It is always welcome to see the wider success of individuals within the Faculty or across the wider University. Nowhere is this more evident than in our clinical trainees. As a member of the MRC clinical training panel, it is a pleasure to note the success of Southampton applicants first hand, and in recent times we have done exceptionally well. At our recent clinical training fellows meeting I was pleased to see one of the Southampton fellows discussing his experiences and leading the feedback session for his grouping. At the same meeting, it was just as delightful to meet of one of our exceptional core medical trainees, who was just completing her MRC funded PhD at UCL, and was now moving onto to begin her specialist training. A training fellowship provides a springboard for our talented clinical academics to embark on a career in academic medicine, which can be challenging but ultimately highly rewarding. One important point which was raised at the meeting was that of mentorship. Having a mentor may help through the inevitable difficult times during a PhD, as was highlighted at the fellows meeting, and so I would definitely encourage students, both clinical and non-clinical, to engage with mentoring opportunities within the Faculty.
The national profile of the UoS was also evident at a recent charity meeting that I attended. The Wessex Institute, which administers a number of NIHR programs. One of the lesser known of these is the INVOVLE program. This program facilitates the participation of the public in research. So, it was equally rewarding to see a representative from INVOLVE speaking at the annual meeting of The Children’s Liver Disease Foundation and supporting their development of a research hub to engage patients (and their parents) with the research agenda.
Engagement with enterprise is part of our core mission, and provides opportunities for expansion of research impact outside the traditional academic metrics. These will form an integral part of the next REF exercise, with research “impact” now making up an increasing proportion of the evaluation. To facilitate this Future Worlds organised a highly successful pitching event in the summer at which six entrepreneurs from the Faculty presented their investment opportunity to a panel of pharmaceutical companies and venture capital funders, with one proposal “Vaxinc” garnering interest from two of the pharma companies and one VC funder.
As a Faculty of Medicine situated within a large teaching hospital the enterprise opportunities lie directly on our doorstep. However, crossing the threshold from academia into the clinic can be difficult and confusing. This has been recognised by the MRC in awarding the University a Confidence in Concept grant to facilitate the translation of our discovery research into the clinic. As a Faculty, we also recognise that this may be challenging and hence we are launching our first ever UoS-UHS Enterprise event “Clinicians meet Engineers” to stimulate closer a working relationship of University researchers with academic and NHS clinicians. The event is sold out on Eventbrite, but limited places may still be available through cancellations (email@example.com). I look forward to seeing you there!
Professor Salim Khakoo
Associate Dean (Enterprise) Director of Biomedical Research (IFLS)