Bidding for and co-ordinating a large EU funded research project might seem daunting so it was interesting to hear it recommended that those involved should seek to enjoy the whole experience. Professor Walter Sermeus’ keynote address opened the third and final day of the Conference by providing an overview of what it is like to co-ordinate the RN4CAST project, which has almost €3,000,000 worth of funding and multiple partners in Europe and across the world. In addition to having fun, a few suggestions for the proposal writing process were offered:

  • Work with the best people. If there is a ‘dream team’ then get them on board.
  • Apply the 30 second rule. Aim to convince assessors that the project should be funded within 30 seconds of them beginning to read the proposal.
  • Educate. The assessors are unlikely to experts in the topic and it should be assumed that they know nothing so the proposal should be written in lay language.

These are surely good suggestions for all those engaged in preparing bids for research funding. But I think the most important thing about Professor Sermeus’ overview was that he made winning and co-ordinating such a large and complex project sound possible.

Professor Walter Sermeus

In contrast, I then attended a concurrent session by Professor Liz Halcomb about the ‘craft of academic life’ and how new academic nurses need to be supported as they take their first steps into the world of academia. Liz argued that there is a complexity to this transition that is frequently underestimated both by new academics and by their new employers. Perhaps a message many institutions should take on board.

I haven’t written much about the many concurrent sessions in my blogs but this is simply because there are so many of them. I have attended a good number of interesting and informative sessions and will certainly be taking new knowledge back to Cambridge. I am in no doubt that the standard of concurrent papers has improved since I first attended this Conference in 2000. Presenters now appear to spend more time preparing their papers but delegates also appear to be more willing to challenge presenters and not always to ask the easy questions.

The debate (thanks @BNursUoB)

This year the Conference concluded with a debate on the motion ‘This house believes that research is the solution to the global nursing workforce crisis’. Proposing the motion were Professor Daniel Kelly (Cardiff University) and Professor Elizabeth West (University of Greenwich). Opposing the motion were Professors James Buchan (QMU) and Ruth Harris (KCL). The excellent Chair was Professor Julie Taylor (University of Birmingham). After some thought-provoking arguments from both sides, delegates voted against the motion. To quote @WhKatrina, ‘Even after 3 days of intense research the house opposes that research is the solution to the global nursing crisis!’ This time it would seem that more research is not the answer to the problem.

As has become tradition, the venue for the 2017 Conference was announced immediately before the close of this year’s event. So in 2017 delegates will be travelling the Oxford. Oxford is lovely and I am sure the dark blue city will put on an excellent Conference. However, as a resident of Cambridge I should probably start investigate visa requirements.

5th-7th April 2017

I enjoyed this year’s Conference. I was able to catch-up with old friends, I have met some new friends and I am been given much to think about. Congratulations to the RCN, the Scientific Committee and to all those involved in making this year’s event such a success. I hope to see many of you in the ‘other place’ next year.


One thought on “RCN International Nursing Research Conference – Day 3

  1. Les, its really encouraging that you feel that the quality of the presentations and audience questioning has improved over the years. Its hard to make that judgement when you are so close to it i.e. one of the organisers. I certainly remember my first attendance back in the early 1990s as a new researcher. I think I went to MedSoc the next year and was astonished by how much more confident the MedSoc presenters were than nurse researchers. Hopefully that has changed now. I agree, Walter’s presentation was excellent. Michael


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