North West London Research Symposium

CATO runs a number of events to support the development of clinical academics/researchers across the Imperial College Academic Health Science Centre (AHSC). The events are for clinical staff from all AHSC partner members:  Imperial College London (ICL), Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust (ICHT), Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust (RBHT), The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust (RMH) and The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) who are either already doing or interested in undertaking research.

On this page you will find details about upcoming CATO events, materials from previous events and other news that we hope will be of interest to you.


Due to the ongoing situation regarding Covid-19, CATO events have been adapted to comply with social distancing requirements and will be running online via Microsoft Teams or Zoom. 

Current CATO Events

CATO Masterclass (Online): 20 January 2021-POSTPONED

CATO Masterclass: ‘How research can influence policy formation’ taking place on Wednesday 20 January 2021 (17.30-19.30 hrs, via Microsoft Teams Online)-POSTPONED

More details to follow

CATO Masterclass (Online): 23 February 2021

More details to follow

Current CATO Events

Upcoming events

More events coming soon

Upcoming events

More events coming soon

Guidance to applicants
  • Demand for CATO courses is high, therefore you are expected to manage your booking carefully and to cancel with adequate notice, allowing your place to be offered to others. If you feel it necessary to cancel your place on the day of the course, please contact the CATO team as early as possible so they can make a note of your absence.

  • All correspondence about courses will be sent by email, so applicants are advised to check their email accounts regularly for updates.

  • All CATO events are provided free of charge to participants. However, to plan and deliver the events requires a considerable time and work from CATO colleagues, speakers and others. All CATO events are funded through the Imperial College Academic Health Science Centre (Imperial College London, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and The Institute of Cancer Research).


Previous event highlights

Academic opportunities for junior doctors: 19 October 2020

This year’s Academic opportunities for junior doctors event was well-attended by around 65-70 delegates at different stages in their research career from across North West London.

The event provided information about kick-starting and developing a clinical academic career for those already in a clinical academic training post thinking about next steps, or those currently in clinical training considering applying for a clinical academic post. Representatives from funding councils discussed the research training fellowships they offer, there were application and interview tips from interview panel members and there was also a talk from clinician scientists about their research career journeys. As well as informative talks, the programme also included time for informal discussion; delegates took the opportunity to network over lunch and coffee in between talks and over cheese and wine at the end.

The event programme included the following talks:

  • Overview of NIHR Fellowship scheme and Wellcome Trust Fellowship schemes
  • Other research opportunities and support for junior doctors at Imperial
  • Overview of the academic training pathway
  • Dr David Owen and Dr Eleanor Sandhu on developing their research careers
  • Tips for success in the fellowship interview

Feedback from event attendees was overwhelmingly positive. Most delegates attended with the objective of finding out more about research careers and their positive feedback indicated that this objective was met. Some key comments included:

 ‘The key speakers e.g. Prof Levy were GREAT – very enthusiastic, realistic and knowledgeable’

‘Thank you to Prof Levy and Prof Dhillo and excellent CATO team’

‘Good breadth of information. Relevant to people at different stages in training’

‘Very informative afternoon’

We have included the presentation materials below from speakers who have given us permission to do so.

We have also included the recording of the event too. Please click here to view the event.

Professor Waljit Dhillo Overview of the academic training pathway

Professor Waljit Dhillo Fellowship Interviews

P‌rofessor Jeremy Levy Clinical Academic Careers

Dr Kieran Lee NIHR Fellowships 2020

Dr David Owen MRC Clinician Scientist

Preparing for a pre-doctoral fellowship application: 8 October 2020

The Preparing for a pre-doctoral fellowship application event took place virtaully on Thursday 8 October 2020 and was attended by over 20 colleagues from across the Imperial College AHSC. This session was lead by Prof Mary Wells and Dr Caroline Alexander, who ran sessions on “What are pre-doctoral fellowships and how do they differ?” and “What are the funders looking for?”. 

Layla Bolton-Saghdaoui also provided insight into her experiences talking about the highs and lows of undertaking a pre-doctoral fellowship and the afternoon concluded with virtual round table discussions. 

North West London research symposium 2020: 24 September 2020

The North West London research symposium took place virtually on Thursday 24 September 2020 and was attended by over 100 attendees from across North West London. The keynote speaker for the event was  Dr Lesley Thompson, VP Academic and Government Strategic Alliance at Elsevier, who presented on “Excellence with Impact- The personal to the national and beyond”. 

In the change of the event to an online format more colleagues from across the AHSC were able to present their research to the whole group and Dr Lisa Newington provided her insights on her journey towards research.

