Early career researchers from NIHR Applied Research Collaborations Kent, Surrey, Sussex (ARC KSS) and North Thames (ARC NT) came together in September, for the first, cross-ARC, researcher's networking event.

With highly overlapping research themes across ARC KSS and ARC NT, the event -  held at the Wellcome Collection in London – this was an opportunity for those developing their research careers to make networks outside of their region, learn together and meet new collaborators.

The day was chaired by ARC’s Academic Career Development Leads, Professor Sally Kendall (Kent, Surrey and Sussex) and Professor Angela Harden (North Thames).

Professor Sally Kendall, said: "Collaborating with our colleagues in North Thames has resulted in something really valuable for researchers, more than the sum of its parts. I am looking forward to further networking and sharing of research developments across the ARC."

Professor Angela Harden, said: “The event was a fantastic opportunity to share stories and make new connections between early career researchers across the whole spectrum of applied health and care research.”

Throughout the day, Dr Carys Banks, Research Fellow, University of Surrey; Dr Jessica Carlisle, Research Officer, Care Policy and Evaluation Centre, London School of Economics; Dr Deborah Ikhile, Research Fellow, Brighton and Sussex Medical School and Dr Mohammad Talaei, Post Doctoral Researcher, Queen Mary University of London; gave a series of 'Research Insight' talks that outlined their research journeys, project challenges and successes.

A session on ‘Scale and spread – how do I grow my small research project?’ was presented by Professor Harden, ARC North Thames Academic Career Development Lead, during the afternoon and a joint presentation from Dr Vanessa Abrahamson and Dr Lisa Richardson from ARC KSS Co-production theme and Will Lammons, ARC North Thames PPIE Lead on ‘the approaches to measuring impact of your public involvement, engagement and co-production’.

Those who attended the event told us how they enjoyed:

“…hearing from researchers further along in their careers, their transparency about their non-linear journeys to their current roles, and hearing about how much expertise they have developed along the way.”

“…all the different research backgrounds colliding and seeing how my research is very closely linked to others.  It reveals how closely knit the research community is.”

“…the diversity of presentations and participants.”

“…hearing about the challenges and successes within research projects and how people overcome the challenges faced.”

ARC Kent, Surrey and Sussex and ARC North Thames look forward to further networking events and sharing of research developments across the ARC.

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