Over 240 National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) trainees recently attended the 4th Annual meeting at the Midlands Hotel in Manchester (November 30th - December 1st). Despite the freezing temperatures outside, the atmosphere inside was warm, welcoming and friendly.
The term ‘trainee’ is probably quite inappropriate, as it evokes the image of fresh young graduates. Here the trainees were a diverse group (doctors, dentists, midwives, statisticians, health economists and other allied health professionals). Many were senior fellows or clinical lecturers. We have all heard about working young doctors with long hours, but this group work exceptionally hard to manage a research programme alongside their professional duties on the wards and clinics.
Events were chaired by Professor Jim Neilson, NIHR Dean for Training and Dr Lisa Cotterill, Director of the NIHR Trainees Coordinating Centre. Delegates heard an upbeat assessment of the future of National Health Service (NHS) clinical research by Dr Russell Hamilton, Director of R&D for the Department of Health (DH). Despite the climate of economic uncertainty, the powers that be are convinced that clinical research will continue to be an important and protected activity for the NHS. Sir Iain Chalmers of the James Lind Library, delivered an inspiring lecture on evidence-based medicine and illustrated this with his moving personal experiences of Gaza in 1969/1970 and 2009/2010. Breakout sessions gave delegates the opportunity to discuss personal perspectives on managing a research career alongside clinical duties and focus on career development issues.
The meeting was attended on behalf of UK PubMed Central (UKPMC) by our newly appointed Engagement Officer, Dr Mohammed Tasab. Delegates were pleasantly surprised to learn of the range of useful tools and clinically relevant content available from the UKPMC site. The grant lookup facility and the availability of UK clinical guidelines were of particular interest to many participants.
In association with the other UKPMC funders, the DH and the NIHR is an important partner in the UKPMC initiative. They require that [for applications submitted from 1st April 2007] peer-reviewed research papers accepted for publication, and supported in whole or in part by DH/NIHR, are deposited at the earliest opportunity – and in any case within six months - in UKPMC.
Author: Mohammed Tasab