In October, we were sad to say farewell to our Chief Executive, Mike Daw, who led the charity for the last six years.  Mike built strong foundations for the National Eye Research Centre which will enable the charity to grow in the years to come under the leadership of his successor, Laura Serratrice.

Laura has 15 years' experience in medical research fundraising gained in both the higher education sector - she was Head of Fundraising for seven years to the University of Bristol - and in two medical charities.

Welcoming the appointment, our Chairman Rod Grey, said:

We are extremely grateful to Mike for his hard work and thoughtful precision during his time with us.  Thanks to Mike, the organisation is in a much stronger position to look ahead and plan for its future growth.  While we wish Mike a long and fulfilling retirement, we are delighted to welcome Laura in her new role.  Together with Laura, we look forward to working with our existing and future supporters to ensure that we can increase our funding of outstanding research projects.

Laura is thrilled with the challenge ahead:

When I moved into the fundraising sector, I had only one goal: to help medical advancements to save and change people's lives around the world.  Fifteen years on, my passion for medical research fundraising remains just as deep and as compelling because of a simple single fact: research finds cures.  Except that research is anything but simple.  It's only thanks to the painstaking determination of the countless scientists and clinicians, and to the millions, even billions, of pounds that have been made available over the last four or five decades that many fields of medicine have achieved so much in terms of prevention and treatment of previously intractable, often fatal, conditions.

Eye research, on the contrary, seems to be suffering from chronic underfunding.  While much progress has been made in the field, so much more needs to be done, but new advancements will only be made possible through increased funding in the sector.  I am hugely passionate about the transformative power of philanthropy when it comes to problem solving.  I've seen it happen so many times and I'm looking forward to working with my colleagues to help find more solutions to sight loss and blindness.

Laura Serratrice joined the National Eye Research Centre as Chief Executive Officer on 1 November 2018.