Professor Tom Solomon appointed Director of The Pandemic Institute




Professor Tom Solomon CBE, Chair of Neurology at the University of Liverpool and Director of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Protection Research Unit in Emerging and Zoonotic Infections has been appointed Director of The Pandemic Institute, as it puts out its first research funding call on monkeypox.


Professor Solomon will replace Professor Matthew Baylis who has served as Interim Director of The Pandemic Institute since June 2021 ahead of the official launch in September 2021.


About his appointment, Professor Tom Solomon said: “I am delighted to take on this new role as Director of The Pandemic Institute, following the brilliant job done by Matthew Baylis. The post provides a fantastic opportunity to strengthen links between Liverpool’s academic institutions, and the people of the city and city region. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how together we can produce world-leading research with local, national and international impact. Although some of the immediate threats of this pandemic have subsided, it is by no means over, and we need to take this opportunity to develop resilience. We also need to build on what we have learnt during the pandemic to create the tools needed to help us resist future emerging infection threats. We are currently dealing with an unprecedented outbreak of monkeypox in the UK and beyond, and The Pandemic Institute’s first funding call, which we are launching today is for research that addresses this new challenge.”


The Pandemic Institute’s first funding call will support research into monkeypox, a viral infection usually found in West and Central Africa. An increasing number of cases have been identified in the UK, and it is due to this unusual outbreak that the Institute’s first funding call will focus on research into this challenge. Applications for this pump-priming funding are welcomed from all founding partners of the Pandemic Institute and can be submitted via this form.


The Pandemic Institute’s mission is to accelerate the response to emerging infection threats, unify global intelligence and increase the reach and impact of research in this area. Through its founding partners, the Institute has an impressive breadth of world-leading clinical, academic, public health and data-driven expertise. The combined networks of partners and hubs located across the world provides a unique opportunity for The Pandemic Institute to maximise its global reach.

Commenting on the new Director appointment, Tony Reeves, Chief Executive of Liverpool City Council and Chair of the Pandemic Institute Steering Group, said: “Professor Tom Solomon brings with him a wealth of experience, having dedicated his career to addressing the threat of emerging viruses. He has played an important national role in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, leading international research into the effects of COVID-19 on the brain and advising the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) on vaccine safety. I look forward to working with Tom as the Pandemic Institute continues to prepare for and respond to the challenges posed by future pandemic threats.”


Professor Solomon, who received a CBE for services to research and the COVID-19 response, is also Head of the Brain Infections Group, Professor of Neurological Science, and Honorary Consultant Neurologist at the Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust and Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.


Professor Louise Kenny, Executive Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, said: “Professor Tom Solomon is an outstanding clinical scientist and a worthy successor to Professor Matthew Baylis who I would like to thank for his great contribution as the founding Director of the Pandemic Institute. The University of Liverpool is proud to have contributed to such a critical asset for the management of future pandemics and we offer Tom and the team our full support as the take the Institute forwards.”


Professor Matthew Baylis, outgoing Director of the Pandemic Institute and Chair of Veterinary Epidemiology at the University of Liverpool, said: “I am delighted to be handing over the role of Director of The Pandemic Institute to Tom, whose experience and expertise will be an asset to the Institute. I look forward to witnessing the growth of The Pandemic Institute and how the outputs of its work continue to be translated into policy, solutions and real-world impact both locally and across the globe.”

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