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As we look to 2023, we at the Royal Society of Biology take this opportunity to reflect on the work that we have carried out this year, working with and on behalf of the bioscience community, and specifically our individual and organisational members, and to wish members, partners and colleagues a happy and restful festive period.

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We started 2022 by launching our Strategy & Three Year Business Plan for 2022 - 2024 as part of or ten-year vision, incorporating valuable input from Member Organisations, special interest groups, branch committees, working groups, and individual members. Our goals include supporting biologists at all stages of their career and study, playing a central role in setting standards and facilitating improved quality for practice in biology, and assessing progress to improve diversity and inclusion in all aspects of our work.

We also celebrated members recognised in the New Year’s Honours list. Congratulations to all.

To support our environmental work and the plant science community, we collaborated with Defra to deliver a series of plant health workshops that aimed to develop a diverse community from across the sector and build the UK plant health capability, capacity and resilience. This work builds upon several ongoing initiatives, including the plant health professionals register, the popular plant health undergraduate studentships programme, and the inaugural plant health summit for future leaders.

We consulted with members and the sector to respond to numerous science and education policy consultations, including a response to the draft UKRI Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, a written submission to the House of Lords Science Committee inquiry on people and skills in UK science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and a response to the Scottish Government’s National Discussion on education.

As we continue to strive for excellence in education, 58 bioscience degree programmes (including three international programmes) were awarded accreditation by the RSB this year in recognition of the high standards of education provided. We celebrated newly accredited institutions and top performing graduates of accredited degree programmes at a special Westminster event.

Professor Sir Ian Boyd, professor of biology at the University of St Andrews, began his term in office as RSB president, following Professor Dame Julia Goodfellow’s four-year term. The handover took place at this year’s Annual General Meeting, which was held in-person for the first time since 2019.

As part of our work to provide ongoing support for biologists, the RSB joined a new network dedicated to providing teachers with career-long, science-specific development opportunities. Together with the Institute of Physics, Primary Science Teaching Trust and the Royal Society of Chemistry, we formed an advisory board for STEM Learning’s new Science Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Partnership with the Association for Science Education and the Ogden Trust.

As we look to inspire future biologists, RSB's flagship Biology Week returned to an in-person format in October with events and activities for members and the public. The week was full of activities led by our regional branches, Member Organisations, schools and partners. A highlight was the Annual Awards Ceremony, held at Carlton House Terrace, to celebrate RSB competition and award winners, such as the Photography Competition, Outreach and Engagement awards and School Biology Teacher of the Year.

To end the year, we delivered the final event in our Policy Lates discussion series, and asked what bioscience skills are needed for the development of biology. The event brought together sector leaders to discuss different perspectives, and explored how scientists can be inclusive of, and responsive to, the values of the global society.

Dr Mark Downs CBiol CSci FRSB, RSB chief executive, said: "It’s been a busy and productive year, in which we have increasingly combined online and virtual meetings and events and continued our key work of supporting our members while representing the interests of all those involved in the biosciences  - whether through their work, studies or general interest in biology.

"We very much appreciate the continued valuable support of individual and organisational members, strategic partners, branches, volunteers and other partners which makes all of this possible, and we wish everyone the very best for 2023."

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