At the conference dinner in Manchester this year, the creation of two very special scholarships was announced. The scholarships are in memory of one of the founding fathers of EMWA, Geoff Hall, who sadly passed away in 2010.
Geoff was not only a founding member of EMWA, but was also a past president, wrote the original EMWA constitution, was an extremely experienced workshop leader, and a stalwart of the social scene. However, aside from his vast knowledge and talent as a medical writer, he will also be remembered for his incredible ability to inspire and include people. Many EMWA members (myself included) have lots of blurred memories of social gatherings in EMWA conference hotel bars, and Geoff would make sure that everyone knew everybody else by the end of the conference, if not the evening!
Geoff felt very strongly that the future of EMWA (and any organisation) lies with younger members joining and moving through the organisation to become workshop leaders and members of the EMWA committees – and he was right. So with that in mind, the Executive Committee has decided to honour Geoff and his huge contribution to EMWA by focusing on younger members with the creation of the Geoff Hall Memorial Scholarships.
Two scholarships will be awarded each year to new medical writers, on the basis of an essay that will be judged by the Nick Thompson Fellows, plus John Carpenter and myself. The title of the essay will change each year, and the winning entries will be published in Medical Writing. In line with Geoff's personality, the scholarships are very generous – each one will entitle the winner to 2 years’ membership of EMWA, free conference registration throughout the 2 years, and a free Foundation level workshop at their first conference.
The title of this year's essay is: Where does medical writing fit in research? The essay should be no more than two pages long, and the judges will be looking for inspiration and logical thought rather than a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer. Anyone who has been a medical writer for less than 1 year may apply, and essays (plus a CV) should be submitted to EMWA Head Office (info@EMWA.org).
Although Geoff will never be forgotten by those who met him, I believe that the scholarships are a truly fitting way for Geoff's memory to live on in EMWA. I know that wherever he is now, he will love the fact that he will still be ‘meeting’ new EMWA members for a very long time to come.
Lisa Chamberlain James