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Hans de Graaf is a paediatric rheumatologist who works at University Hospital Southampton, and also the convenor of last year's Paediatric and Adolescent Research Day. Here, he talks about why it's such a collaborative atmosphere and explains what the organisers want to see from those submitting research ideas.

What is the Paediatric and Adolescent Research Day?

It’s a very dynamic and very lively day where mainly young doctors and scientists give short presentations and get exposed to research in paediatric rheumatology. There’s no threshold for asking questions or wanting clarifications.

It’s a very different vibe to the Paediatric and Adolescent Rheumatology Conference, which is much more focused around certain topics and excellent speakers giving an overview of the topic – summaries rather than focusing on smaller projects going on at the moment.

What kind of people attend the Research Day?

Experienced researchers in paediatric rheumatology, people who are thinking about doing paediatric rheumatology and clinical paediatric rheumatology trainees. Everyone is invited to think about research, as the research day can help them network and find connections. Paediatric rheumatology is a small world and a small community, so it’s really nice that on the Research Day we can all help each other.

In paediatric rheumatology not all training posts are always filled – if we can get trainees that haven’t yet decided what to specialise in, the research day showcases a very personal and nice community, which I think would attract people to go into the specialism.

What kind of presentations would be of interest to the convenor?

Classically results are being presented from research that’s been or is being done. But we also want to include presentations of studies that are being thought of or are ongoing, to focus more on the whole process of research. We are looking at research in any stage – for instance, if you want to pitch something to brainstorm with the community, if you start doing research and you are struggling half way, this is a really nice platform.

We try to make it a masterclass atmosphere so that people will learn from each other.

What presentations stood out to you from last year?

There was a lot of variation – epidemiological research, nurse practitioners and physiotherapists. There were presentations that I now think ‘we might have made a big contribution to that research project’! There was someone presenting her thoughts about how she was going to set up a research line, asking where it would lead to in her career. One in three presentations was on ongoing research and the others were based on results.

Submit your research idea