On Friday 10th November, the MRC Biostatistics Unit hosted a one-off, unique workshop on the theme of recent and future trends in biostatistics. The workshop, arranged by Dr Sofia S. Villar and a scientific organising committee from the BSU, was targeted for early career statisticians. The aims were to present recent work from a range of speakers at different stages in their careers, discuss ideas, and network with peers in a friendly and encouraging environment.
Keynote speakers included: Prof Peter Diggle (Lancaster University), Prof William Rosenberger (George Mason University, USA), and Prof Mihaela van der Schaar (Man Institute of Quantitative Finance, Oxford). There were also presentations from various internal and external early career statisticians. To view the full programme and scientific abstracts, click here.
A highlight of the day was the interactive session, where four PhD students and post doc statisticians discussed some of their recent work in an informal setting, without the use of presentation slides or posters. All the interactive presentations ran in parallel, allowing delegates to decide which talks they wished to go to. Oliver Crook (left), PhD student at the BSU, gave a talk entitled ‘R for Reproducibility’ using only a white board and cutlery to help describe his work. Harry Gray, also a BSU PhD student, discussed a project about genetic test reports for patients that he was involved during his recent internship with the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication. Delegates thoroughly enjoyed this session and all four presenters received small prizes for their significant efforts and enthusiasm.
The workshop concluded with a lively panel discussion. Delegates had the opportunity to answer several questions anonymously prior to the workshop, and the answers were reviewed and compiled to fuel debates between the panel members. Audience members also participated during the panel discussion, raising various questions and comments about the opportunities and challenges facing biostatistics research. Prof Peter Diggle concluded the day with some wise words of advice for the next generation of biostatisticians: “know what motivates you and aim to work in an environment that values and shares your motivation”.
The workshop was a fantastic success, with over 90 delegates from across the UK in attendance. Comments from delegates included:
“A great mix of sessions”
“A very enjoyable workshop”
“Workshop opened itself to initiate conversations with other like-minded individuals”
“I have come away with a lot of information on new and exciting techniques to be used in trials”
Thank you to all the speakers and contributors who helped to create such an interesting, enjoyable and action-packed workshop.