Early Career Researcher Retreat 2022

At Alzheimer’s Society we’ve heard a lot about the difficulties of building a career in research and want to play our part in supporting Early Career Researchers to reach their career goals. Through round-table discussions, surveys and conversations with researchers at all levels, we are identifying the needs of ECRs and have put together a new ECR support strategy.


Alzheimer’s Society are delighted to be able to hold an Early Career Researcher Retreat at the University of Warwick on 29th and 30th June 2022. The retreat is designed to be 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.

This year spaces are limited so they will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. If anyone misses out, a reserve list will be kept for if spaces become available.

We hope to see you there!

Date: Evening of 29th June and during the day on 30th June

Location: Scarman conference, University of Warwick. Accommodation will be available on the 29th June.

Who’s eligible to attend?

Alzheimer’s Society funded ECRs from doctoral students to senior fellows, inclusive of research support staff and technicians.

What can delegates gain access to?

  • A networking evening with activities
  • Complimentary dinner and overnight accommodation
  • Skills workshops covering: Management & Leadership, Grant Review, Communicating Research and Mental Health in Academia
  • A host of talks, panels and Q&A sessions with researchers, funding bodies, charity volunteers and ECRs
  • A soapbox science competition

Who is speaking?

Dr Stefano Sandrone
Neuroscientist and Senior Teaching Fellow, Imperial College London

Dr Stefano Sandrone is an Italian neuroscientist, a Senior Teaching Fellow and an educationalist working at Imperial College London. He was selected as a young scientist at the 64th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in Physiology and Medicine. He was awarded the Julia Higgins Award and the President’s Award from Imperial College London, the Science Educator Award presented by the Society for Neuroscience, and the H. Richard Tyler Award, the Lawrence C. McHenry Award and the A. B. Baker Teacher Recognition Award from the American Academy of Neurology.

Presenting: ‘Nobel Life’, Nobel and Life


Prof. Katie Featherstone
Professor of Sociology and Medicine and Director of the Geller Institute of Ageing and Memory, University of West London

Katie Featherstone is Professor of Sociology and Medicine and Director of the Geller Institute of Ageing and Memory, University of West London. Katie has supported early and mid-career academics in the dementia field, which has been highly rated by participants and is currently informing ECR strategy across a range of national funding bodies (NIHR, Alzheimer’s Research UK and the Alzheimer’s Society). She leads an NIHR HS&DR funded ethnographic programme examining institutional cultures of care, drawing on traditions in ethnography and medical sociology. The goal is to improve the quality and humanity of care people living with dementia receive during a hospital admission.

Presenting: Pathways to academic independence: strategies to recognising our strengths and developing our ‘unique contribution to the field'

Drawing on a two-year programme of monthly online mentoring workshops Katie set up and ran (during Covid) to support early and mid-career researchers working in dementia research, this talk will discuss practical strategies and pathways that support the development of clarity of an individual academic/research identity - a key building block in our pathway to academic independence.


Duncan Jones

BBC Journalist and Media Consultant

Duncan has been a volunteer with Alzheimer’s Society since 2012 and a Trustee of the charity since 2017. He sits on the Society’s Board and is also on the Policy, Research and Communications Committee.

Duncan has spent nearly 40 years as a journalist with the BBC, during which time his roles have included Editor of Television Sports News and Managing Editor of Radio Sport. These days, he produces regional news programmes in Birmingham.

Duncan has also worked as a media consultant and trainer and has taught broadcast journalism at three universities.

Presenting: “How to be heard. How do we decide what our message is, and how do we make sure we get that message across.”

This talk will concentrate on how to distill a complex idea into a simple message that could be heard and understood in a short interview and then in a thirty second interview clip.

More speakers will be announced soon!

Full conference programme

Day 1: Networking and Welcome Dinner

18:00 - Registration

18:15 - Speed Introductions

Based on the speed dating format. Spend 5 minutes apiece getting to know your fellow ECRs.

19:00 - Welcome from Dr Rich Oakley, Associate Director of Research

19:15 - Dinner

21:00 - Pub Quiz

Day 2: Main Conference

09:00 - Welcome from Kate Lee, CEO of Alzheimer’s Society

09:20 - ‘Nobel Life’, Nobel and Life

Speaker: Dr Stefano Sandrone, Imperial College London

10:00 - Breakout Session 1

Leadership Workshop

Grant Review Workshop

Communications Workshop

Coping with Academic Stressors Workshop

10:45 - Coffee Break

11:15 - How to be heard. How do we decide what our message is, and how do we make sure we get that message across?

Speaker: Duncan Jones, BBC journalist & media consultant

11:55 - Pathways to academic independence: strategies to recognising our strengths and developing our ‘unique contribution to the field.

Speaker: Katie Featherstone, University of West London

12:35 - Applying for Fellowships

Speakers: Professor Paul Ince Emeritus, University of Sheffield, Katherine Gray, Alzheimer’s Society, John Major, Research Network Volunteer

13:05 - Lunch

14:15 - Panel session: Patient & Public Involvement

Speakers: Anna Smith, Alzheimer’s Society, John Major, Research Network Volunteer

14:45 - Breakout Session 2

Leadership Workshop

Grant Review Workshop

Communications Workshop

Coping with Academic Stressors Workshop

15:30 - Coffee Break

16:00 - Work-life balance Q&A

Speakers: Dr Natalie Marchant, University College London, Dr Naaheed Mukadam, University College London

16:30 - Closing remarks & announcement of Soapbox Science winners

Speaker: Dr Richard Oakley, Alzheimer's Society

16:45 - Retreat Concludes

Choice of breakout sessions

You will be able to choose one for the morning and one for the afternoon.

Leadership Workshop – Learn tricks and tips about managing a team from leaders in industry.  

Grant Review Workshop – Try your hand at reviewing a short grant application with discussion of the merits and flaws to help you in writing your own.  

Communications Workshop – Sharpen your communication skills by practicing scientific communications to lay audiences and media. 

Coping with Academic Stressors - Psychologist, research communicator and former academic Dr Clare Jonas will talk you through some of the causes of stress, why we respond differently to similar stressors, and practical, evidence-based tips for coping.  


What is your covid policy?

We recognise the challenges we continue to face during the current global pandemic.

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?

Scarman conferences is located at the University of Warwick on the outskirts of Coventry, 3 miles from the city centre. If you navigate to the postcode CV4 7SH, you will be directed to Gibbet Hill Road, the main road through the University. Follow signs for Lakeside Village, you’ll then find signposts for Scarman.

Telephone: +44 (0)24 7652 3222

Travel by car: Easily accessible from many major routes: M1, M6, M5, M42, A5 and A14

Travel by bus: Regular buses from the University campus to Coventry city centre and rail station. Taxis are freely available at the bus terminal

Travel by train: Coventry is on the West Coast Mainline and serviced by regular trains, 7 days a week

Travel by plane: Birmingham International Airport is approximately 20 minutes away

Can I expense my travel?

The conference itself is free of charge, however we regret that we are unable to cover any travel expenses.

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

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?

There will be an informal dinner on the evening of the 29th June, including a welcome talk and pub quiz. The main conference will start at 9.00am the next day, and finish at 4:30pm.

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 Friday 10 June.

How can I contact you with further questions?

Contact us at [email protected] with further queries.

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