Arina Tamborska (Twitter: @ArinaTamborska)
Noah Ayadi (Twitter: @noah_ayadi)

This year´s workshop participants in front of St. Leonard´s Hall, Edinburgh.

This year’s European Stroke Organisation Research Workshop took place in person between the 10th and 12th of October in Edinburgh, Scotland. It was a busy three-day schedule of engaging talks, thought-provoking discussions, but, most importantly, brainstorming the ideas for future research, projects and grant proposals.

The workshop was attended by 22 participants from 14 countries – as geographically diverse as Norway and Egypt, north to south and Portugal and Armenia, west to east. We, the participants, were early career researchers and stroke doctors, some recently qualified as consultants and some in residency training. What united us, was the desire to research the most burning scientific questions in stroke medicine and vascular neurology and a commitment to do it in the most methodologically sound ways.

St. Leonard´s Hall of the University of Edinburgh, once used as a Red Cross Hospital during World War I, location of this year´s workshop.

Our inspiring faculty was there to share their experience and help us progress our ideas. The main organisers: doctors Else Sandset (Norway) and Fergus Doubal (UK), together with professors Hanne Christensen (Denmark), Frederike van Wijck (UK) and doctor Alastair Webb (UK) did a great job at creating a varied programme and lining up truly engaging speakers. From research methodology, including study design, statistics and the use of big data, to more practical tips on regulatory approvals, patient recruitment and getting published – each talk had relevance to developing our research ideas. No important topic went undiscussed, and organisers broadened our perspectives by inviting not only academics, but also patients and speakers working outside of academia.

Scientific research speed dating led by Professor Frederike van Wijck (on the left), idea developing session with Doctor Alastair Webb (on the right).

Some sessions really made the workshop stand out. Not often do we get to witness a mock funding panel or attend scientific speed-dating – where in a room bustling with excitement and ideas, one has exactly two minutes to clearly articulate their research proposal and its expected impact to a listener! The other unique opportunity was also small focus groups – where in a welcoming, curious, and non-judgemental atmosphere, one could receive individualised feedback and fine-tune their project design.

None of this would have been possible if not for our faculty creating a true team spirit, where everyone’s aim was not only to progress their own ideas, but also to help others do so. Sharing some of the best Edinburgh pizza and hiking up an extinct volcano certainly helped to socialise and network!

Workshop participants on the top of Arthur´s Seat (on the left) and in a pub enjoying some Scottish beer (on the right).

The workshop concluded with every participant submitting a mock grant application and giving a three-minute presentation on their research proposal. It was incredible to see how our ideas had progressed since the start of the course! Energised and inspired, we concluded by saying to each other: “good luck with your projects and see you all at the next ESOC”!

Group of participants inside St. Leonard´s Hall.

ESOC is Europe’s leading forum for advances in research and clinical care of patients with cerebrovascular diseases. ESOC 2023 will live up to its expectation, and present to you a packed, high quality scientific programme including major clinical trials, state-of-the-art seminars, educational workshops, scientific communications of the latest research, and debates about current controversies. ESOC 2023 preliminary programme, registration and abstract submission is now available.