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Trustee Role Description: Early Career Trustee

Role title: Early Career Trustee
Accountable to: Board of trustees
Term of office: Four years

The British Society for Immunology is one of the oldest and most active immunology societies in the world and the largest in Europe.  Our membership is global, but the majority of the 3,500 members are based in the UK. The Society’s objective is to promote excellence in research, scholarship and clinical practice in immunology in order to improve human and animal health.

Trustees make active and dynamic contributions to the Board, using their wide-ranging skills, knowledge and experience to ensure good governance and the development of strategy for the Society.   They feed into wider activities which help enhance the work of immunology. The Board of Trustees has up to ten elected members, and up to 4 co-opted individuals with specific expertise. Elected Trustees include the President, Treasurer, Chair of Forum, Clinical Secretary and two Early Career Trustees, all members of the Society.   Co-opted trustees are appointed by the Board for their skills and expertise in finance, legal matters and other areas deemed necessary to ensure that the duties and obligations of the Board are fulfilled. 

Two of the positions are for early career trustees.  The definition for this is:

Postgraduate and post-doctoral immunologists within eight years of award of PhD, provided they do not hold a tenured post in academia.  Clinical immunology trainees up to consultant level who are not within six months of attaining a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) and clinical research fellows. Trustees must be members of the BSI.  Allowances are made for career breaks.

Trustees are appointed for four years, may be elected for a second term, and may not serve more than two consecutive terms.  They are expected to attend Board meetings in London four times a year.  These are unremunerated positions but expenses such as travel are met by the Society.

Board meetings are chaired by the President (or a deputy Trustee) and are attended by the CEO and other senior staff. Other appointed officers, Secretaries, Chairs of sub-committees and Editors-in-Chief of the Society’s journals are invited to attend Board meetings to report on BSI activities annually.

General responsibilities for Trustees

  • Ensure that the Society is carrying out its purposes for which it is set up, as set out in its governing documents, the Articles of Association and the Rules.
  • Comply with the governing documents and charity law requirements, having training where needed and taking advice on charity or company law changes. 
  • Are responsible for sound governance of the Society, ensuring openness and following good charity practice, working with other trustees to make balanced decisions.
  • Work with other trustees to agree and set the BSI’s five-year strategy, setting annual strategic and operational goals and evaluating delivery of activities and goals against annual targets.
  • Manage the BSI’s resources responsibly, ensuring that there is proper financial oversight and responsibility for expenditure and investment policies.   
  • Oversee the risk register to ensure that all risks are regularly recorded, understood and acted upon where necessary.
  • Ensure that the mission and the values of the Society are safeguarded.  Oversee the effective operation of the Society, working with the CEO and senior management team to guide and improve delivery of activities.
  • Appoint the Chief Executive Officer and monitor his or her performance, carrying out an annual appraisal.
  • Work with the BSI committee members and with staff to advise and guide on various areas of Society’s work, attending Congress where possible and attending meetings with external bodies.
  • All Trustees must understand and accept the legal duties, responsibilities and liabilities of trusteeship and adhere to Nolan's seven principles of public life: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.

In addition to compliance with statutory duties, every Trustee should use their specific skills, knowledge, or experience they have to help the board of trustees reach sound decisions.

Person specification

  • A demonstrable commitment to the Society and to immunology
  • Fair, independent judgment and a willingness to speak their mind
  • An ability to work collaboratively and collectively, accepting consensus.
  • A willingness to deal with conflicts of interest and loyalty.
  • Able to give enough time, thought and energy to your role, for example by preparing for, attending and actively participating in all trustees’ meetings
  • A willingness to engage with members, act as an ‘’ambassador for the BSI and promote its values and purpose.


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