British Heart Foundation Intermediate Clinical Fellow and Honorary Consultant Nephrologist

Centre for Cardiovascular Sciences, University of Edinburgh &

Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, NHS Lothian

Tel: 0131 242 6786;

I took part in the 2016 Scottish Crucible programme. Scottish Crucible provided me with an excellent opportunity to meet and collaborate with fellow researchers from outside the field of medicine and from across Scotland. I very much enjoyed the three, very different, 2-day programmes and the social events organised alongside these! Amongst its many strengths, Crucible highlights the areas of importance that we as researchers might have otherwise overlooked. For example, the discussions and exercises around media and public engagement were excellent, led by experts in the field. They helped crystallise my views on these and focus more consciously on this aspect of my research output. 

Since attending Scottish Crucible, and together with colleagues in the Schools of Physics and Engineering, I have successfully applied for a PhD studentship from the MRC Doctoral Training Programme (DTP) in Precision Medicine. This 3-year project will explore novel pathways involved in the development of high blood pressure, an important and costly global health problem. The initial conversations we had at Scottish Crucible have since brought our individual expertise together to generate an innovative and exciting proposal that will utilise cutting edge technologies to answer important medical questions. Our experiences at Scottish Crucible will help communicate this work to a wider audience, thus aiding greater public understanding and furthering research within this area. We also have plans to submit further inter-disciplinary applications for research funding within this and other areas.

The first 2-day event for the 2016 intake of Crucibilists was held at the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE). During this, the strengths and opportunities available through the RSE were highlighted. As a result, I successfully applied for grant funding from the RSE to support the first European ITMAT meeting which was held in Edinburgh in March 2017. The Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics (ITMAT; based at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, was the first institute for translational medicine in the world, and supports work at the interface of basic and clinical research, focusing on developing new and safer medicines. The Edinburgh meeting brought together a small number of the most eminent UK and US leaders in the field to generate an outstanding one-day meeting. The theme of the meeting was Big Data and the Development of New Medicines.

I found Scottish Crucible to be both an intensive and rewarding professional development programme. It provides a unique platform to bring together like-minded individuals from diverse disciplines and from across Scotland. It aims to nurture the research leaders of the future who will synergise to bring Scotland to the forefront of inter-disciplinary research.