3 December 2024 In-person, BMA House, London Driving real-world impact from health research

Time Great Hall Bevan Harvey
08:00 - 09:00


09:00 - 09:10


Speaker: Kamran Abbasi, Editor in Chief, The BMJ

09:10 - 09:55

KEYNOTE: Unifying health data in the UK 

Mapping the flows of health-relevant data across the UK. How can this data be better managed to improve public health while maintaining privacy and trust?

Speaker: Prof. Cathie Sudlow, Chief Scientist and Deputy Director, Health Data Research UK

09:55 - 11:00

PANEL DISCUSSION: How does the diabetes research community get people living with diabetes what they need? 

A research funder, a patient, a clinician, a researcher and a policymaker highlight the successes and challenges of bringing treatments, monitoring and cure to patients. What can those working in other disease areas learn from the progress that diabetes care and research have made? How can working across the ecosystem speed up access to the best treatments?


11:00 - 11:30


11:30 - 12:30

PANEL DISCUSSION: Unmet need and research priorities for sexual and reproductive health in the workplace

Sexual and reproductive health has been comparatively neglected in funding and research, and no more so than within the context of workplaces. And yet sexual and reproductive health, which spans, is an area of policy that plays a decisive role in promoting equal opportunity in the workplace. This panel brings together expertise from researchers and global organisations to highlight the progress that has been made and the actions needed to bring more attention, investment, research and policy to sexual and reproductive health in workplaces.

Experts will discuss the paucity of research and workplace policies on sexual and reproductive health and rights, and the ways this must be overcome to ensure gender equality globally.

Chair: Dr. Jocalyn Clark, International Editor, The BMJ


PANEL DISCUSSION: Trust and transparency in the use of AI for Evidence synthesis 

The Health Foundation
Session Partner

AI offers great potential for the generation of evidence, with machine learning tools and techniques being harnessed to speed up processes of literature review and synthesis. However, the latest innovations in this field, for example ChatGPT, mean that humans are increasingly being removed from the loop and the transparency of processes are more opaque. How far content is free from bias is harder to determine. For organisations such as The Health Foundation and NICE, who have a role in contributing to and drawing recommendations from the evidence base, trust in what they produce is vital. But how can organisations using such tools provide assurance that what they produce is trustworthy? Both organisations will talk about recent work harnessing machine learning, discuss the challenges they are grappling with and explore some of the pressing questions facing researchers, policy makers and anyone either producing or using evidence.

Chair: Prof. Chris Holmes, Biostatistics, Department of Statistics, University of Oxford



Academic metrics have provided us with a robust view of how research is performing, and publishing research in a journal with an impressive impact factor (IF) was (and still is) a career milestone.

Metrics like the IF don’t necessarily reflect a real-world impact, especially in healthcare. What even is real-world impact?

The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) states that the IF should not be used as a substitute “measure of the quality of individual research articles, or in hiring, promotion, or funding decisions.” And there is a growing recognition of the need to look beyond this to understand the true impact of academic research. Funders, institutions, and researchers are now seeking evidence that their work is making a difference in the world.

This can all be difficult to establish. While citations are the recognized measure of academic influence, and downloads and altmetrics are measures of ‘attention,’ they don’t answer questions such as:

  • Can we analyse how research impacts the point at which people access healthcare?

  • How governments make decisions for healthcare infrastructure?

  • Where is the evidence to help us understand this?

  • Does a researcher even know what kind of impact they are having?

  • How do funders and researchers explicitly show where they have had influence outside of citations?

  • How have clinical guidelines and point of care tools help us evidence how research impacts patient outcomes?

Speaker: Manisha Bolina, Senior Partnerships Manager, BMJ Impact Analytics

12:30 - 13:30


13:30 - 14:30

SUBMITTED ABSTRACT: Integrating community assets into the changing health ecosystem: new opportunities for tackling health inequalities.


SUBMITTED ABSTRACT: Public health research with gang-involved vulnerable young people; how to improve diversity and representation? 


