Early Career Researcher Retreat 2024

Alzheimer’s Society is pleased to confirm that our retreat for early career dementia researchers will return in June 2024.

ECR2024 new

Registration

We have now closed registration for this event.

About the retreat

The retreat is a networking opportunity and skills development event, offering an opportunity to meet fellow ECRs, gain peer-to-peer advice and learn practical skills that will aid you in your career progression.

 

Events will include panels, talks and workshops, a soapbox science competition as well as an optional mock grant advisory board meeting to gain experience of grant review. The retreat will offer networking opportunities with a complimentary dinner and activities including a pub quiz. Overnight accommodation will be provided on site. 

Date of event

Tuesday 18th  - Wednesday 19th June 2024

Location of event

Voco St. John's, Solihull, West Midlands, B91 1AT

Who’s eligible to attend

All Alzheimer’s Society funded ECRs from doctoral students to senior fellows, inclusive of research support staff and technicians and limited spaces for non-Alzheimer's Society funded researchers.

Event Fees

The retreat is free to all Alzheimer’s Society funded researchers. Externally funded researchers will be asked to pay a contribution which will amount to £150 to be paid at registration.

Conference App

Please download our Early Career Researcher Retreat Conference App Instructions.

Agenda

10:30 - 12:30 - Mock Grant Board 

Attendees will join our mock board and have a go at being a member of a grant advisory board. They will have the opportunity to review real applications (previously funded by Alzheimer’s Society) and give feedback. Places are limited and will be prioritised to senior, followed by more junior fellows.

12:30 - 14:00 - Lunch and registration for remaining attendees

14:00 - 14:30 - Welcome

Kate Lee, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Society will be joined by a member of our Research Network Volunteer group – people with lived experience of dementia who work with us to make research relevant and impactful for all those living with dementia today and in the future.

14:30 - 15:30 - Innovation Workshop

Graeme Forth – Senior Innovator, Alzheimer’s Society

A session to explore bringing research into practice through innovation - co-creating and developing solutions to address system-wide health and social care challenges for people living with dementia. Let's consider how research may result in an idea or product, and how to make that concept a reality.

15:30 - 15:45 - Coffee Break

15:45 - 16:45 Researcher Presentation

DR Sophie Morse

Dr Sophie Morse studied Bioengineering at Imperial, and after an MRes in Biomedical Imaging, returned for her PhD to develop a non-invasive focused ultrasound technology to deliver drugs to the brain efficiently and safely. She was then awarded an EPSRC doctoral prize fellowship and has more recently become an Imperial College Research Fellow in the Department of Bioengineering and an Emerging Leader within the UK Dementia Research Institute. She currently leads an interdisciplinary group at Imperial focused on modulating the activity of glial cells in the brain to delay Alzheimer’s disease.

16:45 - 18:00 - Check-ins and time to refresh

18:00 - 21:30 - Networking bingo, Dinner and Pub quiz

09:00 - 09:15 - Welcome to day two

Fiona Carragher, Director of Research and Influencing, Alzheimer’s Society

09:15 - 10:00 - Keynote

Baroness Susan Greenfield, Founder & CEO, Neuro-Bio Ltd

Baroness Greenfield, Founder and CEO of Neuro-Bio Ltd (www.neuro-bio.com) is a neuroscientist, writer and broadcaster. She has published over 220 papers in peer-reviewed journals, based mainly at Oxford University but has held research fellowships at the College de France Paris, NYU Medical Center New York and Melbourne University. She holds 32 honorary degrees from UK and foreign universities, has received numerous honours including the Legion d’Honneur from the French Government, an Honorary Fellowship from the Royal College of Physicians, The American Academy of Achievement Golden Plate Award, and The Australian Medical Research Society Medal. She is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

10:00 - 11:00 - Breakout Workshops

Workshop 1 - Involvement: How to involve people affected by dementia in research, and why it is important.

In this workshop attendees will hear from our Involvement team and learn from people affected by dementia who are experts by experience, equipping ECRs with the skills needed to ensure meaningful Public and Patient Involvement in their research. This session will be led by Alzheimer’s Society Research Network Volunteers - people with lived experience of dementia who work with us to make research relevant and impactful for all those living with dementia today and in the future.

Workshop 2 – How to work with the media

Communicating the science – attendees will join Alzheimer’s Society’s award-winning press team for an interactive workshop where they will learn about the difference between PR and marketing, the benefits of working with the media, and how to communicate research to a mass lay audience.

11:15 - 12:00 - Peer Panel

Sitting down with our Dementia Research Leaders to talk about steps to independence and answering questions from the audience.

On the panel: Dementia Research Leaders Leanne McGurk, Sarah Ryan, Hugo Ribeiro Fernandes, Johanna Jackson and Kamen Tsvetanov. This session is facilitated by Sian Gregory, Research Grants Manager, Alzheimer’s Society. 

