World Science Day 2020 — What science means to BAT's R&D leaders

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World Science Day 2020 — What science means to BAT's R&D leaders
News release

10 November 2020

Celebrated every 10th November, UNESCO’s World Science Day highlights the important role of science in society and the relevance of science in our daily lives.

World-class science is at the core of everything we do at BAT. It is crucial to our purpose of building A Better Tomorrow and to mark World Science Day we asked some of our industry-leading scientists to tell us why science is so important to them.
These are the scientists who drive our Research & Development efforts and take seriously their role to not only inform and educate the public about our work and products, but also to inspire the next generation of graduates in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) subjects.

For Dr David O’Reilly, Director, Scientific Research, his fascination with science started during his childhood and it still motivates him today as he strives to push his team on to achieve world-class results. “I’ve spent most of my life involved in and around science,” he says, “So it is a big part of who I am and how I see the world. I feel lucky that I was given the encouragement to pursue a career in science as a boy and, in recent years, to have had the privilege to lead a scientific team focused on trying to solve a serious public health challenge. I love science because it is so exciting to explore the unknown and make new discoveries about how the world works.”

Looking forward, Dr O’Reilly says science will continue to play an important role in an ever-changing world trying to overcome new problems, such as COVID-19. “With all the challenges the world is facing now, and will face in the future,” he says, “science allows us to better understand these challenges and is critical to creating the solutions."

Group Head of New Categories R&D, Marina Trani, sees science as an important source of stability and trust at a time when facts and truth have never been more important. “Science is the way we can explain everything that goes on in the world now, and will go on in the future, in a factual, non-judgemental way. It gives us a beautiful framework to understand, explain and improve our world, while putting behind us the fear of the unknown. Good science also provides this incredible sense of clarity and certainty. It is the best way to inform good decisions and it is the key contributor to everything that will make humanity today better than it was yesterday.”

Marina admits there are still many issues humans need to address and she says science will come to our rescue again, whether in healthcare, on sustainability or in making living easier and more comfortable. “In the future,” she says, “science will become even more important and scientists will carry a huge responsibility as their work will generate more and more interest and scrutiny.”

Dr James Murphy, Group Head of PRRP Science, says that from the first caveman lighting a fire for warmth and cooking food to the latest vaccine development for COVID-19, science has made mankind better.

“Humans have always used science to solve problems and to improve their lives on this planet,” he says. “At BAT, we have brought together scientists from multiple backgrounds to combine their expertise and insights to solve a very important science question — how to reduce the harm from tobacco?  Their work allows us to better understand and be able to reduce the impact of our business on global public health and is what inspires and drives me every day.”

Dr Murphy believes that science will and must be at the forefront of how we improve our lives and society. “Science is critical to the success of society,” he says. “We can use science in every facet of life to improve ourselves and our environment, to solve our problems, and we see the benefits of science on society every day. However, society is also critical to the success of science. It will shape how we apply science, the types of science we do and how we report science in an open and transparent manner.”



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