMO for England. He is also an alumnus of the University, graduating from the School of Medicine in 1987, continuing a tradition established by his father who studied Maths and Physics from 1964 to 1967. One of JVT’s children has also just graduated from the University in Nursing.

A familiar public face during the Covid-19 pandemic, he was one of four Deputy Chief Medical Officers (DCMO), where he was a key provider of independent advice to the Government on Covid-19, leading on health protection and regularly presenting at Downing Street press conferences. He received a knighthood for his services to public health.

As the DCMO for Health Protection, Professor Van-Tam has played important roles in a number of different incidents, including domestic outbreaks of MERS and Monkeypox, the 2017/18 influenza season and most notably the response to the Novichok attacks and the Covid-19 pandemic where he worked on the Vaccine Taskforce and supported the development of treatments.

The University’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences consists of four Schools encompassing Medicine, Health Sciences, Life Sciences and Veterinary Medicine and Science. It educates more than 5,000 students and conducts world-leading translational, applied and clinical research with a focus on making a real-life impact to patients and the public.

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