By Kateriine Orav, Department of Neurology, North Estonia Medical Center, Tallinn, Estonia

Inna Lutsenko, neurologist and specialist, Center for Distance Learning and Advanced Training, Kyrgyz State Medical Academy after I.K.Akhunbaev; twitter: @inna_lutsenko

On behalf of YSPR for the Social Media Corner in the January 2021 ESO Newsletter

One of the most highlighted sessions of the ESO-WSO 2020 conference on @ESOStroke Twitter was the YSPR Research Design Workshop for studies in development. During the workshop four researchers, selected from almost 40 candidates, had the opportunity to present their study protocols to be reviewed by expert mentors in the field. The workshop was opened by the YSPR Chair Diana Aguiar de Sousa from Portugal and Johannes Kaesmacher from Switzerland.

The workshop started with two practical lectures on important career development topics. Professor Karin Klijn from Radboud University Medical Center in the Netherlands proposed 7 steps for planning a career as a clinical scientist:  express your ambitions as a clinician-scientist, believe in yourself, invest in training, investigate the key steps  in your region, find a mentor and a supportive environment, always stick to your standards: “stay honest, transparent and independent also during challenging times” and finally, have courage to make the first step.

Professor Peter Sandercock from the University of Edinburgh talked about what characteristics make a valuable mentor and the importance of choosing a mentor, as well mentored academic clinicians get more peer-reviewed research grants, publish more papers in refereed journals, get faster academic promotion and feel greater career satisfaction.

Next, the four researchers had the opportunity to present their research projects. Cristophe Chautems from Switzerland is working on a technology that uses remote magnetic navigation to steer a microdevice to cranial vessels to administer intraarterial rtPA. Yu Zhou from China is planning to study the effect of a mobile telephone based tele-medicine programme to improve medication adherence and risk factor control in stroke patients. Matteo Paolucci from Italy is focusing his research on patent foramen ovale as a marker of altered vascular development in patients with migraine with aura and whether this could be the common mechanism of increased risk of stroke in this subgroup of patients. Elissa Embrechts from the Netherlands is looking to understand the effect of visuospatial neglect on motor recovery of stroke patients. You can find out more about the researchers in the series of interviews on the ESO blog.

The researchers were given feedback on their specific projects by professors Klijn and Sandercock, and many comments applied to research in general. The workshop mentors gave important tips on calculating sample size, planning data analysis, avoiding missing data and, very importantly, keeping data secure. The professors highlighted the importance of understanding the methodology and statistics, and agreed that being a clinical trialist is a profession. “You need experience to learn the craft and this is obtained with a mixture of training in methods and acquiring practical experience”.