We would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who attended, and presented or exhibited at, this year’s Health and Care Research Wales conference on 3 October at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff.
This year’s conference theme was ‘partnership and collaboration’, which was successfully showcased across the day through a variety of insightful talks and plenaries from researchers from across the UK.
Great examples of collaboration between researchers and members of the public were found in the public partnership presentations, in which hearing directly from members of the public involved in projects acted as an important reminder of why we do research and the importance of it to our patients.
In addition, a collection of senior researchers from the Health and Care Research Wales infrastructure took time to talk us through what research collaboration means to them – taking us from chicken rearing, to David Bowie, to IVF, leaving some moved to tears.
At the end of the day, three awards were presented. Dr Ashra Khanom and her team of researchers from asylum-seeking and refugee communities took home this year’s Public Involvement Achievement Award for their ground-breaking work on the HEAR study.
The competition for best poster was extremely tough, with over 70 high quality entries. 35 were selected to be displayed at the conference, and the overall award went to Zoe Boult from Cardiff and Vale University Health Board Research and Development with her poster ‘Student Placements in Clinical Research: Can We Do It Better?’
Zoe said: “I’m honoured to have received the award for the Best Poster at the Health and Care Research Wales Conference this year. The poster outlines the development of an undergraduate student placement in clinical research, and how partnership and collaboration made this possible.
“It’s fantastic that the project has been recognised, and I’m really grateful to the dedicated teams in Cardiff and Vale, and Cardiff University who have worked with me on this to make it a success.”
Two posters were highly commended by the judges:
20 organisations from across the Health and Care Research Wales infrastructure exhibited at the conference, with the award for best interactive stand going to Wales Gene Park. Delegates could play a game of giant DNA snakes and ladders to learn more about genomic medicine research.
Angela Burgess, Wales Gene Park Education and Engagement Lead said: “We are delighted to have received this year's award for Best Interactive Stand, particularly as it was voted for by conference attendees.
“The event provided a great opportunity to engage with stakeholders in the research community about the advances that are being made in Genomic Medicine in Wales."
The conference was also a great opportunity for our new Director, Professor Kieran Walshe, to introduce himself and further familiarise himself with the fantastic research foundations already laid in Wales.
Kieran said: “As the incoming Director of Health and Care Research Wales, the conference was a great introduction to the health and care research community in Wales and a real demonstration of the breadth and depth of the research endeavour.
“We need to be focused on doing research and bringing knowledge to bear on the real-world problems of the NHS and care system, in ways that maximise its impact for patients and populations. Great research can make a real difference, and the conference was a real showcase in that regard.”