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Scientific Advisory Committee Chair

The Organisation:

Breakthrough Cancer Research (Breakthrough) is an Irish Medical charity committed to funding research to improve cancer care and patient outcomes.  Focusing particularly on the poorest prognosis cancers which constitute approximately 40% of all cancer deaths annually, we ensure patient benefit is at the core of our efforts. Breakthrough’s ambitions and plans are already producing significant research impact. We will continue to achieve our strategic objectives through increased investment and focus on our key research priorities over the next several years. 

Breakthrough is seeking an incoming trustee to join the Board of Directors and Chair our Scientific Advisory Committee. Our Scientific Advisory Committee is made up of Internationally-based leaders in both Clinical and Industry focused Research on cancer.  There are no Irish-based members to avoid any potential Conflict of Interest and ensure impartiality and transparency. 

The Board are seeking a growth-oriented individual with an ambitious stance on research innovation and healthcare transformation. Candidates with the following credentials are particularly welcome to apply:

  • Experience in Strategy and Development in Clinical, Translational, Medical or Health Research in a non-cancer context.
  • Good knowledge and understanding of the National Academic Research landscape, Grant Funding Models, Clinical Trials and/or applied Research.

If you have experience in any or all of these areas and want to play a key role in improving cancer outcomes, we are keen to hear from you.  Responsibilities will include the following. 

General duties of a Charity Trustee

  • Comply with the Charity’s governing document
  • Ensuring the charity is complying with its charitable purpose for the public benefit
  • Acting in the best interest of the charity
  • Act with Reasonable Care and Skill
  • Manage the assets of your charity

The Scientific Advisory Committee

The Scientific Advisory Committee is a group of distinguished scientists with expertise in cancer research to advise Breakthrough on matters of research policy and strategy and on specific projects that are proposed by internal or external parties to be sponsored by Breakthrough. 

  • The Committee is specifically not a sub-committee of the Board.
  • All scientific and research grant recommendations to the Board are made by this Committee. 
  • Final budget sign off for research and grants is solely the responsibility of the Board.

The responsibilities of the Scientific Advisory Committee Chair are delegated by the Board of Directors and are as follows:

  • Provides leadership and governance of the Scientific Advisory Committee to create the conditions for overall Committee and individual member effectiveness.
  • With the Executive, ensures that all key and appropriate issues are discussed by the Committee in a timely manner.
  • Advises the Board on membership of the Committee.
  • Promotes effective relationships and open communication among Committee members and with the Executive.
  • Creates an environment that facilitates constructive debates on challenges and strategies.
  • Ensures that the Scientific Advisory Committee, plays a full and constructive part in the development and determination of the Organisation's research strategies and policies, and that Committee decisions taken are in the Organisation’s best interests and fairly reflect committee consensus.
  • Sets, in consultation with the Research Manager and Chief Executive, the Committee meeting schedule and agenda to take full account of the important research issues facing the Organisation. Ensures that adequate time is available for thorough discussion of critical and strategic issues.
  • Ensures that the Board is properly briefed on issues arising in the Committee for discussion at Main Board meetings.
  • May be requested by the Executive from time to time to adjudicate on the granting of financial support to projects below a fixed sum set by the Board.  Examples might include extension of support to allow project completion.

Qualities and skills required

  • Background in medical/clinical/health research that matches the ambitions and plans of Breakthrough.
  • Experience in membership of a similar scientific advisory body in a charity would be an asset.
  • Experience in leading a health research strategy in a charity would be an asset.
  • Track record of research publications (over 100 publications)
  • Good leadership skills
  • Good communication and interpersonal skills
  • Impartiality, fairness, and the ability to respect confidences
  • Ability to ensure decisions are taken and followed-up
  • Good timekeeping
  • Tact and diplomacy
  • Understanding of the roles/responsibilities of a governing body

Additional Note:

Breakthrough has a distinguished and active Scientific Advisory Committee in place, chaired by a Director of the Company. A Public Patient Involvement Panel is also established which contributes to the research strategy and activities.

Board & Committee Meetings:

There will be six (4-6) Board meetings annually.  The Scientific Advisory Committee Chair also attends Board meetings which may occur between 2-3 times a year. Meetings are held in Dublin, Cork and virtually, to suit the Chair and Board members.

Scientific Advisory Committee Chair

Published on 06.07.2022

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