Advancing paediatric surgery through education and research

The BAPS / RCSEng Multicentre Collaborative Research Initiative

BAPS, in conjunction with the Royal College of Surgeons of England and the medical research charity SPARKS  have recently launched an initiative to promote and develop multicentre collaborative paediatric surgical research in the UK. The aim to is create a sustainable model for developing and delivering multicentre clinical research across UK centres, involving consultant paediatric surgeons and trainees. Nigel Hall from Southampton has been appointed to lead this initiative and help drive this forwards. He outlines his initials plans below. We encourage all UK consultants and trainees to consider becoming involved in this initiative and to work together to make it a success. Please contact Nigel directly to register you interest ideally before the end of June at 

Developing a Clinical Studies Group

In the first instance I would like to create a ‘Clinical Studies Group’ of research interested Paediatric Surgeons. The aim is to have at least one consultant surgeon from each of the UK centres along with at least one trainee from each of the training consortia. If there are more interested then there is no limit to numbers in theory but I am aiming for one per centre as a start. The group will aim to meet 2-3 times per year in person to discuss research ideas and develop them into detailed proposals that can be used to apply for competitive grant funding and subsequently be delivered. Key to the success of this is you. I have access to methodologists, triallists and other experts in the field who will provide assistance with this including specific training where necessary. What I would really like to achieve is a mechanism for developing not just research projects but also individuals as research leaders and with this in mind there will also be opportunities for training in various parts of the research pathway. There will be some funding provided to contribute towards travel expenses. I hope to have the initial group formed by the end of June so that we can meet during the BAPS congress in Liverpool in July.
Of note this is not an opportunity for me to develop my research ideas or research led by me. This is an open opportunity for all UK paediatric surgeons, regardless of previous academic or research experience, to come forward with research ideas that can be developed into viable projects. The invitation is open and the process will be inclusive.

Research Champions Needed

If this is of interest, please do get in touch. No research experience is necessary but enthusiasm, energy and commitment are essential. It would be ideal to have one representative from each UK centre with the idea that that individual really becomes a research ‘champion’ within that centre. You will need to have the support of your colleagues to do this and the drive and motivation to develop an improved culture of multicentre research within your unit. Once we have studies to deliver there will be training opportunities and plenty of help to facilitate activity. Other surgical specialities have managed to embed research activity at the very heart of their unit’s activity. There is no reason we cannot aim to do the same.

Trainees included

Trainees are very much our future and this initiative brings a real opportunity to develop trainees into active researchers during training with the intention that they become research active consultants in the future. Trainees therefore please speak up and get involved as well.

How do I get involved?

Please discuss this with your colleagues and nominate yourself for this rewarding role. I am sure that working together we can greatly improve the surgical research landscape in the UK with the ultimate aim of improving the care and outcomes for the babies and children we treat. If you have any queries or to register your interest please contact me directly: I look forward to hearing from you and working with you in the months and years to come.