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), Chelsea & Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust 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

Thinkwrite: Writing grant proposals & writing quality papers

Tuesday 12 October 2021, 09.30-13.00hrs (Zoom) - Writing targeted grant proposals … reducing time while increasing success

Tuesday 16 November 2021, 09.30-13.00hrs (Zoom) - Writing Quality papers … a strategic approach to getting published in your target journal

FULLY BOOKED - Please contact if you would like to be informed if we run additional sessions in the future and include the AHSC organisation where you are employed.

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, Chelsea & Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and The Institute of Cancer Research).


Previous event highlights

CATO Research Symposium - 30 June 2021

The 2021 CATO Research Symposium took place virtually on Wednesday 30 June.

The event was very well attended with over 75 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:

  • Alice Lee (Academic Foundation Programme Trainee): Outcome reporting in therapeutic mammaplasty: a systematic review
  • Ravi Mehta (Academic Clinical Fellow): Viperin-derived ddhC as a novel serum biomarker for COVID-19 and other viral infections
  • Gemma Stanford (Healthcare Professional, clinical academic): Investigating outcome measures for physiotherapy trials of airway clearance in adults with cystic fibrosis
  • Maria Dwornik (Clinical Research Training Fellow): Cardiac microstructure in asymptomatic sarcomere variant carriers
  • Andrew McArdle (Clinical Research Training Fellow): Immunomodulator treatment of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children
  • Charlotte Short (Clinical Lecturer): Vaginal microbiota, genital inflammation and extracellular matrix remodelling collagenase: MMP-9 in pregnant women with HIV, a potential mechanism for excess preterm birth?

We were delighted to be joined for our keynote session by Professor Anne Lingford-Hughes, a Professor of Addiction Biology at Imperial College London. Professor Lingford-Hughes gave a compelling talk about her journey to becoming a clinical academic, the research she has been involved with over the years and how she manages to juggle all the other balls of a clinical academic home life.

Finally, attendees had the choice to attend one of two fantastic workshops; one with Professor Mary Wells looking at what research impact is, how it can be captured and how to achieve it; and one with Professor Sejal Saglani on top tips for writing winning grants including where to look for funding, how to set realistic timelines and how to get the most from internal peer reviews.

We have included the presentation materials below from the workshops

Professor Mary Wells - Research impact: beyond impact factors

Prof Sejal Saglani -Top tips for writing winning grants

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

'The presenters were very interesting and informative'

'Excellent organization and interesting topics'

'I enjoyed the diversity of the presentations'

Maximising the Impact of your Masters Degree - 17 June 2021

Maximising the Impact of your Masters Degree took place on the 17 June 2021.

The session was led by Dr Donna Kennedy and Dr Enrique Castro-Sanchez and was aimed at NMAHPP's (Nurses, Midwives, Allied Health Professions, Healthcare Scientists, Pharmacists, Psychologists) who are just finishing or have recently completed their Masters degree. Over 20 NMAHPPs from across the Imperial AHSC attended.

Donna and Enrique put together an engaging and interactive programme with sessions including developing a dynamic research profile, writing a winning abstract and developing impactful visual research summaries.

They were also joined by Smaragda Lampridou, a Cardiac Health & Rehabilitation Nurse Specialist at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, who shared with us her journey to gaining her Masters and the impacts that it has had on her, her team and her clinical practice.

We have included some of the presentation materials below:

Writing a Winning Abstract - Donna Kennedy (PDF)

Developing a dynamic research profile - Enrique Castro-Sanchez (PDF)

Developing impactful visual research summaries (PDF)

CATO Masterclass: Intermediate Fellowships - 26 April 2021

The CATO Masterclass is the first virtual event of the year which took place on Monday 26 April 2021. The session was well attended with 60 attendees from across the Imperial AHSC, including both doctors and NMAHPPs (Nurses, Midwives, Allied Healthcare Professionals, Healthcare Scientists, Pharmacists and Psychologists). 

Colleagues received talks from Prof Iain McNeish, Prof Sejal Saglani and Dr Ali abbara about different stages of the application and interview process, as well as a session at the end available for all attendees to ask questions about their next steps into an intermediate fellowship.

Slides from the session can be found below:

Prof Iain McNeish - Insights from CRUK Fellowship Selection Panels - 26.04.21

Prof Sejal Saglani - My intermediate Fellowship interview experience - 26.04.21

Dr Ali Abbara - How to win a clinician scientist award - 26.04.21

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


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