We deliver a comprehensive annual programme of events to support the development of clinical academics/researchers. Please click on the relevant section for further details about recent session(s).

Previous event highlights

CATO Masterclass: NIHR Research Support Services (RSS) and introducing novel approaches to clinical trials and studies – 24 January 2024

On Wednesday 24 January 2024, Prof Levy and the CATO team hosted a Masterclass introducing the new NIHR Research Support Services (RSS) NIHR Research Support Services (RSS) and the range of support services they provide to clinicians doing research and offering insights into novel ways of undertaking clinical trials/studies.

An impressive 95 colleagues, coming from various clinical professions across all Imperial College AHSC organisations, joined the Masterclass. Tailored for clinicians doing research across the Imperial College AHSC, both medics and NMAHPPs perspectives were represented on the panel.

Gareth O’Brien, Operational Director for NIHR Research Support Service London (which has replaced the NIHR research design service), gave an overview of the services that the RSS team will provide researchers, including free access to support, advice, and expertise, and help them develop and deliver clinical and applied health and care research.

Professor Victoria Cornelius  is the head of the Imperial Clinical Trials Unit (CTU) , and Director of the new Imperial NIHR Research Support Service. She gave a brief overview of novel approaches to clinical trials, from her perspective running the Imperial CTU.

Following this, Professor Anthony Gordon , an Intensive care physician at Imperial, spoke about the novel approaches to trials from his perspective having been the UK Chief Investigator on the REMAP-CAP platform trial, evaluating treatments for COVID-19, (and proved the benefits of IL6 antagonists and steroids) and which has now been rolled out to evaluate treatments for severe influenza.

Finally, Professor Natalie Pattison, Professor of Clinical Nursing in the University of Hertfordshire, leading an NIHR funded study into staffing in intensive care units using a very novel approach, "Realist Evaluation" that examines what works best in different situations and helps us to understand why some things work for some people and not others.

You can catch up with what was covered by watching the recording of the session online


Research Grant/Fellowship Application Writers' Workshop – 23 November- 5 December 2023

The CATO team recently delivered a virtual 3-part writing skills workshop conducted by Parker-Derrington Ltd on November 23rd and December 5th, 2023.

The workshop was specifically designed for clinical academic researchers from all clinical professions who are working towards research fellowship awards or research grants. The main focus of the workshop was to enhance the skill of writing a multi-layer case for support using ten key sentences to clearly articulate the argument for funding.  

Participants had access to video lectures and online resources for 28 days, and the workshop included three Zoom sessions: a 2-hour group introduction, an individual feedback session to review a homework task, and a 1-hour group debrief and Q&A session.

The training was attended by 20 delegates from different clinical specialties, including doctors, NMAHPPs, and pre-doctoral fellows, all affiliated with the Imperial College Academic Health Science Centre (AHSC) partnership.

We received plenty of positive feedback from the delegates. Comments included:

“Really useful resources and definitely feel will help me with forthcoming applications”

“Excellent information regarding how your case for support is judged and how one should go about structuring it”

“Practical, very good written material that will definitely be of use in the future. Very knowledgeable instructor”

“The 10-sentence framework and other frameworks were excellent”

North West London Research Symposium for NMAHPPs: 27 September 2023

We were thrilled to host more than 150 participants at the Skempton Building for our 2023 North West London (NWL) Research Symposium for NMAHPPs (Nurses, Midwives, Allied Health Professionals, Healthcare Scientists, Pharmacy Staff, and Psychologists).

Taking place on Wednesday September 27 2023, this event marked a significant milestone as our largest ever NWL Research Symposium – really highlighting the growth and interest in NMAHPP-led research across the area.

The afternoon began with delegates being offered a choice of three engaging workshops:

  1. The path to doing a clinical trial - Presented by Dr Shawn Walker
  2. The successful ingredients to leading, developing, and maintaining research networks - Presented by Dr Susanne Cruickshank and Helen Pearson
  3. Embedding and using research in clinical practice (starting guide) – Presented by Prof Natalie Pattison

All of these workshops were well-attended and received positive reviews. Slides from all workshops and sessions can be found at the bottom of this article.

During breaks and lunchtime, attendees had the opportunity to engage with exhibitors from the research community and explore almost 50 research posters that were submitted for the event – again this was the highest number of posters we have received to date and further highlights the breadth and depth of NMAHPP research across NWL. During the break, participants also had the chance to cast their votes for the 'People's Choice Poster' award. 

