2022: A look to the year ahead

11 Feb 2022
Lake Albert, Uganda during a schistosomiasis survey. Snails were sampled in the lake. All 30 children surveyed in the nearby school tested positive for schistosomiasis despite regular treatment with praziquantel

As we start another busy and exciting year at the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, Chief Executive Tamar Ghosh lays out plans for the year ahead.

It may already be February, but I want to start by wishing you all a Happy New Year. I hope 2022 is a healthier one than the year that has passed, and that we get to see more of our friends, family and colleagues in person. The year has already had a strong start for us at RSTMH, with a packed agenda of activities kicking off 2022.


Our team has seen some changes so far this year. We have been joined by Carney Battenti, our new Meeting and Events Manager. We said goodbye to some valued team members, our Membership Manager Claire Coveney and our Managing Editor Emma Williams both moved on this month. We want to send them a massive thank you for all of their hard work during their time with RSMTH, and wish them the best for the future. 

We are really pleased to be starting the year with Professor Janet Hemingway as RSTMH president, after she was appointed to the role in October. Professor Hemingway is Emeritus Professor at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and we know that with her at the helm, as well as our other Officers, Board and Committees, RSTMH will go from strength to strength.


We were really excited to open our grants programme earlier this month. We made the decision to give the programme a new name this year. Formerly known as our Small Grants Programme, they will now be known as RSTMH Early Career Grants. We thought long and hard about this name change, which we feel better reflects those awarded and the impact of the awards on the individuals and their careers.

The programme itself remains the same – early career researchers and global health professionals based anywhere in the world, who have not had research funding in their own name before, can apply for a grant of up to £5,000 (GBP) to deliver a project over one year. Find out more about the Early Career Grants Programme here and make sure you get your submission in by the deadline on the 29 April. 

Last year we had almost 1,200 submissions and awarded 202 grants to individuals across 42 countries, meaning over the last four years we have been almost doubling the number of awards each year. We hope to continue this trend this year, something we wouldn’t be able to do without the support of our generous partners.

Meetings and Events

We are really excited to be planning more face-to-face events this year, after the success of our Research in Progress meeting in London which we held in November of 2021. We have our 47th Annual Topics in Infection in the calendar for June of this year in London and our Annual Meeting will be taking place in October in Liverpool, on the theme of Malaria.

We are exploring a programme of events that will take place outside the UK this year too, with more details to come. I’m planning to travel to India next month to look for locations for future RSTMH events. We want to continue offering a balance of virtual and face-to-face this year, to ensure we keep the gains of being more accessible but don’t lose opportunities for creating spaces for building new relationships. 

Medals and Awards

It’s an extremely full year for our Medals and Awards, this year we will be looking for submissions for our prestigious Sir Patrick Manson Medal, which is awarded triennially. Others taking place this year include the Donald Mackay Medal, the Chalmers Medal, the Sir Rickard Christophers Medal and the Emerging Leaders Award. More information on these will be announced in due course.

We’re also arranging Medal talks from winners who we have yet to hear from including individuals such as Eleni Aklillu, 2020 Donald MacKay Medal recipient; Alex Ezeh, 2020 George Macdonald Medal recipient; Charles Wondki, 2021 Chalmers Award recipient; Professor Alex Ezeh, joint recipient of the 2020 George Macdonald Medal; and, Dr Maria Eugenia Grillet, 2021 Hemingway Award recipient. 


We are looking forward to publishing a number of Journal supplements this year, in partnerships with organisations including Sightsavers and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. Our first supplement will be on Eye Health, which we have worked on with Sightsavers, as part of a wider dissemination partnership. We will be able to reach scientific and non-scientific audiences to share important successes in the field through journals, our website, our social media channels and wider networks.

We hope to continue the increase of the impact factors of both Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene and International Health, which last year both saw significant increases. We are very grateful to our Editors-in-Chief and dedicated community of authors, reviewers and editors for all their efforts and support of the journals.


The last couple of years has seen continued growth within our membership, a trend we hope continues into 2022. We hope to expand across all audiences within our area, including more individuals working within the NGO, nursing and veterinary medicine communities.

Our Members Area, which launched last year, has gone from strength to strength, by showcasing articles and webinars for our members. We will continue to work on developing this throughout 2022, as we add more unique content and bring value to our members.

Our office space

We are now offering our meeting and office facilities for our members and partners to use. As a charity, RSTMH is making these available to our friends for a suggested donation of as little as £20 an hour.

Northumberland House, the home of RSTMH, is located just five minutes’ walk from Holborn and Chancery Lane underground stations. We are situated in High Holborn, close to many academic institutions and other organisations working in global health, including LSHTM, LSE and the Wellcome Trust. Whether you want to use one of the spaces or just find out more, do get in touch with amelia [dot] fincham [at] rstmh [dot] org (Amelia).


2022 is the last year of our current five year strategy, and in this time we have achieved a huge amount. We agreed a new vision, mission and scope of work, which is now successfully embedded. We continue to strive to be at the heart of the tropical medicine and global health community, providing the knowledge and networks, across all disciplines, that drive impact.  

We have improved our infrastructure to ensure it represents the goals of the organisation, which include restructuring the team to focus on our key activities, having strong governance, as well as effective systems. We’ve also improved our offer for our members, partners and networks, while delivering impact for our members, RSTMH and the global health community.

However, these past couple of years have been challenging for many charities like us. Although we have kept delivering our work as planned we have seen a drop in our income from some activities like our events. Now, more than ever, we believe our work to strengthen the careers of those in global health, particularly those just starting out who are the future leaders of the sector, is even more crucial. To help us continue this work, however, we need your financial support. Find out how you can support us here. 

As we look towards our next five-year strategy, our next stage will be a period of listening and learning as we start the consultation process


As we look towards our next five-year strategy, our next stage will be a period of listening and learning as we start the consultation process. We will be asking your views on what you believe our focus should be for the next five years, led by our board and involving our team, members, partners and friends within the global health community. We will be sharing how you can be involved in this process, so watch this space.

As we embark on 2022 we want to thank our amazing network of volunteers, who make RSTMH the organisation it is today. As a small team, we wouldn’t be able to be the organisation that we are today without our Student Ambassadors, Country Ambassadors, Board, committees, Global Assessors, Editorial Board and reviewers. Thank you to you all and we hope you have a productive 2022.