Health of the public in 2040

Health of the public in 2040

The Academy of Medical Sciences’ latest report, ‘Improving the health of the public by 2040’, explores how the UK’s research environment needs to adapt to meet the complex health challenges we will face in the future.


Our health is shaped by an enormous range of factors.

The air we breathe. The food we eat. The taxes we pay. The places we live, work and learn. The people we know. And many more.

By 2040, the UK population will face a wide range of complex health challenges and opportunities.

Our aspiration is for substantial, ongoing and sustainable improvements in health and health equity.

To achieve this, we must think about the health of the public as a whole. We must take a broader view of the factors affecting health. And we must embrace all the different tools – from legislation to environmental design – that will allow us to prevent the onset of ill health.

In our new report, we set out how research needs to adapt to help make these changes and meet this aspiration.

We need to better coordinate research funding, far beyond the boundaries of just biomedicine, so that transdisciplinary teams can address the diverse and interlinked challenges facing our population.

We need more evidence on how to realise the transformative potential of new technologies and big data, and enough people trained to act on these emerging opportunities.

We need to act now to ensure that future research and health leaders have a comprehensive understanding of the wider drivers of health and how to address them.

We need researchers to work with all sectors of society, ensuring that policy and healthcare are based on the best possible evidence, communicating messages effectively, and meaningfully engaging the public in research.

And we need to take a global view — UK health cannot be seen in isolation, and efforts to improve the health of the public must reflect the UK’s contributions to the challenges of global health.

What we’re trying to achieve is a monumental task. So we call on all those working in fields that affect health to come together, with the public, in pursuit of a significantly healthier, fairer future.

Find out more and download our report at