I would like to congratulate the International Union for Physical and Engineering Sciences in Medicine in celebrating its 40-year anniversary. In my own research in perinatal science I had frequent recourse to partner with engineering sciences to develop a variety of instruments and analytical approaches that in turn led to developing both diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to perinatal brain damage. Indeed the approach we developed of therapeutic brain colling is still in wide use today. Thus, the principal objective of IUPESM—to contribute to the advancement of physical and engineering sciences in medicine for the benefit and wellbeing of humanity – is an objective close to my heart.

What makes a great scientific union? Clearly it is the collegiality of the scientific community that it fosters, but importantly unions have a core role in advancing science as a global public good. This is the vision of the International Science Council, for which the IUPESM is a proud member, but it’s also clearly being demonstrated by the Union across its forty-year history.

One just needs to look at the programmes implemented by the Union that encourage physical scientists and engineers in the fields of medicine to be involved in professional initiatives that support educational programmes globally, especially in emerging economies ensuring positive health outcomes can be universal for all. Training programmes like the bi-annual program in Trieste, Italy, with support from UNESCO and the International Centre for Theoretical Physics, or the unique mobile training centre that is the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital, featured in the ISC-BBC Storyworks partnership with IUPESM, all demonstrate how technological developments are playing a critical part in progress towards universal health care.

The ISC along with its member unions including the IUPESM, academies and affiliate bodies must put even greater effort into advancing science as a global public good. We must work together and engage the global scientific community to ensure that we play our part in advancing the human and planetary condition.

Through the Global Commission on Mission Science for Sustainability, the ISC has identified that Health and Wellbeing is one of five broad areas, along with Food, Water, Urban Areas, and Climate and Energy, and that require mission-based science to urgently stabilize the Earth system within a safe-operating space within 10–20 years. We want to work with the IUPESM to make Health and Wellbeing more sustainable, equitable and resilient for all on planet Earth.

I wish all members of IUPESM my warm congratulations on your 40th year celebrations, and I hope to see you at ISC events, potentially at one of our Global Knowledge Dialogue road shows, as the world reconnects.