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Chief medical officer Professor Dame Sally Davies to be first female master of Trinity College, Cambridge

The chief medical officer of England, Professor Dame Sally Davies, has been appointed by the Queen as the next master of Trinity College, replacing Nobel Prize winner Sir Gregory Winter.

Dame Sally Davies (7061963)
Dame Sally Davies (7061963)

Dame Sally will be taking on the role in October this year when she will be formally during ‘installed’ in a traditional ceremony attended by the fellowship of Trinity.

Currently the chief medical officer for England and chief medical advisor to the UK government, Dame Sally is a fellow of the Royal Society and a fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. She was made dame commander for services to medicine in 2009.

Dame Sally will be the 39th master of Trinity and the first woman in the role. She said: “It truly is a privilege and an honour to be appointed master of Trinity, especially to be the first female master. I am excited to get started and to continue building the prestigious legacy of this inspiring College.”

Dame Sally’s election follows a global search for a suitably qualified and experienced candidate after Nobel Prize winner Sir Gregory Winter CBE FRS FMedSci, who has been master of Trinity since 2012, announced his intention to step down.

Dame Sally worked in the NHS as a consultant haematologist for 30 years before joining the Civil Service in 2004. She became Director General of Research and Development for the NHS and created the National Institute for Health Research. She was the first woman to be appointed the chief medical officer, in 2010.

She is best known for successfully paving the way for international and domestic efforts in the fight against antimicrobial resistance, and leading the UK government’s response to health emergencies including Ebola, pandemic flu, and the Novichok attacks. Dame Sally will step down as chief medical officer at the end of September and will move into her new position in October 2019.

Professor Grae Worster, vice master of Trinity, said: "We are delighted to welcome Professor Dame Sally Davies to Trinity. Her distinguished career as an academic and consultant haematologist, as well as her extensive experience in public administration, will be of great benefit to the college.

"The position of master of Trinity is a Crown appointment. The incumbent is both an ambassador for the college – promoting Trinity’s values in higher education and research excellence – and chair of council, the executive arm and trustees of the college."

Dame Sally’s tasks will include chairing the weekly meetings of council, overseeing operational and policy matters, engaging with students, and supporting Trinity’s alumni relations activity around the world.

Professor Catherine Barnard, senior tutor at Trinity, said: “Dame Sally’s election to the mastership is exciting news for Trinity. We are celebrating 40 years since the college became co-educational and I know fellows, students and staff will look forward to working with Dame Sally to ensure Trinity continues to offer the very best environment for learning and research.”

Prof Sir Gregory Winter. Picture: Trinity College, University of Cambridge. (7063632)
Prof Sir Gregory Winter. Picture: Trinity College, University of Cambridge. (7063632)

Professor Worster paid tribute to Sir Gregory Winter’s hard work and commitment to the college during his tenure as master.

The biotech engineer is best known for his research and innovations relating to humanised therapeutic antibodies, which led to a new class of drug and transformative treatments for cancer and autoimmune diseases. Sir Greg shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2018.

Dame Sally is the 39th master and the 40th appointment to the role since Henry VIII founded the college in 1546. William Bill was master twice: from 1551 to 1553, and from 1558 to 1561, after he was reappointed under Elizabeth I.

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