Research Course for Physicians, Lodz, Poland, November 2012

The first Sanofi ISPAD Research Course for Physicians was held in Lodz, Poland on November 15-21 2012.  Professor Wojciech Młynarski and his colleagues welcomed 16 students from 11 countries while the faculty comprised 7 lecturers from Poland, Marian Rewers, Tim Barrett and Kenneth Robertson representing ISPAD and Dragana Milo representing Sanofi Aventis.

The programme began with an excellent overview of the worth of Clinical Trials from the President of Diabetes Poland, Leszek Czupryniak and a welcome buffet. A major coup for the school was the venue - a hotel converted from a warehouse in Lodz which is part of a historic industrial complex that is now redeveloped as a major leisure and retail park.  The excellent meeting and conference facilities ensured that the breakout sessions and plenary groups had first class facilities.
The faculty presented lectures on topics as diverse as Pharmacogenetics, Cancer and Diabetes and ‘The Dark Side of Power’ - a highly stimulating exposition of how to calculate power for clinical studies.

Of course, the main meat of the programme was from the students who presented their proposals for research projects and were then subjected to a barrage of questions and challenges from their colleagues.  As always, it was easier for the students who gave their presentations early because by the last day, the analytical skills of all attending had improved significantly.

The range and quality of the proposals was very wide but, far from being detrimental, this forced diversity of thought and it was clear that the challenges facing some of the participants were great on political, financial and intellectual levels.
It wasn’t all work, and our organisers had ensured that we had a thorough understanding of the history and culture of Lodz by the time we left with museum visits, poetry and a very stimulating trip to the Lodz Film School where Roman Polanski studied.  It was just as well we paid attention as that evening students and faculty were invited to produce a short film advertising the benefits of ISPAD - this was challenging and fun. We hope that Sanofi will be sufficiently encouraged by the obvious success of their first joint venture with ISPAD and will be minded to continue the collaboration beyond the second such Research Science School which will be held in Boston in the Spring of 2014.

From a personal viewpoint, I know that I learned much and I am certain that the students will have formed friendships that will endure and hopefully result in useful research collaborations in the future.  We look forward to seeing the fruits of their labours at forthcoming Annual Conferences.

Kenneth J Robertson (Treasurer)

Students opinion: Marta Buraczewska from Poland.

ISPAD Research Course in Lodz was a great one week experience. First of all we could get an up-date on all important aspects of diabetes. We had a chance to work with world class speakers with no barrier to ask them anything we wanted. Discussing my research project with other students and lectures was really helpful for me.
At the Course a great impact was made on adequate research plan and working with appropriate statistic tools. All student were very happy to improve their statistic skills. Finally, the ISPAD Research Course was a great opportunity to meet young researchers from all over the world. We had a great networking!.