Further details about the speakers and useful information for healthcare professionals across the AHSC can be found in the event booklet booklet: 2020 NWL Research Symposium for Healthcare professionals booklet


Starting and growing your research career: 24 June 2020

The Starting and growing your research career lunchtime session was first virtual event for Healthcare professionals run by the CATO Team on the Wednesday 24 June 2020 and was attended by over 50 colleagues from across the AHSC. 

The session was lead by Prof Mary Wells and provided information to healthcare professionals who are thinking about undertaking research and highlighted the opportunities available to develop a research career.

CATO research symposium: 19 June 2019

This year’s CATO research symposium showcased an array of inspiring projects from researchers at all career stages: academic foundation doctors, ACFs, trainees in a clinical research training fellowship/PhD, CL or other postdoctoral researchers, and health profession (non-medical) clinical academics. The event topped last year’s numbers, with 90+ delegates attending, representing a broad range of specialties and professions.

Throughout the symposium, participants showcased their work through oral presentations and posters. This year, while preparing their abstracts trainees were also encouraged to think about how their research might meet NIHR Research Themes: platform science & bioinformatics, complex health needs in age related and chronic disease, dementia, acute care and mental health.

Following submission of abstracts the trainees/researchers invited to deliver oral presentations were:

  • Catherine Lovegrove (Academic Foundation Programme Trainee)
  • Luke Tyson (Academic Clinical Fellow)
  • Henry Taylor(Academic Clinical Fellow)
  • Emily Ashworth (Non-medical clinical academic)
  • Andrew McCardle (Clinical Research Training Fellow)
  • James Howard (Clinical Research Training Fellow)
  • Upsana Tayal (Clinical Lecturer)

Prizes were awarded based on the submitted research abstracts and oral/poster presentations. Many congratulations go to our three winners: Shazadee Sheikh, Catherine Lovegrove and James Howard.

The symposium programme was chaired by Professor Jeremy Levy, CATO Director. It included 2 ‘mini masterclass workshops’. One workshop focussed on Intermediate Fellowships and was delivered by Lenne Lillepuu, Professional Development Consultant (Fellows), Postdoc and Fellows Development Centre,  Imperial College London. The second workshop covered clinical trials and was delivered by the Imperial Clinical Trials Unit Team, Imperial College London.

CATO Research Symposium Programme 2019

Delegates were also given an inspirational keynote presentation from Dr Aldo Faisal. Dr Faisal leads the Brain and Behaviour Lab in the Departments of Bioengineering and Computing and the Behaviour Analytics Lab at the Imperial College Data Science Institute. He also leads the new College Artificial Intelligence for Healthcare Doctoral Training Centre. Professor Faisal’s keynote presentation was entitled “AI in healthcare”.

Feedback from delegates about what they gained from attending included:

  • “Research presentations were good quality”
  • “Keynote presentation was excellent”
  • “Very good networking experience…several pointers for supporting staff”
  • “I thought the masterclasses were excellent…CATO were very helpful”
  •  “Keynote presentation was very engaging…made me think about future implications for my research”

 Presentation materials

 We have included the presentation materials below from speakers who have given us permission to do so.

James Howard: Machine Learning

Luke Tyson: Serum Bile Acid Profiles

Imperial Clinical Trials Unit: Easy ways to maximise pain

News stories

ACF scheme successful in developing careers in research

A study has been conducted to examine the impact of the NIHR Academic Clinical Fellow (ACF) model, over its first 10 years, in developing clinical academic careers by tracking the progression of ACF trainees.

The full report can be accessed on BMJ Journals here.

Frontline insights: the Imperial academics at the centre of the NHS response to COVID-19

This Imperial Stories piece highlights eleven clinical academics who have shared their experiences of joining the NHS frontline during the peak of the pandemic and how they are shaped by this experience. They talk about the many challenges and difficulties of working in hospitals during this time as well as the moments of hope, joy and camaraderie and how the public’s support has been gratefully received whilst tackling this pandemic.

To read the article, please click here


Imperial researchers develop skills to communicate research

In July 2017, two researchers were nominated by Imperial to attend the NIHR Doctoral Training Camp. This highly regarded annual 3-day event is delivered by the NIHR Infrastructure Team. The Training Camp provides participants with a unique opportunity to develop key research skills and the chance to mix with people from different research backgrounds and levels of expertise.  

To read reviews from Imperial attendees at the 2017 Training Camp, which focussed on ‘The Art of Communication’, please read these blogs: Anne-Marie Russell   Jerusa Brignardello