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Research Hub

Scientist At Home

The Pancreatic Cancer UK Research Hub collates numerous resources and support materials for the pancreatic cancer research community.

We understand that this is a difficult and frustrating time for the research community with the majority of studies affected by COVID-19 and unable to be delivered as planned. Therefore we have created and highlighted the below resources to help you build skills, enrich knowledge and advance your personal development at a time when you may have increased capacity to do so.

If you have any questions or suggestions for other resources that might be of use please do not hesitate to contact research@pancreaticcancer.org.uk.

Online training courses 

Scientific writing short course - This course runs for 8 weeks (3 – 5 hours per week) and is led by Dr Kirsten Sainani, Stanford University. Topics covered include: principles of good writing, tricks for writing faster and with less anxiety, the format of a scientific manuscript, peer review, grant writing, ethical issues in scientific publication, and writing for general audiences (accessible to anyone free of charge).

Pluralsight offer training on a range of topics including Foundation of Statistics and Interpreting data with R (Many courses are free for April 2020. The sight normally offers a 10 day free trial, however there is a charge once this is complete).

Imaging Cytometry and Mass Cytometry Introduction training videos - These videos give you an introduction and brief overview of two techniques which are essential to the work of many researchers (accessible to anyone free of charge).

- Bioinformatics training videos - This series of 18 videos helps you to get started with learning about Bioinformatics (accessible to anyone free of charge).

- Many institutions also offer online training sessions to their employees and students, please check their website or get in contact with the relevant team to see what is available to you.

Additional online resources

-The Academy of Medical Sciences has recently developed a COVID-19 career support space with resources to help with looking after yourself and leading your team.

- NIHR Clinical Trials Toolkit - This resource provides you with practical advice in designing and conducting publicly funded clinical trials in the UK (accessible to anyone free of charge)

- The Health Research Authority have a number of online training modules focussing on topics such as HRA approval and research using human tissue (accessible to anyone free of charge who registers for an online account)

- Check if your Institution is a Vitae member and use your organisational email address to register for access to their online training modules. The modules focus on a variety of areas including career development, personal effectiveness, impact and engagement, and specific modules aimed at postgraduate researchers to support them during their doctorate. These supportive resources address the areas on Vitae’s Researcher Development Framework which describes the knowledge, behaviour and attributes of successful researchers.

- The Royal College of Radiologists offers a suite of online learning tools (please note that you need to be a member to access these)

Open access publishing

Pancreatic Cancer UK are now members of EuropePMC and the AMRC open research platform. If you are funded by us, please see our new Open Access Policy to understand more about how you can make the outputs from your research accessible to the wider community. If you are unsure of how to use EuropePMC, you can watch a guide to using their system.

You are also able to deposit your unpublished preprints on Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory's free online archives bioRxiv and medRxiv. By posting preprints on these archives, you are able to make your findings immediately available to the scientific community and receive feedback on draft manuscripts before they are submitted to journals.

Please see a number of interesting blogs around open access publishing and data sharing below:

Knowledge is power so research findings must be open for all to access

Challenges and solutions to sharing health research data

Growing a culture of data sharing

Useful links:

- Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) - This set of recommendations was put together by a group of editors and publishers of scholarly journals to improve how outputs from scientific research are evaluated. 

Plan S - Plan S requires that, from 2021, scientific publications that result from research funded by public grants must be published in compliant Open Access journals or platforms.

Watch and listen to our webinar and panel discussion on open research publishing.

In the webinar, we bring together a panel of experts from the different open research platforms to tell you more about what open research publishing is, how open research publication works and what the benefits are to this process. The panel discuss and compare the strengths and weaknesses and issues of open approaches and conventional journal-based publication. 

The Panel includes:
• Phil Dooner, Associate Publisher, F1000 Platforms
• Jocelyn LeBlanc, Research, Data and Impact Manager, Association of Medical Research Charities
• Hannah Hope, Open Research Coordinator, Wellcome Trust
• Chris Macdonald, Panel Chair, Head of Research, Pancreatic Cancer UK

You can watch the webinar on our YouTube account.