  • Dr. Rhiannon Barker, Department of Public Health, Environments and Society, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

PANEL DISCUSSION: The role of real-world evidence in overcoming pilotitis and spreading innovation

The Centre for Healthcare Innovation Research (CHIR)
Session Partner

Pilotitis, the unnecessary repetition of multiple pilot studies, has been observed across a range of different types of innovation in healthcare. Failure to mobilise pilot-based evidence across sites or over time makes pilotits a time-consuming and wasteful phenomenon, which hinders the wider spread of innovation. The session brings together the perspectives of academics, intermediaries and funders to understand how healthcare systems can overcome pilotitis. We look at the role that real-world evidence plays in spreading innovation in healthcare and solutions that can be used to ensure that pilot-based evidence generated in one site is useful and meaningful in other sites too.

Chair: Prof. Harry Scarbrough, Professor in Information Systems and Management and Co-director of Centre for Healthcare Innovation Research, City University of London


  • Dr. Charitini Stavropoulou, Reader in Health Services Research and Co-director of Centre for Healthcare Innovation Research, City University of London
  • Dr. Bryan Jones, Senior Improvement Fellow, The Health Foundation
  • Ilias Zapantis, Director of Discovery, UCL Partners
  • Preeti Sud, Director of Strategy and Innovation, Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust
14:30 - 15:30

PANEL: Living evidence from concept to reality – real world examples and a call for global collaboration

This session will focus on living evidence and guidelines to let health research move from inception to true impact at record speed, through generous global collaboration in the evidence ecosystem.

  1. Breakthrough for living evidence and guidelines: Real world- impact from health research or just another hype? Prof. Per Olav Vandvik
  2. Living evidence from concept to reality – a new collaboration. Prof. Gillian Leng
  3. Communicating and using living evidence: can publishers respond to the grand challenge? Dr. Helen MacDonald

Chair: Dr. Helen Macdonald, Editor, The BMJ


WORKSHOP: Exploring the data challenges: what is required to build a health system that is better able to use data to adapt to the needs of the population?

The Health Foundation
Session Partner

The goal of this workshop is to build an understanding of the data challenges that exist in building a responsive health system that is better able to meet the needs of the population and to identify possible solutions. This will be an interactive workshop and will cover the need for data and analysis in building a responsive health system, as well as the key data challenges that exist. Participants will have the opportunity to debate and compare different approaches and perspectives to addressing these challenges and to generate and evaluate potential solutions and strategies to address these challenges. This will be an opportunity to build links with people working in similar areas or who are facing similar challenges.

Chair: Kathryn Marszalek, Senior Analytical Manager, The Health Foundation


15:30 - 16:00


16:00 - 17:00

KEYNOTE: Funding for impact: Bridging the translation gap


17:10 - 17:15


Speaker: Kamran Abbasi, Editor in Chief, The BMJ

17:30 - 19:30


Time Great Hall Bevan Harvey
09:00 - 09:30


09:30 - 09:40


Speaker: Kamran Abbasi, Editor in Chief, The BMJ

09:40 - 10:10

KEYNOTE: Challenges and opportunities for working with policy: Making change happen

Speaker: Prof. Lucy Chappell, Chief Scientific Adviser, Department of Health and Social Care and CEO, NIHR

10:10 - 10:40


10:45 - 11:15

PANEL DISCUSSION: Examining fast and flexible funding to accelerate and expand access to research funding

The Health Foundation
Session Partner

The panel session will explore current and future funding models that have the potential to accelerate and expand access to funding for research and innovation. The recent Independent Review of Research Bureaucracy recognised that although research bureaucracy has an important role in accountability, transparency, quality control, fairness, and safeguarding in the research system, bureaucracy in research currently goes beyond the essential and risks stifling innovation. Research funders have therefore begun to explore innovative ways to reduce the burden and barriers on organisations and individuals applying for and in receipt of funding. This had given rise in some sectors to ‘fast and flexible research funding’ – described as unbureaucratic funding schemes with fast submission, review and implementation times, and schemes that have long-term, multi-year funding with high levels of investigator discretion in the research undertaken during the funding period. The panel will discuss their experiences and work in this field and explore the future of ‘fast and flexible funding’.

