NIHR Research Training Camp

When: Wednesday 6 July – Friday 8 July 2016

The NIHR Infrastructure Doctoral Training Camp was an intense, three-day, annual event for NIHR trainees held over three days from Wednesday 6 July to Friday 8 July. The camp offered workshops, guest speakers and opportunities for networking and mentoring.

This year’s camp focused on ‘A call for proposals’ and involved working in small groups with a mentor to prepare and present a proposal to a panel of judges. Attendance at the camp was by invitation only and the GOSH BRC was represented by three GOSH trainees.

Julianne Brown, a GOSH BRC trainee won an award for the best oral presentation at the camp and both Julianne and Hanna Sakki were members of groups who won the prize for best presentation at the event.

Hear about what the GOSH BRC trainees thought of the camp:

Julianne Brown -

Julianne Brown Award at NIHR training weekend
I am in the final year of an NIHR doctoral research fellowship and thinking about the next step, so I jumped at the chance to participate in an NIHR training camp focused on grant applications in a healthcare setting. Having been awarded a place I, along with 100 or so other delegates from Biomedical Research Centres and Units across the UK, submitted an abstract of my research. Many were asked to prepare posters and the top three, of which I was one, were asked to prepare an oral presentation.

I arrived at the historical Ashridge Business School, set in 190 acres of picturesque Hertfordshire gardens, ready for three days of lectures and advice on how to successfully apply for a new NIHR fellowship. We enjoyed an introductory talk on building our post-doctoral careers, after which I and two other delegates gave our presentations followed by poster sessions during which we had the opportunity to meet other delegates; it was fascinating to meet clinicians, nurses, scientists and allied health professionals all undertaking a breadth of health research. Then the fun really began.

The next 24 hours was to be an “Apprentice” style task, in which we were assembled into teams of seven people, each with diverse professional and research backgrounds. We had 24 hours to put together a grant proposal for the fictional “Making People Healthier research programme (MPHrp)”. Over the next day and half each team developed a project idea and wrote a research proposal, including background reading and meetings with various members of the fictional finance and R&D team to write a plausible grant application. Our day was peppered with various workshops to learn and develop skills in framing our research question, presentation skills and patient and public involvement (PPI). Throughout the second day a big clock counted down to the tight 5 pm deadline, which thankfully we met with ten minutes to spare.

The following morning each team participated in a panel presentation and interview, after which the winning grant proposal was announced. My team won the prize for best use of PPI, and I won the award for best presentation on the first day; successes all round.

The NIHR training camp was a whirlwind of networking, inspiration and expert advice, which I shan’t forget in a hurry. Now to write that next fellowship application…

Hoong-Gan Wei -

It was a great privilege to be given the opportunity to attend this year’s NIHR Infrastructure Doctoral Research Training Camp in the beautiful grounds of Ashridge Business School. Talks by influential academics from various sections of the NIHR were coupled with an extremely stimulating group exercise involving completing a grant proposal as a group within seven hours, forcing extremely efficient, dynamic team-working across a wide range of disciplines! The camp also provided ample opportunities for networking and to hear about the various forms of research funded by the NIHR. The final evening dinner was the culmination of this, fuelled by excellent food, and an honest and entertaining lecture from Dr. Giles Yeo about his own research career, with an important lesson on “never looking back”. I would highly recommend this to any doctoral researcher who is thinking ahead of a future career in clinical academia.