Photo of Professor Calum Semple


Professor of Child Health and Outbreak Medicine, Consultant Respiratory Paediatrician at Alder Hey Children's Hospital Clinical Infection, Microbiology & Immunology


Personal Statement

Calum Semple is a medical doctor and clinical researcher, with expertise in managing severe respiratory viral diseases and conducting action research in response to outbreaks. Calum has led complex projects involving multiple stakeholders, including national health services, public health agencies, academia, and tech-pharma. Calum’s involvement in the response to numerous disease outbreaks has also led him to become a regular commentator in the media, providing expert analyses on a range of related public health issues.

Calum is a co-founder of the International Severe Acute Respiratory and Infection Consortium (ISARIC), which has revolutionised outbreak research by prepositioning research protocols in 133 countries and activating them in response to emerging pathogens of public health interest. ISARIC played a crucial role in informing public health policy for outbreaks of viral disease that included SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), Ebola (EVD and Survivors), MERS, Influenza, Bronchiolitis, Monkeypox and Lassa Fever. Most recently his group described the fascinating cause of disease in Children with Acute Severe Hepatitis of Unknown Origin Ho A, et al. Nature 30th March 2023 and Morfopoulou S, et al. Nature 30th March 2023.

Calum’s initiative to mobilise ISARIC4C’s research protocols during the COVID-19 response led to his appointment to the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) COVID-19 HMG UK, a role he served in for the duration of the pandemic (2020-22).

Currently Calum is the Chief Investigator for ISARIC's Comprehensive Clinical Characterisation Consortium in the UK which has collated global data on COVID-19 and generated evidence that has informed the public health response both in the UK and abroad, vaccine development, therapeutic trials, and pathophysiological understanding.

During the Ebola Emergency (STAC-EE 2014-2017) Calum led a clinical trial of convalescent plasma for Ebola virus disease in Sierra Leone, and then followed survivors leading to understanding of Post Ebola Syndrome. During the same outbreak, Calum also served as a member of the WHO Scientific Technical Advisory Committee. In 2009 he played a key role in the UK's response to the Swine Flu pandemic and has since advised the UK government on pandemic preparedness planning and other threats.

Calum was awarded his PhD in clinical virology and medical degree at University College London and Oxford University. He has completed postgraduate training in paediatric respiratory medicine. In 2002, Calum was awarded a National Clinician Scientist Award from the Department of Health, which enabled him to study severe respiratory viral infections at the Institute of Child Health, University of Liverpool.

Calum has dedicated his career to the study and treatment of severe viral infections, including some of the most deadly disease outbreaks in recent history. He has been recognized for his outstanding contributions to medical research and public health with awards and honours, including the Queen's Ebola Medal for Service in West Africa, appointment as Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, and election as Distinguished Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health UK.

Calum’s leadership style is founded upon integrity, grit, recognition of others’ contributions, respect for diversity, support for growth, and clear communication.

Academic Project Administrator:
Clinical Patient Coordinator: +44 (0) 151 252 5777

Prizes or Honours

  • Officer (Civilian Division) of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (Her Majesty The Queen, 2020)
  • Commonwealth Association Award (Liverpool Commonwealth Association, 2019)
  • Queen's Ebola Medal for Service in West Africa (Health Research Activities) (Her Majesty's Government, 2016)
  • Letter from Prime Minister (Olympic Games Health Threat Response) (Prime Minister HMG UK, 2012)
  • Letter from Chief Medical Officer (Pandemic Influenza Research Response) (Chief Medical Officer, 2011)
  • Letter to VC from Director General NHS R&D and Chair of SAGE (Department of Health, HMG UK, 2009)
  • Letter from Secretary of State (Pandemic Influenza Research Response) (Secretary of State for Health, 2009)

Funded Fellowships

  • Vice Chancellor's Future Research Leaders Award (University of Liverpool, 2004)
  • National Clinician Scientitst Award (Department of Health HMG UK, 2002)