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On Tuesday the 16th of May, members of the CTU attended the 7th Annual Primary Care Research Symposium organised by the NIHR’s Thames Valley and South Midland’s Clinical Research Network. Held at Milton Hill House Hotel in Abingdon, the symposium was an opportunity for researchers from all backgrounds to network, learn about opportunities to take part in current trials, and discuss the future of primary care research.

Collage of CTU members presenting at the NIHR symposium

Dr Nick Thomas, Clinical Specialty Lead for Primary Care, NIHR CRN TVSM, opened the day with an overview of the TVSM, one of the top clinical research networks in England. Dr Thomas said: “Our sixth annual NIHR primary care symposium was a resounding success. It was a showcase for primary care and increased awareness of the many research opportunities (new studies, professional development, research support) for GP surgeries and community healthcare organisations within our region. All contributors were fantastic, inspiring and enthusing attendees, and we thank them all for taking the time to be part of such a special event.” 

Delegates from the Clinical Trial Unit provided “elevator pitches” for trials including OPTIMISE2 (Cardiovascular), DURATION (UTI), and TOUCAN (UTI). 

Richard McManus presented OPTIMISE2 and was pleased to receive good feedback and lots of interest. He said “I really enjoy these events meeting colleagues and invariably go home with research ideas and tips for my own GP practice.”

Senior Trial Manager Nicola Kenealy said: “I presented the TOUCAN trial to inform the attendees that TOUCAN will be opening soon and that we are looking for sites to run the study. We were hoping to achieve a number of expressions of interest from sites and we had a lot of people come and talk to us after the presentation to discuss the study.” 

Senior Trial Manager and Team Lead Johanna Cook, who presented on the DURATION trial, commented: “The CRN Symposium is always a great day to meet with the GPs who are on the ground recruiting the participants we need into our studies.”  

She added “It is great to get to know them a bit more and to talk to them about how they find the day to day process of recruiting and following up participants. It is always great for encouraging interest in new studies as well!” 

In the afternoon, Emily Bongard, our new Director of Operations gave a presentation highlighting recent milestones, publications and awards in the unit, a synopsis of some of the other trials currently in set-up or recruiting that the GPs could get involved in as well as a brief introduction to Proxemis.  

To learn more about the trials mentioned above, click here. To find out more about primary care research and how the NIHR can support you, visit 

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