A great opportunity to get involved in clinical or translational cancer research at an earlier stage of your career is becoming a trainee member in one of the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Clinical Studies Groups (CSGs).
These mainly tumour entity-centred, interdisciplinary expert panels aim at translating current clinical and scientific questions into new appropriately-designed trials. Each group comprises of several smaller sub-groups that work on defined aspects of a malignant disease (e.g. surgical treatment vs. medical treatment; early vs. advanced tumour stage, etc.) and report their suggestions to the whole study group at internal meetings.
Besides senior clinicians from various UK centres, each CSG offers trainee memberships of 18 month to more junior doctors (registrar level, two trainee members per study group at a time) in order to provide insights into major aspects of trial design and planning to the next generation of clinicians, but also to support your ideas for new clinical and translational research projects. Depending on their speciality and interest, trainee members are assigned to one of the subgroups. So, there is plenty of opportunity to directly interact with and learn from the leading experts of your field in an informal setting.
I recently had the chance to join the NCRI Bladder & Renal Cancer Clinical Studies Group as a trainee member and to attend “my” first internal study group meeting. I have to admit that I was very impressed not only by the warm, informal welcome from senior group members, but also by the intense and detailed discussion of each individual study that had been suggested to the group before the meeting.
If you want to take your first steps towards becoming a clinical investigator, more details on how and when to apply to the NCRI CSG trainee scheme can be found here: