Dr James Seddon was recently shortlisted for the Academy of Medical Sciences (AMS) Oral Plenary Prize at their Winter Science Meeting.
He presented his work at the AMS headquarters in London on 23 November. In attendance were nearly 100 academics from a number of UK-based universities, consisting of a mixture of more junior researchers together with members of the Academy. Although the Oral Plenary Prize was awarded to another researcher, Dr Seddon was commended on the strength of his work and clarity of presentation.
The meeting was an opportunity for researchers to mix and discuss their work, and meet Fellows of the Academy. As well as enabling attendees to present new research findings, the day included and facilitated discussions on applying for funding, progressing to leadership positions, engaging with policy makers and research reproducibility. There were also sessions led by communications experts on school engagement, communicating with the public, how to use social media and how to get the most out of working with the press. The keynote lecture was delivered by Professor Sadaf Farooqi (University of Cambridge), a physician and endocrinologist whose pioneering research has helped us to better understand the genetic basis of obesity.
If you are not able to clearly communicate your ideas to colleagues, other academics and the wider public, then your research will have little impact.
– Dr James Seddon
The work presented by Dr Seddon was a systematic review and meta-analysis evaluating the impact of HIV on the risk of a child developing TB. The study also examined the impact of the degree of immunosuppression and the use of antiretroviral therapy.
He commented: “A better understanding of the impact of HIV on the risk of tuberculosis in children will help clinicians, policy makers, advocates and mathematical modellers to treat and plan clinical services for children, raise the profile of children on a global scale and predict the impact of interventions through modelling."
When asked how events like the AMS Winter Science Meeting might help with an academic career, Dr Seddon suggested: “Communication is central to a scientific career. If you are not able to clearly communicate your ideas to colleagues, other academics and the wider public, then your research will have little impact.”
“I think the general feeling is that communication – via as many tools as possible – is increasingly important. Using the conventional press, as well as social media, is really key to getting your message out. There is an increasing emphasis on this in grant applications; funding bodies want to know how you plan to communicate your work and findings to a wider audience.”
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Professor James Seddon
Department of Infectious Disease