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Written by Sophie Orton, University of Nottingham

Montevideo, Uruguay. February 22-25, 2016.

In February, I was among 12 early-career researchers from the UK invited to attend a workshop held under the Researcher Links scheme and funded by the Latin America Science and Innovation Fund through the British Council; this was held in Montevideo, Uruguay at the University of the Republic’s Hygiene Institute. The workshop aimed to explore implementation science applied to maternal health, specifically tobacco and alcohol use in pregnancy, and to encourage collaborations, joint publications, commentaries and policy work in this area.

The four day workshop included keynote presentations by leading researchers and clinicians from the UK and Uruguay. These covered a range of interesting and informative topics, including tobacco and alcohol use in pregnancy in both countries, interventions in these areas, and implementation frameworks. As this workshop was aimed at early career researchers, there were also useful talks on career development, engaging with the media and preparing grant applications. All workshop attendees gave a presentation of some of their own research, which was a great opportunity to learn more about the excellent research being conducted both in the UK and Uruguay; I presented the findings of one of my PhD projects, titled ‘smoking in the home after childbirth: prevalence and determinants’. Particular highlights of the workshop were the sessions to discuss future collaborative work. These were very engaging discussions, and lots of exciting potential future research projects were considered!

Following on from the workshop, it is hoped that early career researchers will have the ability to apply implementation science to the challenge of maternal smoking and alcohol use in both countries. This was a fantastic opportunity to meet both UK and Uruguayan colleagues, learn more about maternal health in Uruguay and build new research links between the two countries, whilst experiencing their fantastic hospitality. Of course, all the UK attendees also thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to visit and explore Montevideo, sample the local cuisine and enjoy the good weather!

If you would like to read more, there is a blog on the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies site:


Sophie Orton is based at the University of Nottingham