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Award success for PhD researcher

PhD researcher Adeela Usman was awarded the ARC East Midlands PhD Travel and Research Award of £500 to attend the European Geriatric Medicine Society (EuGMS) London conference in September 2022.

At the conference, Adeela presented the preliminary findings from her PhD research which looked at the development and validation of quality-of-life tools used in older people’s care homes

Supported by ARC East Midlands and funded by Dunhill Medical Trust and the British Geriatrics Society (BGS), Adeela’s PhD findings showed that although over 54 unique quality of life tools have been used in over 400 research studies conducted in care homes, most of these studies were poorly reported.

Speaking about her experiences, Adeela said: “Presenting these findings at the conference as a poster raised interesting discussions with researchers and health care professionals. Many were interested to know the best tool to use in research and practice. Others raised concerns about certain tools and shared their experiences of using these tools.

“Some pointed out studies they think might be helpful to the background of my work. I left each of these discussions with food for thought. Some of the points mentioned has helped me build the discussion section of my review whilst others helped me refine the wording of my data extraction form.”

New knowledge and ideas

“This conference exposed me to a range of older people’s research that has been conducted or was conducted to date worldwide. A few of these include studies on creating a minimum dataset for care homes, importance of financial and organisational aspects affecting care transitions in long term care systems and learning by living- students living as older care home residents.

“There were also symposiums on care home medicine and managing the whole trajectory of dementia. Both of which are areas of my research interest. I left each of these sessions and presentations with new knowledge, notes, screenshots of slides and links to papers to read. Interestingly, it also stimulated my thinking and l found myself coming up with new research ideas. Also, it made me think of my research in new ways.”

Improving skills

“As part of the conference l attended a skills session on the hidden art of peer reviewing and the role of social media in academic discourse. Both sessions provided me with tips on how to improve my peer reviewer skills and it made me appreciate the power of twitter in academia and how to make the most of it respectively.”

New opportunities

“I worked as a full-time community pharmacist in the past before moving into academia full time seven years ago. Therefore, l always look forward to opportunities that keep me up to date with the latest management and prescribing evidence/guidelines. This conference gave me one of those opportunities where l was able to update my knowledge on the evidence of diabetic treatments on geriatric patients, optimised deprescribing, how to improve the evaluation of new pharmacological treatments in older adults and managing Parkinson in the 21st century.”


“Interestingly, presenting a poster rather than an oral presentation gave me the opportunity to network with people. This is because standing by my poster made it easy for me to strike conversations with people passing by. Through these conversations, l learnt about the health and care systems of other countries and their different multidisciplinary way of working. Also, the different names, and setups for care homes in other countries.”

Connecting online

“Sharing my poster on twitter, and its tweet and retweet by the BGS and leading experts in the field, helped increase the awareness of my study. It got some people who attended the conference to follow me on twitter. These tweets even reached the care home sector. A care home manager reached out to me expressing an interest in wanting a quality-of-life tool to use in their care home. Also, a research group in Australia reached out for a one-one meeting to discuss my project and collaboration because they have recently developed a quality-of-life tool that can be used in care homes.”

“Finally, the conference provided me with an opportunity to meet researchers and experts in older people’s research in person. Many of which l have seen or met online via emails, in events, workshops, interview panels or read their papers. Therefore, it was nice to meet up, say hello and chat in person. In one of these interactions l was offered the opportunity to join the BGS Research Committee which l am now a part of. In summary, I had a though provoking, enriching, and educative conference experience.”

Award details

The next round of the PhD/MD student prize will open in April 2023. 

Successful applicants will win up to £500 to cover the cost of attendance at a conference (a paper or poster must be being presented), for research data collection costs, to undertake specialist training not offered by their university, or dissemination activities.

Prizes will be made for costs incurred (or due to be incurred) between April 2023 –  September 2023.

Follow @ARC_EM on Twitter for updates. 

Published on: 17 Jan 2023