A final year PhD student from Imperial College London, Karyn Chappell, was awarded a College of Radiographers Overseas Conference Grant and presented at ISMRM (International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine) – she shares her experience of the Paris conference
I had submitted two abstracts to ISMRM, highlighting some of the main results from my research and to my surprise, both were accepted! Additionally, I had been invited to moderate a power-pitch session at the conference which was very exciting. The cost of attending this conference is around £2000 (a combination of registration fees, travel and accommodation) and this meant that I needed to find a way to fund my visit to Paris.
I applied for three grants to help cover the costs and was over the moon to be awarded the CoR Legacy Fund Overseas Conference Grant. ISMRM also awarded me a student stipend which covered the conference fees and $50 subsistence. However, without the grant from the College of Radiographers, I wouldn’t have been unable to attend and most likely had to withdraw my abstracts.
ISMRM is the main global conference for MRI bringing together researchers, medical physicists, scientists and clinicians. As a radiographer studying for a MRI focused PhD, it is an essential conference in my calendar – it allows me to present, discuss and develop my work whilst forging relationships for future collaborations.
My PhD has focused on determining a method to scan a knee (animal model) using the effect which can be translated into scanning humans once the novel scanner is built. My oral presentation was titled ‘Visualisation and Quantification of collagen fibres in a partially torn ligament using magic angle imaging.’
ISMRM also had educational lectures on MR physics, statistical analysis and more specific sessions such as advanced clinical MR imaging in MSK. I learnt so much from both the radiographer specific and the physicist / clinical and research sessions. Much of what I learnt from the lectures will help in writing chapters of my thesis.
One of the highlights for me was meeting highly cited MSK researchers whilst presenting my poster and oral presentation. I met many world renowned leaders who feature heavily in my thesis reference list.
It was amazing to have my questions answered by the magic angle expert in cartilage and meet the author from the paper who was the catalyst for my research.
I also used the conference to identify potential future employers as I am coming to the end of my PhD and will be looking for a Post-Doctoral fellowship. Currently, due to a lack of research pathway for diagnostic MR radiographers with PhDs, it is a real question of who you know to help you carve out your own path.
The conference allowed me to network with the big players in MRI MSK research and seek out future opportunities in their research groups.
The Overseas Conference Grant was invaluable, and without it I would have missed this amazing event. I would advise anyone else who would like to attend a conference overseas to apply for the grant - don’t let a lack of funding prevent you from making the most of any opportunity.