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Group photo of attendees to the 2022 Annual Trainees Event. Taken outside the Denise Coates building, Keele University.

I was really looking forward to the NIHR School for Primary Care Research (SPCR) Trainee Event at Keele University on the 21st and 22nd of September, and it certainly didn’t disappoint.


The chance to network and talk to others in real life always offers such a great opportunity to learn about different research areas, build skills, confidence and practice articulating my own work.There is always so much to take back from every conversation and apply to my own research topic, whether it is methodology, an area of literature I hadn’t considered or an insight into the topic gained by hearing a new perspective.It is also just simply such great fun to spend time with other people in real life! Something important I think we have all missed very much over the past few years.


Attendees of the annual NIHR SPCR Trainees event on 21 September 2022 during breakout session. Attendees of the annual NIHR SPCR Trainees event on 21 September 2022 during breakout session.


The event itself was extremely well organised and ran very smoothly, miraculously with zero technical problems and no discernible timing issues either – a very impressive feat in itself!


NIHR SPCR Director and Training Leads introducing the annual NIHR SPCR Trainees event on 21 September 2022.In terms of the content, personal highlights for me were the excellent session by Professor Katrina Turner which was thoughtful and showed remarkable insight into the needs and challenges we face as trainees in our early research careers. I also loved the final keynote session by Dr Jessica Watson which gave a really interesting insight into the journey through the fellowship scheme, against the backdrop of a really relevant and engaging research topic.

NIHR SPCR Trainees attending a talk at the annual NIHR SPCR Trainees Event on 21 September 2022
Personally, I felt the first keynote discussion on day 1 which centred on partnerships with industry would have benefittedfrom a more participatory style, perhaps allowing for a more nuanced and balanced discussion. However, the other sessions offered plenty of opportunity to engage meaningfully with the content, including the workshop sessions, panel discussions and time for questions to speakers at the end.


Finally, a thankyou to all at the SPCR who make us trainees feel so welcome, respected and valued. I always find the leadership team to be very inclusive, open to suggestions and learning in both directions. It makes for a very welcoming atmosphere and gives trainees the space to ask questions they might otherwise have felt uncomfortable with.


Oh and of course most importantly… the food was great!

NIHR SPCR Trainees and Training Leads attending dinner at Keele Hall for the  NIHR SPCR Trainees Event on 21 September 2022