Posters ranged from developing consensus guidelines on advanced clinical practice managing hand fractures, evaluations of nursing associates by role holders and co-workers, high quality literature and systematic reviews, barriers to involvement in HIV research, the place for chin immobilisation in nodal radiotherapy, speech and swallow outcomes after head and neck cancer surgery, individualising congenital heart disease transition care,  neuromuscular stimulation for rehabilitation after surgery, and a randomised controlled trial to determine most sensitive outcome measures of airway clearance in cystic fibrosis. And much more in between! 

After the break, Professor Alison Metcalfe, our keynote speaker, delivered an engaging and insightful presentation that captivated the audience, highlighting the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship and how clinical academic roles can create the culture for innovation and entrepreneurship.

Following Professor Metcalfe’s inspiring talk, we had the privilege of hearing from Dr Margaret Coffey MBE, who shared her personal research journey as a clinical academic speech and language therapist - serving as a source of inspiration for others aspiring to follow in their footsteps.

The event concluded with research presentations by Jennifer Crow and Rebecca Smith, who emerged as the winners of the abstract competition.

We extend our thanks and congratulations to all the abstract submitters, with special recognition for the following individuals:

  • Rebecca Smith – Joint highest scoring abstract
  • Jennifer Crow – Joint highest scoring abstract
  • Gemma Stanford – Winner of the inclusivity award
  • Katie Webb – Joint winner of the People's Choice Poster award
  • Carlyle London – Joint winner of the People's Choice Poster award

We’d like to thank everyone who was involved in the day. It was a true celebration of NMAHPP research and certainly contained lots of hope and inspiration for the future. 

Hopefully many more nurses midwifes, AHPs, pharmacists, psychologists and healthcare scientists will be encouraged to think about a research career or engaging in research activities, develop research skills, and have learned much in the afternoon and enjoyed themselves, and Imperial CATO will continue all its activities in support of this.

We hope to see you all again in 2024 (date and location TBC!). 

Presentations from the day

  1. The path to doing a clinical trial (PDF)- Presented by Dr Shawn Walker
  2. The successful ingredients to leading, developing, and maintaining research networks (PDF) - Presented by Dr Susanne Cruickshank and Helen Pearson
  3. Embedding and using research in clinical practice - starting guide (PDF) – Presented by Prof Natalie Pattison
  4. Clinical Innovation and Entrepreneurship (PDF) - Presented by Professor Alison Metcalfe
  5. The journey towards research (PDF) - Presented by Dr Margaret Coffey MBE
  6. Implementing a protocol for a feasibility study investigating an early, personalised, follow-up programme of care for people after minor stroke (PDF) - Presented by Jennifer Crow
  7. A randomised feasibility trial exploring management of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo in acute traumatic brain injury (PDF) - Presented by Rebecca Smith

Research Career Opportunities for Radiographers: 6 July 2023

On Thursday 6 July 2023 we held an inaugural event for Radiographers ‘Research Career Opportunities for Radiographers’.

We welcomed over 40 diagnostic and therapeutic radiographers from across the AHSC and the wider NWL, to South Kensington for an afternoon of learning, engaging and networking.

Sessions at the event included:

Personal stories from research-active clinicians

Preparing for your research journey

Current hot topics in radiology research across the AHSC and where radiographers can get involved

A national overview of current radiography research

Attendees also had the chance to join breakout groups to discuss their own research ideas and plans.

The event was timed perfectly with the announcement from the NIHR that the Imperial College AHSC had been awarded funding for three years to set up the Diagnostic and Therapeutic Radiographers Incubator.

All in all the event was an overwhelming success with 100% of attendees rating the event as good or excellent and agreeing that the event piqued their interest in a research career.

To find out more about future courses and opportunities for Radiographers through CATO or the NIHR incubator, please sign up to our mailing list: CATO@imperial.ac.uk

CATO Research Symposium: 27 June 2023

The CATO Research Symposium was finally back in-person! The event took place at W12 Conferences Centre on Tuesday 27 June and was very well attended with over 50 delegates including Doctors and NMAHPPs (Nurses, Midwives, Allied Health Professionals, Healthcare Scientists, Pharmacy Staff and Psychologists) from a range of different clinical academic pathways. The event kicked off with oral presentations, chosen from the best of the abstracts submitted and we heard from:

