Supporting clinical academics through CATAC 2023

We would like to thank everyone who attended our UK-wide Clinical Academics in Training Annual Conference, which was held at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge in June.

The event brought together researchers in medicine and health, to meet one another and present their work, and was filled with insightful discussions on how we can work together to improve health outcomes across the UK and beyond. It was wonderful to see clinical academics from such a wide range of institutions, disciplines, and specialties connect with one another and build new relationships.

Dr Rubika Balendra, CATAC attendee, said:

“I don’t think there are any other conferences quite like this one, where you get to speak to your peers who are going through similar application processes and career decisions as you are. I’ve found it so valuable and it’s been really amazing for networking.

“Presenting to attendees who are working in very different fields has been really interesting. You can find parallels in your work quite easily with the methodologies we’re using, and it’s really inspired new ideas for my own research. I think it’s so important to have that cross-fertilisation with other specialties, because you do see these connections forming and these chances to network.” 

This year, we were pleased to open CATAC to a broader range of early career clinical academics than ever before, inviting the widest possible range of people from clinical disciplines and specialties. This included clinical academics from medicine, nursing, midwifery, dentistry, veterinary sciences, physiotherapy and radiography, among others. Undergraduate students taking a medicine or health-related degree, mid-career and senior researchers, and those working in the health and life sciences sectors also joined. 

Anna Rose, CATAC attendee and poster competition winner, said:

“I met lots of colleagues from my own specific research field, but to get the opportunity to meet clinical academics from completely different programmes and fields is great. I definitely don’t get that opportunity normally.”

The conference was hosted by Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald OBE FMedSci and Professor Charlotte Summers, an alum of our FLIER leadership programme, with Professor Mary Dixon-Woods FMedSci delivering the keynote. Attendees were also able to join one of two interactive workshops on topics related to strengthening the biomedical and health research sector.

The first workshop, ‘Future-proofing UK Health Research: a people centred, coordinated approach’, centred around the findings from our recent report on the challenges and opportunities in UK health research. This was followed by a group discussion where participants shared their own experiences and insights from across the sector. You can read about the outcomes of these discussions in the Clinical academics in training: priorities for future-proofing UK health research report. The second workshop, ‘What does good patient and public involvement in research look like?’, included a presentation from Dr Lucy Higgins, Senior Clinical Lecturer in Obstetrics at the Maternal and Fetal Health Research Centre.

The day also included post-doctoral and pre-doctoral presentation competitions, as well as poster competitions, with participants sharing their work with clinical academics from a range of institutions and disciplines. Many congratulations to our competition winners:

Pre-doctoral plenary competition winner

Dr Katie Mckinnon, University of Edinburgh and Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh
Presentation title: ‘Integrated analysis of preterm birth and socioeconomic status with neonatal brain structure within a cohort study’

Post-doctoral plenary competition winner

Dr Laura Goodfellow, University of Liverpool and Liverpool Women’s Hospital
Presentation title: ‘Preterm Prelabour Rupture Of Membranes (PPROM) before 23 weeks’ gestation: A prospective observational study’

Poster competition winners

Dr Sarah Leiter, University of Cambridge and Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Poster title: ‘Introducing routine paired whole genome sequencing in paediatric cancer patients – a retrospective analysis’

Dr Nina Rzechorzek, University of Cambridge MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology
Poster title: ‘Daily brain temperature rhythms predict survival after traumatic brain injury—a prospective and retrospective cohort study’

Dr Rebecca Spencer, University of Leeds and Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
Poster title: ‘Discovery and validation of ultrasound and biochemical models to predict pregnancy outcomes from a case series of early-onset fetal growth restriction’

Anna Rose, Department of Paediatrics, University of Oxford and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Poster title: ‘Reactive oxygen species, protein trapping and cancer: novel insights from in vitro studies’

Read their presentation abstracts here.

Next year we will be hosting CATAC in Northern Ireland, with more details coming soon. We hope to see many of you there. If you would like to find out more about our career opportunities, visit our Grants and Programmes page.

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