12:00 - 12:30 - Gender in Research

Alice Witt, Research and Policy Fellow, George Institute UK and Jess Gong, Honorary Senior Fellow in the Women’s Health Program at The George Institute for Global Health, UK

Sex and gender play a key role in shaping health and illness, especially in Alzheimer's disease, yet the majority of biomedical, health and care research does not adequately account for these variables. Through the Medical Science Sex and Gender Equity (MESSAGE) project, representatives from across the UK research sector have co-designed a policy framework for improved integration of sex and gender in research, as well as guidance to support researchers to implement this change in research practice. 

Alice Witt is a Research & Policy Fellow at The George Institute for Global Health where she works on the Medical Science Sex and Gender Equity (MESSAGE) project, a policy initiative to improve how biomedical, health and care research accounts for sex and gender dimensions across study design, analysis and reporting.

12:30 - 13:30 - Lunch Break

13:30 - 14:30 - Soapbox Science Competition

Back by popular demand, competitors will give short, lay presentations of their research armed with nothing but their voices and a soapbox. Prizes will be awarded for the best talks.

14:40 - 15:15 - Grant Writing Panel

Facilitated by Katherine Gray, Head of Research, Alzheimer’s Society 

Gain valuable perspectives from board members, staff, and volunteers on the key elements they seek in grant applications. Attendees will learn first-hand what these experts anticipate in a grant application, enhancing understanding and increasing chances of success. 

15:15 - 15:30 - Coffee Break

15:30 - 16:15 - Roundtables and Networking

Join our themed roundtables to discuss what you’ve learned during the retreat, forge new connections with peers and address common challenges faced by early career researchers. 

16:15 - 16:30 - Event Close

Announcing the winners of the Dementia Research Excellence and People Awards 2024  

Programme 

Plenary sessions will include;

Medical Science, Sex and Gender Equity 

Speaker: Alice Witt, Research and Policy Fellow

Sex and gender play a key role in shaping health and illness, especially in Alzheimer's disease, yet the majority of biomedical, health and care research does not adequately account for these variables. Through the Medical Science Sex and Gender Equity (MESSAGE) project, representatives from across the UK research sector have co-designed a policy framework for improved integration of sex and gender in research, as well as guidance to support researchers to implement this change in research practice. 

Talk with Baroness Susan Greenfield 

We're kicking off the second day of our Early Career Researcher Retreat with an inspiring plenary talk from Baroness Susan Greenfield. Baroness Greenfield has made outstanding contributions to the field of neuroscience, particularly in the physiology of the brain and the impact of the 21st-century technologies. 

A soapbox science competition 

 

Back by popular demand, competitors will give short, lay presentations of their research armed with nothing but their voices and a soapbox. Prizes will be awarded for the best talks at the end of the event. 

Workshop sessions will include; 

An optional mock Grant Review Board

Join our mock board and have a go at being a member of a grant advisory board. You’ll have the opportunity to review real applications (previously funded by Alzheimer’s Society) and give feedback.  

Innovation workshop

A session to explore bringing research into practice through innovation - co-creating and developing solutions to address system-wide health and social care challenges for people living with dementia. Let's consider how research may result in an idea or product, and how to make that concept a reality. 

 

PPI workshop

 

In this workshop you’ll hear from our Involvement team and learn from people affected by dementia who are experts by experience, equipping you with the skills needed to ensure meaningful Public and Patient Involvement in your research. 

 

Media workshop

 

Communicating the science – Join Alzheimer’s Society’s award-winning press team for an interactive workshop where you’ll learn about difference between PR and marketing, the benefits of working with the media, and how to communicate research to a mass lay audience using the all-important key messages. 

Peer panel

Join senior early career researchers discussing their journey in academia and answering questions from you. 

 

Grant writing panel

 

Gain valuable perspectives from board members, staff, and volunteers on the key elements they seek in grant applications.  Discover firsthand what these experts anticipate in a grant application, enhancing your understanding and increasing your chances of success. 

Dementia Research Excellence and People Awards 2024

Nominees in Rising Star, Emerging Leader Award, and The People’s Champion categories must be actively undertaking dementia research within a UK-based research institution, university, or NHS Trust. 

Nominees in the Research Community must be actively working within a UK-based research institution, university, or NHS Trust. 
 

Rising Star Award
  • For researchers who are currently completing their PhD or postdoctoral researchers who completed their PhD within the last three years; 

  • Demonstrate a consistent contribution to their own development as a dementia researcher; 

  • Recognised as a potential future leader in the field; 

  • Producing high quality work that is reaching a wide audience; 

  • Actively working to increase their skills and knowledgebase through additional qualifications and/or experiential learning; 

  • Contributing to the future of dementia research by engaging with students at different educational levels. 

     

Emerging Leader Award
  • Early career researchers who completed their PhD between three and ten years ago; 

  • Endorsed as a leading researcher by their institution (letter from institution required); 

  • Demonstrate a consistent contribution to their own development as a dementia researcher; 

  • Producing ground-breaking work that has been published by leading journals and presented at national and/or international conferences; 

  • Demonstrate how their skills and knowledgebase has been enhanced over the course of their research career through acquisition of additional qualifications and/or experiential learning; 

  • Actively supporting the growth and learning of junior dementia researchers, as well as engaging with students at different educational levels. 
     