Chair: Prof. James Wilsdon, Co-Founder & Executive Director, RoRI


SUBMITTED ABSTRACT: Aarogyam community development and impact of whole person care on people with long-term illnesses: a community-led intervention 

Chair: Dr. Huseyin Naci, Associate Professor of health policy, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)


11:15 - 11:45


SUBMITTED ABSTRACT: Co-creating knowledge partnerships with racially minoritized & marginalised communities/groups

Chair: Dr. Huseyin Naci, Associate Professor, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)


11:45 - 12:15

PANEL DISCUSSION: Designing research for impact – using collaborative online approaches to generate solutions with impact

The Health Foundation
Session Partner

Bringing together different perspectives, the session will prompt a reflective discussion from the team – and audience – on what is really needed to make online collaboration in research work, how best to create impact, and what they would do differently if they could do it all again

Chair: Ruth Cousens, CEO, THIS Labs


SUBMITTED ABSTRACT: Embedding inclusive practice in the work of a grant-making organisation

Chair: Dr. Huseyin Naci, Associate Professor, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)


  • Dr. Hardeep AidenResearch Manager, The Health Foundation
  • Sarah Rae, Co-Chief Investigator, Inclusion Panel Member, The Health Foundation
  • Sarah O’Brien, PhD Student, Author and Co-production Consultant, Bridges Self-Management
12:15 - 12:45


SUBMITTED ABSTRACT: The Beacon Academy: Creating clinical academic excellence through widening access.

A review of successful academic clinical internships for under-represented students

Chair: Dr. Huseyin Naci, Associate Professor, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)


12:45 - 13:45


14:00 - 14:30

ROUND TABLE: Patient engagement: Designing research questions – who gets to do it?

The public contribute to medical research, through taxes to government and donations to medical research charities, but beyond that how do they get to shape the agenda? We realise that patient priorities for quality of life can often diverge from the questions the academy deem important to address.

How do we ensure that multiple perspectives inform the UK research agenda, and how can patients and the public have their voice and views heard?

This session will look to discuss:

  • How can we empower patients and citizens to influence the allocation of their public investments in research?
  • How can we ensure research is patient centric and strategically addresses questions which matter to patients?
  • How can many perspectives com together to inform what research should be funded?

Chair: Dr. Catriona Manville, Director of Research Policy, Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC)


NETWORKING: Meet the Funders and meet the Editors 

BMJ are inviting representatives of research funding organisations and their own editors in chief from across our journals to make themselves available to delegates for short, individual conversations. This session gives participants an opportunity to ask the decision maker direct questions about how to best approach successful submissions – whether for funding or publication. A list of participants and further details of how to participate will be published before the event.

SUBMITTED ABSTRACT: Deliberative dialogues in research funding; addressing complexity and building collaboration

Chair: Dr. Nazrul Islam, Research Fellow, University of Oxford


  • Anna Ramsay, Senior Research Programme Lead, The Health Foundation
  • Shaun Leamon, Research Manager, The Health Foundation
14:30 - 15:00



SUBMITTED ABSTRACT: Adopting evidence into clinical practice: Real world impact of antenatal magnesium sulphate for fetal neuroprotection, in England, Scotland and Wales

Chair: Dr. Nazrul Islam, Research Fellow, University of Oxford


15:10 - 15:55

PANEL DISCUSSION: The BMJ’s Known Unknowns live

The BMJ webinar series, BMJ Known Unknowns  comes to the live stage. In this session, the BMJ Editor-in-chief and his panel will discuss; who holds the key to unlocking some of the most complex research questions; what the role of evidence-based medicine and current trial methodology is in the post-pandemic, digital-first world, and whether epidemiology, public health, implementation science or political lobbying has more influence on progress towards answers.

Chair: Kamran Abbasi, Editor in Chief, BMJ


15:55 - 16:10


Speaker: Kamran Abbasi, Editor in Chief, The BMJ