Attending the Research and Development Forum conference

Last updated on 24 May 2024
Jane Morrin O'Rourke

A blog by Jane Morrin O’Rourke, HRA Policy Manager

I was lucky to get the opportunity to attend the Research and Development (R&D) Forum annual conference earlier this month. As my first time attending, it lived up to all the hype and expectation. With over 870 people attending the conference in Celtic Manor in Wales over two days, it was a huge event with countless opportunities to learn and network.

The HRA had a great showing at the conference with no less than six sessions, and we also presented a poster on our People-Centred Clinical Research project. We hosted sessions on UK site agreements, our Shared Commitment to Public Involvement, the UK approvals service, and the future of UK clinical trial regulations.

I had the privilege of presenting the work we are doing to develop joint guidance with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to support researchers to increase the diversity of people taking part in research as part of a joint session with Dr Catherine Blewitt, HRA Senior Development Manager. Our session was just one of the many sessions on inclusion and diversity.

There was also a lot of interest in the work we are doing around the upcoming changes to clinical trial regulations. Catherine’s presentation in this area was widely welcomed in bringing clarity to the ongoing work. HRA Chair, Terence Stephenson, also chaired a plenary session on the future of research regulation and standardisation which provided a wider update on the work being undertaken by the HRA.

Trust, feasibility, diversity, and collaboration were strong themes throughout the two days. There were sessions on strengthening public trust in research and improving pharma industry relationships. While the best abstract award went to the ICS REN development programme for their presentation on ‘Increasing diversity in research participation’.

The final session of the conference was a talk by Helen Bevan on leading large-scale change. It was a hugely insightful session which focused on identifying how we can build individual and collective power to create change and deliver results in a shifting landscape.

Next year’s conference will take place in Manchester. If you are given the opportunity to attend, I would highly recommend.

Back to news and updates