The People’s Champion Award in honour of Kate McGowan
  • Any dementia researcher who has made inclusion with people affected by dementia, and the public, a central part of their research; 

  • Outstanding inclusion of people affected by dementia, and the public, in dementia research; 

  • Exceptional support to facilitate the inclusion of people affected by dementia to take part in research; 

  • Consistent and continuous engagement with people affected by dementia, and the public, to promote dementia research; 

  • Actively using their platform as a dementia researcher to support other researchers to include people affected by dementia, and the public, in research. 

     

Research Community Award
  • Any dementia researcher, clinician, or institutional staff member who has contributed to the development of a supportive and inclusive academic environment that enables colleagues, students, and researchers to thrive; 

  • Demonstrate key measures that have been implemented in their institution to safeguard the health and well-being of colleagues, students, and researchers; 

  • Actively promoting safe working practices that support the mental and physical well-being of colleagues, students, and researchers. 

Process for Nominations

The deadline for submission of nominations is Monday 28th May 2024 by 17:00 (GMT) and winners (one per category) will be announced in June 2024.  

Completed application forms must be emailed by this deadline to [email protected]   

Nominations for awards must be submitted by other individuals. All nominations must be made using the supplied form and contain a complete record of the merits and achievements, related to the award category, of the nominee. Any additional supporting letters must be submitted with the application form.  

Any organisation, association, or individual may submit nominations.   

For a nomination to be considered, all sections of the form relevant to the nominee must be completed. Incomplete nominations will be returned.  
 

Judging  

A panel of leading dementia researchers, experts by experience, and Alzheimer’s Society research team members will undertake the judging. Progress towards a successful research career and impact in the nominee’s dementia research field is the primary consideration, alongside the criteria set out in the scoring grids for each award category. The judges will use the evidence presented in the nomination, and supporting letters (where necessary), to decide on whether the criteria are met.   

The judges may also consider elements such as: the nominee’s achievements and originality in research and the potential for their research to improve the lives of people affected by dementia in the future. Winning nominees will be notified of their success by the panel.   

If you have any questions or comments, please email [email protected] or [email protected]
 

Awards Presentation 

The awards will be presented at Alzheimer’s Society’s Early Career Researcher Retreat Tuesday 18th - Wednesday 19th June 2024 at Voco St. John's, Solihull, West Midlands.  

 

Prizes 

All winning nominees will receive a commemorative plaque, certificate, and £1000 towards professional development activities (e.g., attendance at relevant conferences, undertaking professional training courses, research skill development through visiting other institutions, or relevant public outreach work).

How much does the event cost? 

The ECR retreat is free to all Alzheimer’s Society funded researchers. Externally funded researchers will be asked to pay a contribution which will amount to £150 to be paid at registration.

Can I expense my travel?

We regret that we are unable to cover any travel expenses.

What is your covid policy?

We recognise the challenges we continue to face during the current global pandemic. Our decisions are always driven by the impact on people affected by dementia, the health and well-being of our staff, volunteers, partners, speakers and delegates.

We will be holding this conference in person, however we will be working in line with the government guidance and restrictions at the time. We will continue to monitor and review the policies and procedures we have in place in accordance with government and public health guidance. We will continue to update our attendees to any changes or considerations that will need to be put in place as part of these restrictions.

What is the address?

Voco St. John's, Solihull, West Midlands, B91 1AT.

Hotel Accommodation

We will be providing hotel accommodation for attendees for Tuesday 18th June only. Any other nights required will have to be organised and booked separately by the attendee.

What if I am unable to attend due to caring responsibilities?

If you are an Alzheimer’s Society funded researcher, we can help if you have caring responsibilities (e.g. childcare) which may affect your ability to attend the conference. Please email us at [email protected] to discuss options/provisions.

Is lunch included?

Yes, lunch and refreshments will be served at the appropriate times. You will be asked for any dietary requirements when you register for the conference.

I have accessibility requirements, can you help?

Please ensure you indicate your requirements when registering for the event and we will accommodate these on the day.

Is there a dress code for the conference?

The dress code for the conference will be smart/casual.

What are the start and finish times of the event?

Please plan to arrive on Tuesday 18th for lunch and registration from 12:30, before the first session kicks off at 14:00. If you are participating in the Mock Grant Board, you will need to arrive earlier for 10:00.

How do I book for sessions?

When you register you will be asked which breakout sessions you would like to book onto.

Will I be able to get a copy of presentations?

We will aim to get a copy of presentations from each speaker to be available after the event. This will be at the discretion of the speaker, therefore we cannot guarantee that all will be available.

Can I amend my booking after completion?

Yes, use the link in your email to login to your booking. Click ‘Modify’ to amend your booking. You can amend your session choices and change answers to the registration questions. The deadline for amending bookings is Monday 3rd June.

Contact us

Send an email to [email protected] with any further queries about this event.

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