We at the Campaign for Science and Engineering are devastated to learn of the death of the former Director of CaSE, Nick Dusic, at the age of 34. Nick was Director of CaSE from 2007 to 2010 and was well loved by those who worked with him here. He had been suffering from Burkitt’s Lymphoma.
Past and present members of the CaSE staff and Board who knew and worked with Nick have contributed their thoughts and memories.
Dr Hilary Leevers, Head of Education at the Wellcome Trust and Assistant Director of the Campaign for Science and Engineering from 2007 to 2011, said:
“During Nick’s time as Director of Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE), from 2007 to 2010, he refreshed and grew CaSE into a more clearly defined, financially stable, and influential organisation. He orchestrated the Science Vote campaign in the run up to the 2010 general election, placing science firmly on the agenda of voters and politicians – and having modernised CaSE, he even got science policy trending on twitter. The conviction, intelligence and passion behind his advocacy built trust across all parties, securing CaSE’s position with new and returning politicians. This work provided the base for the high-profile Science is Vital campaign preceding the 2010 Comprehensive Spending Review.
Behind the scenes, Nick was engaging, warm and generous. His easy wit spotted unexpected humour in even the driest of science policy – from badgers to the Haldane Principle. He enjoyed bringing out the best in others and his natural openness made it easy for him to do so. Over this time, as Assistant Director at CaSE, I learnt an enormous amount from him, not least how much fun could be had in policy, and how good it feels when you think it might be making a difference.
I am so very sad to have lost such an excellent colleague and very good friend. But it is some comfort that I believe that he packed a huge amount into his life, both inside and outside of work, and that he has truly made the UK a better place for science and engineering – a pretty impressive feat for anyone, let alone someone from another country. He did it in his own style too – complete with beer and nachos, and the occasional exuberant high-five. I thank him dearly for it all.”
Imran Khan, CEO of the British Science Association and Nick’s successor as CaSE Director from 2010-2013, said:
“It’s hard to think of anything that’s not just a horrible cliche to say about the fact that my friend Nick Dusic is gone, particularly when I’m struggling to believe it’s happened.”
“In my mind he’s the smiling, gregarious, larger-than-life guy who’s always there when you need him. I first met him when I was a lowly bag-carrier in the House of Commons asking lots of ignorant questions about science policy, and I remember how patient and friendly he was to someone he’d only just met.”
“He’s one of those people that made every organisation he touched a bit better, and every person he knew a bit happier. I know he’s a loss to the world of science, even though that seems trite to say when I know that his friends and family are going to miss him so terribly. Thanks for everything, Nick.”
Beck Smith, Assistant Director of the Campaign for Science and Engineering, said:
“I first met Nick when I was starting out in science policy at the Biochemical Society. He fast became someone whose opinion I wanted to know and whose face I wanted to see at meetings – not least because it meant there was a good chance of having a drink afterwards.
Nick was such brilliant company and it seems impossible to believe that we’ll no longer have the pleasure of it. He’s just going to be so missed by everyone and my heart goes out to his family and friends.”
Hugh Griffiths, Chair of CaSE’s Board of Directors, said:
“I am shocked and saddened to hear of Nick’s death, at such a young age. He led CaSE during an important time in its development and made some important changes to the organisation. He was a pleasure to work with – a passion for science and engineering, a keen sense of humour and a stentorian voice that I will always remember. Our thoughts and sympathies go to his family.”
CaSE is now collecting your thoughts and memories of Nick. They will be collated and sent to his family. Please send them to Beck Smith via email firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to Beck Smith, Campaign for Science and Engineering, 29 Gordon Square, Gordon House, London WC1H 0PP. Please do feel free to include photos if you wish.