First RCR Clinical and Radiation Oncology Research Training meeting takes place in Oxford

Thursday 6 July 2017

Dr Ben O’Leary, clinical oncology trainee, PhD student and trainee representative on the College's Clinical Oncology Academic Committee, reports from the committee's first dedicated event for trainees.

On June 28, the first Clinical and Radiation Oncology Research Training meeting was hosted by the Oxford Institute for Radiation Oncology. The day was the brainchild of the College’s new Clinical Oncology Academic Committee.

The training day was a great success. We had an excellent turn out, with 21 clinical oncology trainees, eight core medical and five foundation trainees in attendance in order to network and learn about research opportunities, and the delegates gave extremely positive feedback. The College also funded seven of the trainee delegate places on the day and we are keen to encourage more trainee oncologists into the field.   

Professor Tim Maughan chaired the meeting, with a day split between talks on research experiences, tips for developing research within careers, visits to research groups and personal mentoring opportunities.

In the morning, delegates heard advice from Professor Anne Kiltie, whose career in urological cancer research and DNA repair involved the military at an early stage before eventually leading her to Oxford.

Professor Anthony Chalmers of The Beatson Institute, Glasgow, charted his path to leading the first clinical trial for PARP inhibitors in glioblastoma.

Professor Maughan described how his passion for building sustainable systems was sparked by his time setting up a hospital in South Sudan, which informed his approach to numerous international clinical trials and the Clinical and Translational Radiotherapy Research Working Group (CTRad) in the UK.

After lunch, a poster session was twinned with a chance to visit the Oxford research groups, with areas of interest including cell biology, imaging, bioinformatics and technical radiotherapy.

A further session addressed challenges facing CO researchers in forging a research career after completing a higher degree. Advice came from Dr. Geoff Higgins - a CRUK Clinician Scientist, Dr. David Cutter - whose work began with a fellowship in the Oxford Clinical Trial Service Unit and Epidemiological Studies Unit, and Dr. Charlotte Coles, Editor of Clinical Oncology and leader of a number of practice-changing trials in breast radiotherapy over the past decade. The day closed with one-to-one mentoring sessions for attendees.

It was fantastic to see the event so well attended and with such a mix in the training stage of delegates. Our thanks go to Professor Maughan and the team at Oxford for organising such a successful day.

Presentations and videos from the event will soon be available on our dedicated training meeting page.