More than 300 delegates – including researchers, scientists, doctors, nurses, therapists and members of staff – joined together for the Royal Free London’s (RFL’s) first ever research symposium.

Topics discussed at the event included improved treatments for haemophilia, liver disease, neuroendocrine tumours, leukaemia and kidney cancer.

Delegates to the symposium were welcomed by Dr Gillian Smith, RFL group medical director and Professor Derralynn Hughes and Farhan Naim, research and development directors. 

The Royal Free London’s ambition is to be among the NHS’ top ten 10 research trusts, achieving the best access, experience and outcomes for patients and staff.

It is already delivering on that aim. The Royal Free London is currently the 10th trust in the UK for recruitment into National Institute for Health and Research (NIHR) studies, it has received £4 million in funding in 2023 from the NIHR and since April 2023 has already recruited 6,892 participants across 183 research studies.

The event also included a dinner and a prize-giving ceremony. Siddhi Srivastava, a clinical researcher, won the best poster - as voted by the delegates - for her study, Clopidogrel and its Metabolism: An Ethical Conundrum.

Lucy Parker, head of the RFL research and development office, also presented a poster revealing how the 120-page researchers’ handbook, outlining governance procedures, has now been turned into more than 50 ‘bite-size’ video modules, using Chat GPT for script production and Sythesia for video creation. 

Farhan Naim, director of research and development at the RFL, said: “I was struck by the breadth and depth of the research happening across the Royal Free London – not only in terms of focus but also the different stages of research: basic science and laboratory-based, all the way through to clinical trials.”

Professor Derralynn Hughes, clinical director of research and development at the RFL, added: “We’re proud to support research carried out by staff from all areas of the trust – doctors, nurses, midwives, allied health professionals, scientists and medical students.

“Our ambition at the Royal Free London is to consistently be a world-leading research organisation according to the volume of studies we do, the number of patients we recruit and the difference we can make to outcomes. The past two days have been a real celebration of the strides we have made in all these areas.”

Peter Landstrom, group chief executive for the RFL, said: “Fundamental to our objective to deliver excellent health outcomes for our patients, is our focus on research - it forms a crucial part of the trust’s tripartite mission  Our ambition is to be a UK top 10 research trust and we are making great strides in this area, recruiting record numbers of patients to studies and receiving national recognition and investment to grow our work in this area. 

“At this two-day symposium we have seen just a small sample of the incredible research being carried out here at the Royal Free London and the benefits these studies bring to our patients. It’s been a fascinating event, congratulations to everyone involved.”