On Tuesday 7th June, we hosted the 2016 Hot Topics in Health Services Research Conference at the King's College Conference Centre, University of Aberdeen. The conference was opened by Professor Phil Hannaford , Vice-Principal for Digital Transformation and Head of the College of Life Sciences and Medicine and Professor Marion Campbell, Director of Research & Commercialisation for the College of Life Sciences & Medicine and Professor of Health Services Research. The conference included a celebration of the life and work of the late Professor Adrian Grant, Director of the Health Services Research Unit, 1994-2007, who, Marion (Director, 2007-2015) said in her opening address, advised us all to be ‘impeccable’ in our research – a lasting lesson and legacy.
The first session was chaired by Professor Craig Ramsay, newly appointed Director of the Health Services Research Unit and he introduced the first speaker of the morning session, Sir Iain Chalmers, one of the founders of the Cochrane Collaboration and coordinator of the James Lind Alliance. Sir Iain reflected on Professor Grant’s considerable contributions to the field of evidence synthesis, his creation of an early database of clinical trials and advocacy for international collaboration in clinical research, as well as his friendship. Other speakers on the topic of evidence synthesis, specifically novel automation tools, rapid review and innovation, included Professor James Thomas, Institute of Education, Professor Kerry Hood, Cardiff University and Dr Karen Facey, Evidence Based Health Policy Consultant.
In the afternoon, we turned our focus to clinical trials. Chaired by Professor Ian Russell, University of Swansea, Professor Diana Elbourne began with a tribute to Professor Grant’s pioneering work on randomised controlled trials. She was followed by Professor Jonathan Cook, University of Oxford, who spoke on surgical trials. Dr Annmarie Nelson, Cardiff University, then spoke about her work on patient involvement in trials before the final speaker of the session, our very own Professor Shaun Treweek, challenged us when talking about efficiency in clinical trials.
The final session of the day was the Inaugural Professor Adrian Grant Memorial Lecture, introduced by Professor Elizabeth Russell, and given by Professor Jeremy Grimshaw of the Ottawa Health Research Institute. He talked about implementation research and advancing the science of health service improvement before he concluded with a personal tribute to Professor Grant. Professor Grant’s widow, Frances, presented Jeremy with the Professor Adrian Grant Memorial Quaich.
A recording of the conference is available at http://www.kaltura.com/tiny/kb2rp