Public and Patient Involvement

You can get in touch with us to access our Research Involvement Network made up of over 150 people affected by pancreatic cancer. This is a unique opportunity to work as equal partners with people who have lived experience of pancreatic cancer to help shape, improve and enrich your research.

Ideas of how to involve people affected by pancreatic cancer in your research:

1. Work with members of our Research Involvement Network from the very beginning of your work by seeking input when writing a grant application (even if your research is more basic science this will be useful). This could be working with one individual as a co-applicant or via focus groups/ virtual zoom workshops with a group. This input at an early stage can help with the design of your project ensuring that it is appropriate and meets the needs of people with pancreatic cancer, as well as helping to ensure that the lay summary is clear. In addition, this is something that funders, including Pancreatic Cancer UK, look for when reviewing applications and deciding which projects to fund.

2. If you are intending on recruiting patients to participate in your research, ensure that your patient information sheet and study protocol are reviewed by a member of our Research Involvement Network before they are submitted for ethics review.

3. When convening Committees or Steering Groups that will meet throughout the duration of the research, try to make sure that people affected by pancreatic cancer are fully represented.

4. Towards the end of your research, disseminate your findings and continue to work with people you involved at the beginning to show what the outcome has been and to discuss what the next steps might be.

5. In general, think of all the different ways that someone who has been affected by pancreatic cancer could enhance your work. This could be through attending events, speaking in public, getting involved with campaigns or responding to surveys and commenting on documents.

Public and Patient Involvement Resources

- Cancer Research UK has a very comprehensive Patient Involvement Toolkit which provides tips and advice to guide you through all stages of your involvement activity including planning, delivery and evaluation.

- The NIHR’s Involve website and learning for involvement page provides useful resources including ideas of how to involve members of the public and patients in research effectively and how to write lay summaries.

- Listen to Cochrane’s training webinar on ‘Patient and public involvement in research: What, why and how?’

-The National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement has put together a resource on Online Engagement: A guide to creating and running virtual meetings and events. This is a useful guide for anyone wanting to conduct online or virtual focus groups/workshops as part of their involvement activities.

Patient Engagement

-The Patient Engagement Open Forum 2020 will go virtual with a series of virtual events from June 25th until the end of November. Topics range from tools and recommendations for effective patient engagement, methods for monitoring and evaluation of impact and outcomes in patient engagement activities, and fair market compensation for patient input to interactive sessions on assessing good practices in patient engagement and more. Here's how to register.

Current funding opportunities

Pancreatic cancer early diagnosis Sandpit Innovation Workshop - deadline for applications is 15th September 2020.

- The Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland (ASGBI) and Pancreatic Cancer UK Fellowship -deadline for applications is 31st January 2021.

Pancreatic Cancer UK and Medical Research Council joint funded Clinical Research Training Fellowships - deadline for applications is 2nd September 2020

Pancreatic Cancer UK Research Innovation Fund - deadline for applications is 1pm, Tuesday 10th November 2020.

Other events and opportunities

-Cancer Research UK open lab initiative roll-out: a digital tool to help researchers and research groups find new opportunities to exchange ideas and interact more closely.  Following a successful pilot phase, the initiative is being rolled out through a central CRUK site to enable virtual collaboration across the UK research network during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. 

-Cancer Research UK Early Detection of Cancer Conference: bringing together experts in early detection from multiple disciplines to share ground breaking research and progress in the field. The conference is now taking place virtually 6-8 October 2020. Register now for early bird admission.

The Journal of Clinical Medicine special issue- Pancreatic Cancer Challenges and Breakthroughs:  The Journal of Clinical Medicine is running a special issue on pancreatic cancer which is now open for submissions. Deadline for submissions is 31 January 2021.