  • Jacob King (Academic Clinical Fellow): Severe COVID anxiety among adults in the United Kingdom: cohort study and nested feasibility trial of adapted Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Health Anxiety
  • Tim Lindsay (Academic Clinical Fellow): Incidence and Trends in Workplace Violence within Emergency Departments in the United Kingdom 2017-2022: An observational time series analysis
  • Justine Dempsey (Healthcare Professional, clinical academic): Delayed Symptoms post negative oral food challenges to Nuts and Seeds in Children
  • Mark Sweeney (Clinical Research Training Fellow): Unexpected acute negatively inotropic and proinflammatory effects of interleukin-11 on the myocardium
  • Arunashis Sau (Clinical Research Training Fellow): Neural network-derived electrocardiographic features have prognostic significance and important phenotypic and genotypic associations
  • Edouard Mills (Clinical Lecturer): Kisspeptin Enhances Penile Tumescence and Sexual Brain Processing in Men with Low Sexual Desire
  • Emma Rose McGlone (Clinical Lecturer): Sleeve gastrectomy causes weight-loss independent improvements in hepatic steatosis

We were thrilled to have Prof Adnan Custovic as our keynote speaker. Prof Custovic, a distinguished figure in the field of Paediatric Allergy at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, delivered a captivating talk that took us on a remarkable journey through his research in (paediatric) asthma and allergy. His expertise and insights left the audience inspired and enlightened.

Finally, attendees had the choice to attend one of two fantastic workshops; one with Prof Wisia Wedzicha exploring what editors of journals are looking for in papers submitted and top tips for writing high-quality papers; and one with Prof Alison Metcalfe on top tips for writing winning grants including where to look for funding and how to set realistic timelines.

We have included the presentation materials below from the workshops and Broadening Participation in Research presentation.

Broadening Participation in Research - Prof Jeremy Levy

Getting papers published: what do Editors really want by Prof Wisia Wedzicha’

Writing better grant/fellowship applications by Prof Alison Metcalfe


Feedback from the event has been very positive with 100% of delegates rating the event as excellent or good. Key comments included:

‘All the presenters were very knowledgeable and passionate about their topic’

'Excellent organisation and I particularly liked the masterclasses’

‘Really engaging and a diverse range of interesting topics’

Creating a research path from an NHS Consultant post: Wednesday 19 April 2023

Prof Levy and the CATO team hosted a “new” informative panel event Creating a research path from an NHS consultant post on 19 April 2023. Targeted at NHS Trusts Consultants not in academic posts or fellowships, the session aimed to inspire and suggest ways to develop a research path starting from an NHS Consultant post, as opposed to a formal research fellowship.

The guest panel below comprised of internationally recognised senior colleagues who are now leaders in their fields - achieving notable academic success having started out as 100% NHS Consultants from varying routes.

  • Prof Gina Brown, Chair in Gastrointestinal Radiology, Professor of Gastrointestinal Cancer Imaging
  • Prof Nick Oliver, Wynn Professor of Human Metabolism and Consultant in Diabetes and Endocrinology
  • Prof Mark Wilson, Clinical Professor specialising in Brain Injury and Consultant Neurosurgeon
  • Dr Candice Roufosse, Clinical Reader in Renal Pathology, Consultant Renal and Transplant Pathologist

On the day our panel was joined by 30+ Consultants from various clinical specialities across all Imperial College AHSC organisations. The attendees appreciated hearing about our guest speakers’ varied and impressive research achievements and learning about the realities and rewards of navigating alternative routes into research careers.

You can catch up with what was covered by watching the recording of the session online.

CATO Masterclass: Broadening participation in clinical research (a South African perspective)

On Monday 13 March 2023, Prof Levy and the CATO team were delighted to host a ‘special’ Masterclass on the topic of Broadening participation in clinical research (a South African perspective).

Our special guest speaker was Professor Priscilla Reddy, a visiting Professor to Imperial College, who shared her personal experience of broadening participation in research and the challenges faced by clinical academics in South Africa.

Prof Reddy’s presentation covered fascinating topics including the decolonisation and transformation of health research post-apartheid and the significant work involved in moving data and evidence into policy and legislation. The talk also included reflections on Prof Reddy’s own research experiences / case studies, innovative ways of enhancing participation in research and in influencing the national research agenda in South Africa.

A notable 50+ colleagues, coming from various clinical professions across all Imperial College AHSC organisations, joined the Masterclass to hear our guest speaker talk on this topic.

You can catch up with what was covered by watching the recording of the session online.