Behavioural medicine lecturer wins award for early-career pharmacy research

Sion Scott was selected as the winner of the 2024 Outstanding Pharmacy Early-Career Researcher Award for his research using behavioural science to facilitate routine deprescribing of medicines where the risks outweigh their benefits.
sion scott

Sion Scott, a lecturer in behavioural medicine and lead postgraduate research tutor at the University of Leicester, has won the 2024 ‘Outstanding Pharmacy Early-Career Researcher Award’ (OPERA).

The award, which is granted by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) and The Pharmaceutical Journal, recognises early-career researchers from across pharmacy and the pharmaceutical sciences, who demonstrate potential to achieve world-leading status.

Scott was selected from five shortlisted nominees for his research using behavioural science to facilitate the routine proactive deprescribing of medicines where the risks outweigh their benefits.

An intervention that he developed during his PhD is now being trialled as part of the ‘Comprehensive Geriatrician-led Medication Review’ (CHARMER) research project — for which he is co-investigator and programme manager — involving 22,000 patients in 24 hospitals across England.

Scott has also developed behaviour change interventions that are already influencing government policy and being adopted nationally, with recommendations from his deprescribing research embedded in the government’s response to the 2021 ‘National overprescribing review’.

His many achievements also include the co-development of the Medicine Acceptability Questionnaire, which is being used in phase III studies by pharmaceutical companies to evaluate their new medicines.

The impact of Scott’s research extends beyond the UK, with a group in Switzerland using his implementation framework for deprescribing interventions in hospitals to design their own hospital deprescribing intervention, and another group in Australia adapting it for their primary care system.

On being awarded the prize, Scott said: “I am delighted to have been recognised by my professional body, the RPS, for the contribution that my research is making to the advancement of the science of medicines and clinical pharmacy.

“The 2024 ‘OPERA’ prize recognises the importance of applying behavioural science to address medicines optimisation challenges and is a culmination of a portfolio of collaborative projects both here, in the UK, and internationally.”

Amira Guirguis, MPharm programme director at Swansea University Medical School and chair of the RPS Science and Research Committee, said: “We are thrilled to commend Sion Scott as the winner of OPERA. This prestigious award celebrates Sion’s remarkable contributions to the advancement of the science of medicines and clinical pharmacy.”

Guirguis added that Scott’s research has had “a profound impact on the field of pharmacy”, noting that creativity and public engagement are “hallmarks” of his career.

“He is a founding member of the Network of European Researchers in Deprescribing Network and the UK lead for a recent EU COST Action application,” she said, adding that he has “co-led international conferences and delivered numerous media interviews, enhancing the public’s understanding of his research”.

“Sion is undoubtedly making a notable contribution to the future of pharmacy research, making him an outstanding candidate and worthy recipient of this award,” Guirguis said.

Parastou Donyai, chief scientist at the RPS, said: “I am in awe of the field again this year; OPERA being in its second year attracted another fantastic set of nominations and, to me, all those nominated are winners as they demonstrated the skills you need to succeed in research: resilience, perseverance and the exercise of intelligence. Congratulations to all — the longlist, the shortlist and the winner.”

Click here to see the full OPERA 2024 shortlist

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, June 2024, Vol 312, No 7986;312(7986)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2024.1.321549

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