Published: 22 September 2022

It is with great sadness that we share news of the death of our former CEO Aisling Burnand on Monday 19 September from bowel cancer. She was a fearless and passionate voice for charity funded medical research as well as a much-respected colleague to us all. She leaves a huge legacy to a sector that will sorely miss her.

Aisling was chief executive of the AMRC from September 2014 until February 2021. During that time, she brought the vital work of medical research charities to the forefront of policy makers’ agendas. Her work creating a single voice for AMRC member particularly during the COVID pandemic resulted in her being awarded the CBE in the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Honours in May 2022. 

Aisling began her career working in communications for Rhône-Poulenc and the Rowland Company. In 1998, she joined the Bioindustry Association (BIA) as its first director of public affairs, before becoming chief executive in 2003. At the BIA she championed UK biosciences, leading on issues including regenerative medicine and animals in research. In 2007, Aisling received an MBE for services to science. 

In 2009, Aisling joined Cancer Research UK as executive director of policy and public affairs. During her tenure, the charity secured the implementation of legislation preventing children from viewing cigarettes in shops, and the Sunbeds Act to protect young people from the dangers of sunbeds. 

Since 2012, Aisling has run DNA Coaching providing support for senior leaders in business and the charity sector. 

Since standing down as CEO of AMRC to receive treatment for bowel cancer Aisling continued as a trustee of Life Arc and took on a trustee role at Bowel Cancer UK as well as offering her experiences as someone affected by cancer for several organisations. 

Due to Aisling’s immense reach and popularity the family may need to limit numbers at the funeral, which will take place at 11am on Monday 3 October in Highbury. So that they can attempt to gauge numbers we have agreed to collect details of those who wish to attend. Please contact [email protected] to let us know if you wish to attend.

If you would like to make a donation, please support the work of Bowel Cancer UK (

We will also be holding an event to celebrate her life in the next couple of months which we are now beginning to plan with our friends at BIA and LifeArc we will let you know the details of that as soon as we can.