The annual Society for Social Medicine & Population Health/International Epidemiology Association pre-conference early career researchers’ event took place on September 3rd, 2019 at the Mardyke Pavilion, University College Cork. The event was organised by Dr Kate O’Neill, Ms Niamh McGrath and Ms Emmy Racine from the School of Public Health, and held prior to the Joint SSM and IEA European Congress.

Almost 70 early career researchers attended the event; the largest attendance at a SSM preconference event to date. Funding from SSM, IEA and the Health Research Board meant the event was free and organisers were also able to offer accommodation bursaries and subsidise a networking dinner for attendees.

The event was centered around promoting early career researchers careers within and outside of academic settings. Topics which were covered included ways of engaging with existing organisational structures and initiatives, such as mentoring, the research support service and the innovative ‘Odyssey’ Programme and middle and senior career academic researchers spoke about key skills for ECRs such as securing funding and writing research papers, as well as the personal side of career progression in academia; finding what excites you and managing imposter syndrome. In the afternoon, those who attended the event heard from researchers who are pursuing competitive and fulfilling careers in business, the NGO sector and in private industry.

Speakers at the event included:

  • Dr. Peter Tennant (SSM Honorary Secretary, University of Leeds) – “Supporting your Development with Mentoring”
  • Ms. Sarah Fink (Athena Swan Project Officer, Royal College of Surgeons Ireland) – “Athena SWAN: Gender Equality and Support for Early Career Researchers”
  • Ms. Imma Zoppi (Research Support Office, University College Cork) – “Understanding the Research Office: Its Role and Expertise”
  • Ms. Mary-Kate O’Regan (HR Manager, University College Cork) – “How UCC Launched a Transformative Programme to Prepare PhDs and Research Staff for Rewarding Careers beyond Academia”
  • Dr. Linda O’Keeffe (School of Public Health, University College Cork) – “Progressing from Early to Mid-Career; Finding a Direction,  Creating your Career Narrative and Beating Imposter Syndrome”
  • Dr. Sheena McHugh (School of Public Health, University College Cork) – “Forever Finding Funding; Realities and Tricks of the Trade”
  • Prof. Simon Capewell (Department of Public Health & Policy, University of Liverpool) – “Top Tips for Getting your Research Published and Disseminated”
  • Dr. Martin Davoren (Executive Director, The Sexual Health Centre Cork) – “A Road Less Travelled: Turning Theory into Practice in the Third Sector”
  • Dr. Fiona Geaney (Founder/CEO, Food Choice) “Cork Daring to Lead? Thinking Outside the Box to Bridge the Gap Between Research and Industry”
  • Dr. Sarah Jo Sinnott (Harvard University, Massachusetts) – “Switching it Up - Academia to Industry”

Ms. Emmy Racine who won a prize for best rapid fire 
presentation during the SSM Conference: "Us" and "Them."

Members of the SSM ECR subcommittee who organized the joint SSM/IEA ECR event. Pictured (l-r): 
Mr. Paul Henery (communications officer); Dr. Kathryn Skivington (chair); Dr. Janice Atkins
(mentoring officer); Ms. Georgia Chatzi (newsletter officer); Dr. Kate O'Neill (local officer): and
Ms. Niamh McGrath (local officer),