Dr Ian Lewis has recently joined the NCRI as Head of Clinical Research Groups as a maternity cover. In our latest 60 second interview, Ian tells us about his background and what he has enjoyed working on so far at the NCRI.

What were you doing before joining the NCRI?
Before joining the NCRI I was the Director of Research and Policy for the charity Tenovus Cancer Care. My role there was incredibly broad with strategic responsibility for all research funding, the evaluation of their cancer support services, prevention campaigns, and the development of evidence based policy. Like many roles in the charity sector no two days were the same. One day I could be presenting evidence to a Government inquiry on screening the next I could be running cell biology demonstrations on a converted Ice Cream Van laboratory!

What attracted you to the NCRI? 
After 10 years at Tenovus Cancer Care I was ready for a new challenge, and when I saw the role advertised at the NCRI it was too good an opportunity to miss! I have worked closely with the NCRI as a Partner representative for many years and have always totally supported its core aims of coordinating research and fostering collaborations that drive improvements in cancer research.

Tell us a little more about your role?
Another thing that attracted me to the role was the fact that it is so varied. I am currently overseeing the work of the NCRI’s 18 Clinical Studies Groups, 2 Advisory Groups, the Clinical and Translational Radiotherapy Research Working Group (CTRad) and the Cancer Clinical Trials Units (CTU) Group all of which help drive clinical studies and high quality research projects across all cancer types and areas of cancer research.

I am also responsible for the NCRI Consumer Forum, a group of over 80 cancer patients, carers and other people affected by cancer who work with the NCRI on all aspects of our work from setting strategy to advising on research proposals.

What have you enjoyed working on so far?
I’ve only been in post for less than 2 months but already I’ve had the opportunity to get stuck in with some really exciting projects and initiatives that I truly believe are going to improve cancer research in the UK and ultimately have tangible benefits for people affected by cancer. Having the opportunity to work for an organisation where I can say that is incredibly exciting.
Also the NCRI staff are a great bunch and have made me feel very much at home!

What are you looking forward to working on in the next 6 months?
I’ve been fortunate to join the NCRI at a very exciting time. We are shortly going to be launching our new strategy which is really going to ensure that we continue to drive improvements in cancer research across the UK for many years to come. I’m really looking forward to working with all of our Clinical Research Groups to underpin this strategy as they are so key in developing, coordinating and improving cancer research.

How do you see NCRI developing in the next 12 months?
This year is going to be very exciting, not only are we launching our new strategy but also there are a number of key initiatives which will be of great interest to the research community, our Partners and of course cancer patients themselves. Alongside this the NCRI is going to continue to coordinate a huge amount of activity that drives improvements in cancer research which I can’t wait to be involved in.