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Thursday, 3 November 2016

UK Research in Musculoskeletal Epidemiology (UK-RiME) Showcase 2016

By Dr James Prior, Research Associate

At the start of October, the Research Institute for Primary Care and Health Sciences successfully hosted the 2016 UK Research in Musculoskeletal Epidemiology (UK-RiME) showcase.

The UK-RiME is a partnership initiated by the Arthritis Research UK Centre for Excellence in Epidemiology (University of Manchester). This collaboration includes Centres working in musculoskeletal (MSK) epidemiology from the Universities of Aberdeen, Bristol, East Anglia, Keele, Nottingham, Oxford and Southampton. 

The main aim of the UK-RiME is to build capacity in MSK epidemiology research by developing a multi-disciplinary training and mentorship programme across these Centres. The annual showcase provides an opportunity for junior and senior researchers from each Centre to come together, present their research and importantly build networks to aid future collaborative MSK epidemiology research.

Prof. Danielle van der Windt
This year’s meeting was opened by Professor van der Windt (Keele University) who outlined the day's packed content and also highlighted some of the successful UK-RiME events over the last year, including the first UK-RiME Advanced Musculoskeletal Epidemiology course in the summer. 

Dr Jessica Boname
The scientific content of the day was then kicked off by the first keynote speaker, Dr Jessica Boname from the Medical Research Council (MRC). Dr Boname provided a very useful presentation around the MRC funding streams available to researchers, both clinical and non-clinical. This presentation was followed by a series of presentations by senior researchers from each Centre, who each recapped the research highlights from their Centre in the last 12-months. This really gave a flavour and the breath of excellent research being conducted. 

The morning session was then rounded off by the main presentation session, the elevator pitches. These presentations challenge junior researchers to “sell” their research idea to the audience in just three minutes; this session didn’t disappoint, with an excellent series of presentations, all providing concise information which distilled the essence of their work for the audience. As presentations were short, each researcher had produced a poster of their work and much conversation was had by these over the lunch break. Another key feature of the UK-RiME is its mentorship scheme, linking up junior and senior researchers (from different institutes), to provide the former with an additional perspective on their future career path. As well as facilitating these links between researchers, the UK-RiME showcase also provides an excellent opportunity for face-to-face meetings between mentorship pairs over the meeting breaks.

The afternoon of the showcase was dedicated to interactive ‘breakout’ sessions, giving attendees with an opportunity to discuss specific areas of interest with experts in several different topics. The eHealth group was particularly well attended, providing the opportunity for discussion around the pros and cons of using electronic surveys, websites and apps for epidemiological research. Other groups covered the use of ‘big data’ (such as the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD)), registers and a session of the Statisticians’ Network, to facilitate closer links and skill sharing between this group. 

Prof. Alan Silman
The showcase was rounded off by an excellent (and enthusiastic) keynote presentation by Professor Alan Silman, who mused on the past of MSK epidemiology, and importantly, what the future holds for this field and the researchers within it. 

Prof. Will Dixon
Finally, the meeting was closed by Professor Will Dixon (University of Manchester), who further highlighted the continued success of the UK-RiME showcase, now in its third year and presented Monika Frysz from the University of Bristol with the prize for best elevator pitch.

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