The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies
Royal Dick School of Veterinary Studies Bicentenary

Head of School presents inaugural lecture 

Professor Lisa Boden outlined her vision of empathy at the core of scientific decision-making, in a celebratory lecture. 

Professor Lisa Boden, recently appointed Head of the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, spoke on the theme of empathy in her inaugural lecture. 

Addressing an audience of family, friends and colleagues, the specialist in veterinary public health and population medicine spoke of her wish to embed empathy throughout scientific decision-making. 

The lecture, hosted by the University Principal Professor Sir Peter Mathieson, was the finale of a year-long series of events to mark the bicentenary of the Dick Vet. 

Professor Boden said her appointment as Head of School had offered a chance to reflect on her career and to look ahead to what she hoped to achieve in her new role. 

The research journey is complex – what matters are the people and places along the way, and our ways of working together. 

Professor Lisa Boden Head of the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies

One Health focus

Professor Boden discussed current challenges in veterinary and public health, and the opportunities offered by a One Health approach – encompassing the health of people, animals and the environment – with empathy at its core. 

She said One Health could act as a framework to address the urgent challenges around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and drive forward an agenda focused on sustainability following the Covid pandemic. 

Empathy can support a move from an era of data and technology to an era of social innovation, the Professor said. 

Active collaboration can help to embed empathy in scientific decision-making, by equipping humans with better skills – it can help us to bridge uncertainty, broker knowledge and build partnerships, she explained. 

Career reflections 

In a summary of her career to date, Professor Boden credited her undergraduate experience with giving her a T-shaped education – a broad knowledge base together with deep specialist expertise, as well as life-long friendships. 

Professor Boden described how she had been enabled by colleagues and mentors who had been generous with their time and ideas, and encouraged early career scientists to seek out colleagues who can offer similar support. 

She described the importance of science in supporting policymaking, and the need to move knowledge between practitioners, decision-makers and academics. 

Empathy can enable us to reimagine a future in which we can unlearn existing models and move to a new framework – but it demands that we each ask what we are willing to let go of, in order to solve the world’s greatest challenges, she concluded. 

Related links

History of the R(D)SVS

R(D)SVS Bicentenary events

Dick Vet Way 

Bicentenary video

About the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies

The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies is a one-of-a-kind centre of excellence in clinical activity, teaching and research. Our purpose-built campus, set against the backdrop of the beautiful Pentland Hills Regional Park, is home to more than 800 staff and almost 1400 students, all of whom contribute to our exceptional community ethos.

The School comprises:

The Roslin Institute

The Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Systems

The Roslin Innovation Centre

The Hospital for Small Animals

Equine Veterinary Services

Farm Animal Services

Easter Bush Pathology

The Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education

We represent the largest concentration of animal science-related expertise in Europe, impacting local, regional, national and international communities in terms of economic growth, the provision of clinical services and the advancement of scientific knowledge.