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 co-ordinated a series of online “Meet the Funders” sessions with a number of organisations funding medical/health research, during March and April 2024. These ‘live’ briefing sessions are delivered every other year (as agreed with the ICR from whom CATO took over planning of these sessions) – with an ‘FAQ’ session delivered in the intervening year referencing the recordings from the live briefings of the previous year.

A total of 141 participants attended, from Imperial College London/ Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, Chelsea & Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospitals, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and Institute of Cancer Research.

Session details:

Medical Research Council (MRC), presented by Dr Nassim El Achi, Programme Manager – Training and Careers.

National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), Delivered by NIHR Research Support Service Imperial and Partners Hub.


Gareth O’Brien, Operational Director for NIHR Research Support Service London; Tom Pratt, Senior Programme Manager at NIHR Academy and Dr Cheryl Battersby, NIHR Clinician Scientist and Clinical Senior Lecturer Imperial College- NIHR Funding recipient and insight from NIHR selection committee.

Wellcome Trust, presented by Dr Emily Wheater, Research Manager, Early Career and Career Development Researchers– Discovery Research, Welcome Trust.

CATO Masterclass - ‘Intermediate Fellowships’ Advancing your academic career with an Intermediate Fellowship: how to win one!


Prof Jeremy Levy (Host), CATO Director, Professor Sejal Saglani, Paediatric Respiratory Medicine (My intermediate fellowship interview experience), Dr Shivani Misra, Clinical Senior Lecturer in Diabetes and Endocrinology, Imperial College London (How I won my Clinician Scientist Award) and Professor Declan O’Regan, Professor of Imaging Sciences, Imperial College London (Insights from MRC Fellowship Selection Panels).

The feedback from the series was all positive and some key comments included were:

It gave an overview on which funding scheme to go for, and the speaker was able to answer all my queries” - MRC session participant

I gained a clearer understanding of the types of research that are funding and different funding pathways” – Wellcome Trust session participant

Excellent presentations with relatable experiences and very specific and comprehensive advice given” – Intermediate fellowships masterclass session participant

All 3 presentations were excellent - very clear and concise. The tips for preparing an application were particularly useful” – NIHR session participant

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


On Tuesday 12th December 2023, Prof Levy and the CATO team successfully hosted a new, interactive in-person event specifically tailored for PhD fellows in all clinical professions. The aim was to share top tips, discuss some of the issues which affect clinicians moving into research, provide support and signpost solutions for clinicians undertaking research degrees.

Held in the Wolfson Building, Hammersmith Hospital, It was the Christmas event above all others to attend! We were delighted to have 25 clinical research fellows/PhD, both medical and NMAHPP and 2 Academic Clinical Fellows (planning for their future PhDs) attend the event.

The panel, as shown below, was comprised of current and recently completed clinicians who have undertaken PhDs, PhD supervisors and mentors. Delegates had an opportunity to hear from and network with clinical academics who are achieving notable academic success. Also shared was information on the vast array of resources available to clinical academics through the Imperial College Libraries, the Graduate School and the Postdoc and Fellows Development Centre.

Professor Paresh Malhotra, (Professor of Clinical Neurology, Head of Division Department of Brain Sciences) - PhD Supervisor perspective

Dr Shawn Walker, (Researcher in Residence and Honorary Consultant Midwife) - The NMAHPP perspective; is it different for nurses, midwifes, AHPs, pharmacists

Dr Sarah Onida, (Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer, Department of Surgery & Cancer) - PhD Supervisor perspective: Are surgeons different?

Cathryn Peppard, (NHS Liaison and Evidence Services Manager, Imperial College London) - Resources available: Library services support and training

Professor Jeremy Levy, (Director of Clinical Academic Training) - Resources available: Using Graduate School & PFDC

Dr Francesca Conway, (Clinical Research Fellow) - Maximising Opportunities in Research

Dr Kier Phillip, (Clinical Lecturer) - The Art and Science of breathlessness

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

“I attended the above CATO event recently which was really excellent. I would highly recommend it for all NMAHPPS undertaking or thinking of undertaking PhD studies and beyond. It really made me reflect on how I am working and what I could do differently, what I need to remember and what I can change in how I work”

“Excellent event, massively helpful, should be essential for all PhDs”

“Imperial CATO events are excellent, please continue them”

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”

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

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