Dr Samantha Walker is Deputy Chief Executive and Executive Director for Research & Policy at Asthma UK, a patient charity and research funder based in London. She is responsible for leading the Research & Policy Directorate to advance knowledge about asthma and secure policy and practice changes to improve the lives of the 5.4 million people in the UK who have asthma. She holds an honorary lectureship (non-clinical) in the Division of Community Health Sciences, University of Edinburgh and has published extensively on asthma and allergy for over 25 years in high impact research journals including papers on the mechanisms of allergic inflammation, the impact of allergen immunotherapy on clinical and immunological outcomes and the impact and management of allergic rhinitis including a seminal paper linking hayfever to poor exam performance in teenagers. She is the architect of Asthma UK’s pioneering research strategy (2011-16) which describes investment along a pipeline of basic, translational and applied science in order to speed up innovation and get new medicines to people with asthma more quickly, and is the Co-ordinator of an ambitious EU-funded project to drive investment in asthma research in Europe (www.earip.eu). Funded under the European Commission Framework Programme 7, the European Asthma Research and Innovation Partnership (EARIP) has brought together researchers, industry representatives, patient groups and policy-makers and produced a comprehensive analysis of asthma research, including basic biology, new treatments, health and care systems, self-management and diagnostic tools, which are summarised in a ‘roadmap’ to drive investment based on unmet need in asthma.