|Promising start for research initiative|
|Thursday, 24 November 2011|
The London Surgical Research Group (LSRG) Launch Evening took place on 7 September at Senate House, London. The LSRG is a trainee-led research collaborative that already counts over 200 members. Membership is free and open to everyone, regardless of level of surgical training or specialty. Members are able to run high quality multi-centre trials by harnessing the natural network of trainees.
The LSRG provides a forum for ambitious members to start up new projects and disseminate to centres across London and the South East. It is also an environment in which more established researchers can offer their support and experience. When trainees rotate to their next post, the Group easily allows handing over of the project, ensuring that more studies are likely to succeed. This ethos enables a rich culture in which innovation can flourish with the added bonus of boosting one’s CV.
The theme was innovation and research in surgery and this idea ran as a narrative to the entire evening, from the art deco building through to interactive questions and answers via a text messaging service.
Although the aim of the launch was to promote the LSRG, it also sought to provide a forum for trainees and senior consultants to engage on the topic of research, its importance and how and why trainees should get involved. Despite having a very relaxed atmosphere, the launch boasted some big-hitting speakers.
Invites for posters were made prior to the event with an emphasis on work that has already been achieved through similar research groups around the country. A voting system via text messaging was put in place to announce the winning poster, which went to Mr Nick Symons for his Emergency Surgery Admissions Processes poster.
Opening the evening, Mr James Haddow, President of the LSRG and SpR in colorectal surgery, spoke about the concept “publish or perish”. He described the optimism surrounding research collaboratives, stating that they are “about connecting trainees together” and that the LSRG “has been set up by trainees for trainees.” His positivity gave a real sense of empowerment to trainees.
Professor Norman Williams, new president of the Royal College of Surgeons of England and pioneer in anorectal reconstruction gave a talk entitled ‘Barriers and Solutions: a national surgical research network.’ He went on to tell the audience that surgery has fallen behind in terms of research and that there is an urgent need to develop, adding that “we need huge numbers and that is why you need networks.” Although a national framework would be the ideal, research collaboratives such as the LSRG are heading in the right direction.
The second keynote speaker, Dr Hugh Montgomery, arrived with an impressive CV. An anaesthetist who has given the Christmas lectures at the Royal Institution, he has been on the Caudwell Xtreme Everest Research Expedition, written children’s books and holds the world record for the longest underwater piano recital! He spoke about the importance of teams and the need to make research fun.
A Q&A session rounded off the evening with a mix of questions from the audience and the aforementioned text messaging system. The evening was just the beginning for a promising collaborative that is entirely dependent on its members.
Mr Neil Foden, Core Surgical Trainee, London Deanery