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Published: 02 July 2024

On Wednesday 19 June, St George’s celebrated the launch of research culture at the inaugural Research Culture Day.

The theme of the day was Building Connections – one of the pillars of St George’s research culture strategy. It brought together researchers from across the institutes, PhD students to professors, and a blend of technical staff and academics.

The event started with introductions from Professor Deborah Baines, Associate Dean for Research Culture, and Dr Mohani-Preet Dhillon, Lead for Early Career Research Culture. They launched the Research Culture Hub, revealed the four key themes that will underpin St George’s work into research culture, and how colleagues can get involved.

Building connections for a thriving research culture

Peppered throughout the event were presentations from guest speakers who touched on different aspects of collaboration that feed into the research culture ecosystem.

The first keynote speaker, Professor Adetoro Adeyemi Adegoke from Buckinghamshire New University, spoke about the importance of bridging research boundaries through the power of connections and collaboration. She reflected on UK data that highlighted areas for improvement within research culture and examples of research projects where different types of collaborations were the bedrock to their success. The second keynote was given by Professor Jason Arday from University of Cambridge who engaged the room with his own experiences of neurodiversity. He spoke about how equality, diversity and inclusion are fundamental factors to build a positive research culture and must not fall off the priority list, noting the leading role St George’s is playing in EDI within the higher education sector.

Sharing best practice

The audience also heard from Hilary Noone, Research & Innovation Culture Lead at UKRI and Dr Sandra Dudley-Mcevoy, Director of the REACT Innovation Centre in Croydon.

Hilary took the audience through UKRI’s vision and mission to build a thriving and inclusive research and innovation system. She shared the four principals for change that underpin UKRI’s strategy, and key initiatives the major funder is working on to better aspects of research culture. Sandra showcased impressive examples of innovation from the REACT Innovation Centre where they are filling the gap between academia and business by creating and upscaling technologies, all of which is done through diverse collaborations.

Planting the seed for collaborations

Attendees were connected through interactive team building activities and opportunities to network over ice-cream and canapes. Dr Steve Cross, science communicator and comedian who compered the day, hosted quick-fire chats with early career researchers. One by one, he delved into their research area, the type of collaborations they have built for research success, advice they can give for other researchers and the type of people they’d like to collaborate with in the future.

He was joined by Dr Síle Molloy in South Africa who leads international research to improve cryptococcal meningitis, Dr Angeliki Asimaki who has developed a cheek swab test to help prevent sudden cardiac deaths in children, physiotherapist Dr David Herdman who researches balance disorders, recent PhD student Dr Sally Hayward who is starting post-doc research into the stigma of tuberculosis in the UK, laboratory research manager Tom Hall who spoke about the importance of a cohesive team, and Dr Anissa Chikh whose research focuses on the cellular biology of skin cancer.

“We are thrilled to launch our plans for research culture. This day was dedicated to bringing our researchers together to strengthen that important feeling of community, connection and collaboration. We’re looking forwarded to working with our diverse research community to ensure we continuously strengthen the culture here at St George’s.”

- Professor Deborah Baines, Associate Dean for Research Culture at St George's -

“Supporting our early career researchers to build connections is particularly paramount as they look to carve out their own research paths. We designed the day to create more opportunities for them to start new conversations, and we’re proud to know that the event has already sparked discussions for fruitful collaborations.”

- Dr Mohani-Preet Dhillon, Lead for Early Career Research Culture at St George's -

Watch the highlights of Research Culture Day 2024

Learn more about St George’s action plan for research culture and how you can get involved in shaping its future.

Visit St George’s Research Culture Hub

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